As you probably know from some of my previous reviews, I really do rate Premier Inn's highly and we always like to stay in one if we are going to an area which has one. What we have liked about Premier Inn's before is that you tend to know what you are going to get with it so for a family travelling we see it as not a luxurious but a safe option. This hotel, however, was rather disappointing. Had it been the first Premier Inn that we'd have stayed in we probably would have thought it was quite good but actually compared to the other hotels this one just wasn't up to scratch.
Booking the hotel was very easy to do and we did it all online which i like as I have issues with talking to people on the phone! The website had a clear search facility so that we could put in the dates we wanted to go, how many people it was for, whether we would need a cot and the area we were going to. The search facility then brings up the hotels in that area which was a good idea as it enabled us to see whether we wanted to stay in the city centre or a few miles out and just what the difference in price was. Because we have a baby, we thought it would be best to stay in the city centre so we don't have to faff around trying to find parking when we wanted to go shopping. So we chose the City Centre option which said that it was close to the station and just a few minutes walk from the centre so sounded ideal. Booking was very straight forward, we already have an account so just had to put our log in details in and then pay the full amount on our credit card. The cost was £39 (for a Sunday night) for a family room and we opted to not include breakfast which was something like £7 per person with children eating free, although if we changed our minds we could add it when we arrived.
The hotel is by the Station and so if you are travelling by road follow signs for the station and 'city road hotels' and you will find it no problem. Now, our first problem when we arrived though was that it was on a busy road into the city and the parking spaces on the road (free on Sundays and until 10am on weekdays) were all full. My husband dropped myself and the baby off whilst he went to find somewhere to park. My second problem was trying to get into the hotel! I had a pushchair with me and so couldn't get in using the front entrance as there were some narrow steps and I wasn't with anyone to help me up there. I found at the side of the hotel a disabled access lift so I pressed the buzzer for assitance with it and nobody came... after about five minutes of standing and waiting I returned to the front of the building and just waited until somebody walked past and asked them to help me up the steps. At reception I was told that there is parking underneath the hotel for just £6 for 24 hours and although the car park was small there were still places left. It didn't take long to check in and the man on the reception desk was very nice and helpful. I have found this previously with Premier Inn staff- they all have very good customer service skills.
In our party there was just my husband and I and our new baby. Our room was located on the 3rd floor which was quite a walk away down a long corridor and then up in a rather small lift which was difficult to cram in two adults, a pushchair and a suitcase but we just about managed it! Our room was operated with a keycard to let us in and out and when we opened the door to first go in I was actually disappointed by what lay in front of us. When we have stayed in Premier Inn's before they have been much bigger than your usual budget hotel room but this one was rather opressive. There was a King size double bed, a single bed and a cot set up by the window. There was a desk/dressing table, a large dark wardrobe which had a shelf on the side of it with the tea/coffee facility and a television. The wall of the ensuite jutted into the room a lot. The window was very small and out of it we were faced with another building. It was very dark and because the furniture was all dark wood it made me feel very cramped. This was a disappointment, the last Premier Inn we stayed in had so much floor space that our 3 year old and her friend had had ample room to play and run around but there was no space left in this room to allow for that. Also, what was disappointing was that the ensuite, although it looked clean, smelt of stale urine. My husband said he couldn't smell it but it was strong enough for me to smell every time I went in there and was not exactly a nice atmosphere to lie back in the bath and inhale it! The room itself was clean though and the television was a good, flat screen one which ample channels to flick through. The kettle, however, didn't work properly so we had to get it replaced.
We ate in the bar area for our evening meal. This is located next to reception and offers pub grub favourites and also handmade pizzas. I have various allergies but the waitress was more than happy to check exact ingredients of various items with the chef and was very helpful and ever so friendly helping us to make room around the table for our big pushchair! The meal was lovely and very reasonable in price (it cost £21 for a starter, two mains, 1 side and a bottle of wine!) and the atmosphere was nice, it was very laidback and relaxing which was just what we wanted after a day walking around shopping. It didn't take long to get served and it was obvious that the food was prepared as we ordered so it was as fresh as possible.
A Good Night's Sleep?
Premier Inn always say if you don't have a good night's sleep they'll give you your money back...
We had a very poor night sleep and this was nothing to do with our newborn baby! For a start, the room was very hot, so hot that it was sticky and it wasn't even a warm day. The windows don't open, not even a crack and the thermostat in the room only seems to work as a heating device and not a cooling down one so we couldn't make it any cooler at all. The travel cot for our baby was rock hard, it was like he was lying on wood with plastic hinges every few inches along. We luckily had enough pillows to line the cot with so he had a softer 'mattress' to lie on but it was far from ideal, the cot was a Mamas and Papas one so you would expect good quality so I can only assume that no Premier inn staff have actually felt the mattress itself as anyone just feeling it would know it was far too hard and bumpy for a baby's delicate back. They did provide ample sheets and blankets for him though. Our bed was king size so was great in terms of size but the mattress was extremely hard with no give in it whatsoever so we found it hard to get comfortable and in the morning we both had stiff backs. We did tell them on reception that we hadn't had a good night's sleep...we didn't get refunded!
In conclusion I was disappointed by this. I know we only spent £39 so you do not expect luxury but when you compare it to the other Premier inn's that we have stayed in then this is definitely the worst one in terms of space, facilities and comfort. I am glad that I have stayed in other hotels from this brand so that I know that this one is just a one off and I am aware that there were some positive points to the hotel too it just sadly wasn't up to the usually Premier standards. In future when we visit Chester we will stay in one of the Premier Inns which are a few miles out of the city centre so that our room is of a better standard.