Advantages Low room prices if you book early. Close to public transport links to Heathrow and London.
Disadvantages Apparent lack of security. Stuffy rooms.
|Value for Money|
It had been years since I'd last stayed in a Travelodge. In part it was the appearance of reviews on this site which had rekindled my awareness of the brand but in addition an email I received from one of those expert-in-saving-money-at-the-supermarket.com type of companies raised my interest. The newsletter alerted me to the fact that Travelodge were running their £19-per-night offer. Well, from £19 per night to be more precise.The morning that email arrived, I had just begun my research into booking a few days away in west London. We were going to an event in Twickenham and wanted accommodation close to the venue. Of course, the way to achieve that would be simple – book up with the Marriott, the hotel complex embedded into the recently rebuilt south stand of the rugby football stadium but we wanted to work within a much more modest budget. I researched other small hotels and guest houses in the vicinity but decided to give the Travelodge website a look to see what they could offer.
It turned out there were four Travelodge hotels in the area, but the mode of our travel south would dictate which would be the most convenient. We preferred not to take the car on this occasion. I had also received an email alert about British Airways offers and I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that we could fly for a fare not dissimilar to the cost of rail travel – at least on the dates and times of our choice. Therefore it seemed logical to book accommodation somewhere between Twickenham and Heathrow airport and in a locality which is well served by public transport to both of those places. We chose Feltham which is two and a half miles from Heathrow and four and a half miles from Twickenham.
Starting at the home page, you find a 'quick book' option. Simply type in the location of your choice, the dates, the number of rooms and visitors. (You also have the option of booking a 'disabled room' or a group booking at this stage. ) Clicking on 'search' brings up a selection of hotels in the area you have chosen. This page also displays a small map of that area with the hotel options clearly marked on it, which I find quite handy. At this point you can click to read 'more hotel information' for each of the options offered or you can simply proceed straight to booking. The next page displays the prices for each of the nights you have selected for your stay. When you are satisfied with your choice, simply click 'book now'.You are then presented with a list of charges for an array of possible add-ons. (At this stage the booking process is beginning to feel slightly Ryanair-esque and you being to wonder how greatly the final bill will differ from those attractive starting prices!) At the top of the page, however, the basic cost is displayed clearly and it may be that you have no need to add anything further but the optional extras are as follows:
This costs £1.50 per stay. It will cover UK residents' reservations costs in the event of a 'non-refundable room cancellation'. The terms and conditions are very detailed and I would recommend that you read this section in full, if this insurance is of interest to you.
Room Cancellation Insurance
The cost of breakfast will be discounted if you pre-book online. Breakfast options vary depending on which hotel you have booked. Some – such as Feltham - have a Bar Cafe within the hotel and offer an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. This costs £6.50 if you book online, saving £1 on the cost if you pay on the day. (For each full breakfast purchased, two children may eat free of charge, something families may find to be particularly good value.)
Other Travelodges are adjacent to restaurants and the hotel itself will offer only a light breakfast which is delivered to your room in the form of a 'Breakfast Bag'. (Such an appetising description!) This contains breakfast cereal and milk, a croissant with a jam portion, a (American style) muffin and orange juice. This costs £4.05 when booked online which, apparently, represents a 10% discount on the price were you to order it on arrival at your hotel.
Dinner may be pre-booked for hotels with a Bar Cafe only. The cost is £6 for two courses per adult.
Normally you may check in to your room from 3pm onwards. For an additional £10 you may gain access to your room from 12 noon.
You will need to vacate your room by 12 noon. However, should you wish to remain a little longer you can pay an extra £10 and the room is yours until 2pm.(Note the conflict of interest between the latter two room options! For this reason, the website does add the caveat that early check-in and late check-out are 'subject to availability'.)
You may purchase WiFi 'vouchers' in denominations as follows:
60 minutes - £5.00
24 Hours - £10.00
1 Week - £20.00
1 month - £30.00
You can opt to have the details of your booking sent to your mobile phone. There is a fee of 15p for this. (While this cost is next-to-nothing I find it staggering that the company charge at all for a simple service which is now standard with airlines and some other hotel groups.)
