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The Premier Inn at Newton Aycliffe is one I stayed at on a couple of occasions a few years back and never experienced any problems, so I was confident when staying there again recently that everything would be ok. Although Newton Aycliffe is just a half hour drive down the A1 for us, we decided to take advantage of the Premier Saver rate available for the date of our stay and book a room. At just £29 it meant that one of us didn't have to stick to soft drinks and drive home after meeting up for a family occasion recently.
Premier Inn Newton Aycliffe is situated on the Great North Road, Newton Aycliffe and is easily reached via the A1 which is only a few mins drive away. The hotel is located in a large car park behind The Gretna Green 'Fayre & Square' pub restaurant, which serves good food and also has a Wacky Warehouse for the kids. Although there is a busy road in front of the pub, the hotel's setting behind the pub and across a car park means that no noise from the road can be heard inside the hotel. Indeed the area is quite rural apart from the road and the view from the rear of the hotel is of a small grassed area and then fields.
As I already mentioned, we had stayed at this hotel previously but it was a good few years back and it has been upgraded since then. Although there was nothing wrong with it that I can recall from my previous visits, Premier Inn do have really comfortable beds it seems at all their hotels now and this is one of the advantages of choosing Premier Inn. Apart from them being spotlessly clean and comfortable, their customer service has always been good based on my experience and if you can secure one of their Premier Saver rates as I have on a few occasions by booking in advance, then the rooms are a bargain!
I booked the room online at the Premier Inn website www.premierinn.com a couple of weeks before the date of my stay and secured the £29 saver rate. The saver rate requires you to pre-pay for your room and you will not be entitled to a refund if you need to cancel or amend your booking, so it is only worth booking if you are definite about your plans. If not, then you can book the flexible rate which allows you to cancel up to 1pm on the day of your stay, but this can cost more than double the saver rate.
Check-in was at 2pm on the day of our arrival which suited us fine and we were checked in by a friendly young man and as I had already paid for the room, the process took less than a minute. He advised us that he was on duty until 11pm if we needed anything at all and wished us an enjoyable stay, as well as informing us that Premier Inn now offer 30 mins of free WiFi at their hotels, which is a welcome addition. You can even stagger your half hour across the day by stopping and starting as often as you need, which is very handy in my opinion and another bonus to staying at Premier Inns. We were given a small card with the WiFi details and password on, along with our room key. There was a vending machine selling pop, water, crisps and chocolate and we were advised that the adjacent pub served meals until 10pm. If you book a breakfast then the pub is also where your breakfast will be served, but we gave this a miss.
The hotel is a two-storey building and our room was upstairs at the rear of the hotel, which I was happy about as I prefer to look out on to gardens or fields rather than a car park. The hotel is one of the smaller Premier Inns and seemed very quiet when we checked in. It did get busier later on but I don't think the hotel was full and we didn't experience any noise or disturbance during our stay.
Our room and en-suite bathroom were spotless. Two bath towels and two hand towels were provided, the bath towels especially were large, thick and fluffy. Imperial Leather shower gel and Carex antibacterial handwash are provided in dispensers fixed to the wall, however I prefer to use my own toiletries for the shower or bath. If you forget any items you can purchase small packs from reception. Although there was plenty of hot water, the shower could have done with being a little more powerful, but this was just a minor niggle as it was adequate and it was just that I have experienced better showers elsewhere in other Premier Inns.
The bed was large and extremely comfortable, as seems to be the norm with Premier Inn these days and the room was very spacious. A workspace with a chair, flatscreen TV with Freeview channels and large mirror above was opposite the bottom of the bed and adjacent to this was an open hanging space with shelves for your clothes and an adjoining shelf with a kettle, cups, and sachets of tea, coffee etc. There was plenty of space between the side of the bed and the window and here was a bucket-style chair and small table as well as a full-length mirror with a hairdryer fixed to the wall next to it. The room was the usual Premier Inn purple theme which I personally like, with purple carpets, purple striped curtains and purple leather headboard contrasting the crisp white linen on the bed along with a purple runner.
The only fault I had with the room was one that I experienced at another Premier Inn last year and this was that the double electrical sockets available have been placed just above the workspace. Unfortunately the sockets are placed too near the surface area of the workspace and plugging anything in with a sealed plug or an adaptor is virtually impossible. Indeed I could not plug my i-pod speaker dock or my phone charger into these sockets. It does seem like no thought was given to this when the sockets were fitted, but luckily on this occasion we found the socket where the kettle was plugged in was adequate and so we simply unplugged the kettle and used this socket. At the hotel we stayed at last year there were no other available sockets in the room and so this was a problem for us at that time, but as we were able to unplug the kettle here and use the socket then this too, just like the shower, is only a minor niggle.
The room temperature is controlled via a digital control on the wall which you adjust to your liking by pressing the arrows up or down. We went out for the evening and on our return the room was still warm and cosy. On leaving and entering the hotel we were greeted each time by the young man on reception who had checked us in. There was nobody on the reception desk when we checked out at 12 noon the next day but there was a notice on the desk explaining how to contact a member of staff if needed. I think it is always nice to have a member of staff on the desk as you leave to ask you if everything was okay for you, but as we had no real concerns we just dropped our room key into the box provided and left.
We spent a very comfortable and quiet night at this hotel and despite the two minor niggles I had, I would still rate this hotel highly and will stay here again if ever I need to, especially if a saver rate is available as these are indeed a bargain. Overall it doesn't surprise me that Premier Inn are winning the best budget hotel awards as the cleanliness, comfort, service and bargain prices when available, along with 30 mins free WiFi make them excellent value for money.
Premier Inn Newton Aycliffe Ricknall Lane, Great North Road, Newton Aycliffe DL5 6JG Tel: 0871 527 8336