SMS Test Confirmation
You may take up to two pets (cats or dogs) with you. The fee is £20 for one animal and £40 for two. The company states clearly that Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs will incur no cost at all. (The website statement is very specific so I am now curious as to whether this fee waiver would be extended to the owners of Seizure Detection Dogs and Diabetes Detection Dogs........answers on a postcard please.........)
The payments page offers the opportunity to apply any discount vouchers to your final bill.
All of the above is a description of the simplest and quickest way to book – but not the cheapest. I took a different route. Having been tempted by the appealing (from) £19 per night offer, I clicked on the 'Find our lowest prices' option. This produced a table showing a range of dates and a selection of ten hotels within a 6 mile radius of the location I had entered onto the search 'form'.I clicked on the grid where my chosen date of arrival crossed with the Feltham option – an action which elicited a jump to the next page offering a 'button' to go ahead with that booking. I booked. It took me a while to twig that all I had done was book for one night even though it was our intention to stay for three. So I needed to repeat this process twice more before I had completed the full booking. And so, in effect, I was left with three separate bookings with three individual booking references. What I had failed to notice was that at the very bottom of the 'Room Price/Customise your stay' page there was a very small 'add another stay' message. Had I clicked on that I would have been able to put all of my nights' bookings in one 'basket', made one payment and had one booking reference. That said, I would have still been forced into going back and repeating at least part of the search'n'book process for each night. While this was my own error, it struck me that this booking method is quite clumsy and doesn't really help first time users to avoid making this mistake. So, watch out for that point should you want to book!
If you are arriving by rail the walk couldn't be simpler. On exiting the station turn immediately to your left and you will come to a level crossing. Once you have crossed the railway track, continue straight ahead along Bedfont Lane until you reach the junction with High Street where you should turn right. Walk past a few shops until you reach 'The Moon on the Square' pub and turn right here. From here you walk straight ahead through the shopping precinct to the hotel. It would be easy to miss the unprepossessing entrance but if you notice a large Asda store to your left, then you have found the right place. The walk from the station should take about 5 minutes.(There is an alternative route which is even quicker – when you leave the hotel entrance turn sharply to your left and enter a covered walkway where there is an escalator. This will lead you to a covered bridge across the railway and then there is only a ramp to descend and a road to cross to reach the railway station. Three minutes should do it – not sure how you do that in reverse though, what with the escalators to negotiate!)
Feltham railway station is served by South West trains and has direct links to London Waterloo (approx 30 minutes), to Twickenham ( 5 to 7 minutes), and an extensive network throughout Surrey, Hampshire and the South Coast. For further information: http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/The number 285 bus runs from Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station (for Terminals 1,2,3) every 10 minutes at peak times and up to 30 minutes intervals off-peak. The journey is approximately 30 minutes and it stops at Feltham railway station. The fare is £2 per adult for a single journey.
The number 490 bus serves a similar route to Feltham Railway Station but serves Heathrow Terminals 4 and 5. The fare and the journey time are the same. The frequency is 12 to 20 minutes.Feltham appears to be well served by other bus routes – further information can be obtained from Transport for London: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/gettingaround/maps/buses/
Drivers are advised to use an NCP car park located - and I quote - '160 meters' (sic) from the hotel. (I have read about these parking facilities on several review sites in addition to Travelodge's own site and I have to say I find the mix of information rather confusing, conflicting even. I would recommend that anyone who wants more information about this telephone Travelodge for clarification.) The address of the car park is as follows:
The second floor corridor and reception is not spacious but clean and tidy and every time we approached the desk there was either a receptionist ready and waiting or in an adjacent office so we never had to wait for attention.On arrival I simply handed over the booking confirmation printouts. That incident I'd had – the complicated booking 'thing' – reared its head immediately. To avoid boring you with the details, let's just say that this really complicated the check-in process and highlighted the importance of avoiding my booking mistake!
I asked straight away for an iron and it was handed to me immediately. I was promised a board would be brought to the room later. (It never did arrive. In fairness, I didn't raise the matter any further as the clothes were fine when I unpacked and I simply returned the iron to the front desk the next morning.)We were given a plastic card with which we could gain entry to the building during hours when the main door would be locked (whenever that might be) and also to our room. The pass was not needed to access the lifts to the accommodation floors.
Bedrooms are located from the third floor up to the eighth floor. We were on floor seven. The lift arrived quickly – and moved quickly – and soon we were stepping out onto the seventh floor lobby. Our hearts sank. The heat was overwhelming, the smell was stale and there was a large, old and unidentifiable stain on the lobby carpet. We hurried through the fire door to get away from the lobby but noticed that the corridor beyond was bright and looked and smelt clean. Over the next day or so we realised that the lobby area suffers from a 'greenhouse effect'. The floor-to-ceiling windows really intensify the heat and the smell seemed to be due simply to lack of ventilation. We noticed it less as time went on.
On entering the room I was surprised immediately by the bright and pleasant appearance of it. I say surprised not because I had been anticipating something especially awful, but simply because I was expecting to see the old, rather tired dark blue and white colour theme. In fact Travelodge's website is still currently depicting that décor for this hotel. Instead, most of the walls were painted what I would call a 'sand' colour and the wall where the bed-head was situated was painted dark orange. The colour scheme seemed to be aiming for a warm Mediterranean effect. One of the curtains was half hanging off the rail when we arrived which elicited groans and gestures of despair from my husband but I quickly climbed up on the chair and re-attached the hooks. Problem solved. Mind you, if it was that easy for me to fix, how come the staff hadn't? Again, answers on a postcard..........The room was quite small but it would be harsh to describe it as cramped. We had no difficulty in accessing each side of the bed or the desk/wardrobe unit. (This room was a 'double'. Travelodge also offer what they term 'family' rooms. These have an additional day-sofa which may be made up to create an additional bed and in my past experience of using this chain, these rooms are usually more spacious.)
The carpet appeared fairly new and was spotlessly clean.Clean, bright, fresh white bedlinen provided the simple adornment for the queen sized bed and a light oak coloured bed-head extended beyond each side of the bed to form a backdrop for small, neat bedside 'tables'. Each side of the bed had a wall mounted and individually controlled reading light.
There was a double casement window in the room and, as you would expect on an floor above ground level in a building of this type, each window is limited in opening by restrictor stays. More on that later.There was an all-in-one unit – also light oak colour - running the width of the room underneath the window and this acted as a desk and a stand for the TV (the rather chunky but nonetheless adequate 'tube' style of TV). I'm not sure which company provide the TV service but during the small amount of time we used it, we found rather more channels than the standard terrestrial five. At one end of the unit there was an open hanging and shelving unit with plenty of hangers provided for clothing. There was one chair placed at the desk. At the opposite end of the unit there was a 'hospitality tray' with a kettle, cups, and spoons. Small sachets of Nescafe coffee were left for our use – both caffeinated and decaffeinated which pleased me – along with a few individually wrapped teabags from a company called 'English Garden'. A few individual portions of longlife milk were provided but not sufficient. We asked for more at reception later in the day. (Travelodge bedrooms don't have telephones, so if you have any requests you will always have to go to reception in person to make them.)
The bathroom – or shower room as I ought to call it – was fairly small but by no means the smallest I have encountered, even in considerably more expensive accommodation. It contained a toilet, a wash basin and a shower. There was no bath. There were plain white tiles on the walls – which I always think give the impression of a public lavatory! They were, however, functional and spotlessly clean. In fact the whole bathroom, very large mirror included, was very clean. Even the plain white shower curtain – so prone to mildew and discolouration – could not be faulted. A small waste bin was lined with a disposable bag and ready for use. Travelodge make it very clear that they do not provide toiletries but 'sample sized' bar of soap was provided along with an ample supply of lavatory paper. A pack of sanitary disposable bags was hung on a hook on the back of the bathroom door. (So handy for carrying home your damp facecloth, I find!) There was one white bath towel and one hand towel for each person and these were changed daily. The bathroom flooring was typical Travelodge style - that rather utilitarian almost industrial looking stuff (I have no idea what it's made of) which is not attractive but it is non-slip and easy to clean.Taking a shower really was lovely though – that's one thing you do expect of Travelodge. There were no problems with the water pressure or the consistency of the water temperature. You just have to remember to take your own gel and shower cap! The tiled shower cubicle had a grab-rail fitted to the wall in case you needed to steady yourself on the way in or out and it was in a blue contrasting colour to make it clearly visible.
We stayed in July and though the temperatures were not 'scorching' outside – maybe 20 to 24 degrees – the room was too warm for us. It also felt rather stuffy. As there is no air conditioning we left the windows open to sleep for the first night. Although my husband slept through it, I found the noise made it impossible to sleep soundly. Strangely enough, although the lights of Heathrow were clearly visible from our window, aircraft noise was not the main cause of disturbance. The proximity to the railway station was a major contributor to the noise levels. I got the impression that not only were frequent passengers services running but goods trains too. I could hear general traffic noise and we also realised that we were immediately above the loading bay for the Asda supermarket. Oh, those reversing warning beeps!For the next two nights there was no option but to sleep with the windows closed. Whilst not completely successful in eliminating all outside disturbance, the noise reduction was marked. We encountered little noise from other guests passing in the corridor so that left only the stuffiness of the room to contend with. This hotel is badly in need of air conditioning facilities. The laws governing window restrictors in hotels mean that you cannot even open the windows wide in order to 'air' the room before you sleep. I realise that Travelodge is a budget chain but the 'luxury' of improved ventilation really is a necessity in this building.
We used the adjacent 24-hour Asda store for breakfast (The hot breakfast we had on the first morning was terribly disappointing though, so for the next two mornings we made do with a half-way decent cup of coffee and pastries.) The supermarket has a well stocked chilled take-away cabinet too if you want to eat on-the-hoof.As mentioned earlier there is a pub very close at hand. The “Moon on the Corner” is a Wetherspoon's. I'm not a fan of this chain at the best of times and I have to say this one, although it does serve food, looked (and smelt) more of a boozy-bar than a dining emporium so we didn't fancy it in the evening and they weren't open early enough in the morning to consider breakfast.
If you are willing to go for a ten minute walk you will come to a leisure complex and there you will find not only a cinema and a bowling alley but dining options too – there is a Frankie and Benny's, a Pizza Hut and a Chiquito's.The address of the complex is:
No, that's unfair, but beyond the TV and the paid-for WiFi in your room there isn't really a lot else to be found. Unlike some Travelodges, this one does at least have a Bar Cafe so you can escape from the confines of your room without leaving the building. This chain though, never usually offers large reception halls or guest lounges and definitely not facilities such as gyms or pools.
We were able to walk straight into the main hotel entrance, enter the lift and exit on the accommodation floors and corridors without having to use a pass, a key, a buzzer or even to be seen by a member of staff and I didn't much care for that arrangement. There was a card reader at the entrance, presumably for entry during night-time hours but the latest we made it back to the hotel was about nine thirty and we never needed to use this. Nothing untoward occurred while we were there but it felt just a little too accessible with its unlocked and unmanned entrance.The vicinity around the hotel has all the sights and sounds you can expect in an urban environment and that is bound to include the occasional drunk but I can't say I noticed anything threatening or disconcerting. If anything, I thought that having a 24-hour store made the area feel a little safer given the flow of people around the shop entrance – as opposed to the feel of a quiet and deserted mall.
In general, within the hotel building, the corridors were well lit, the fire exits well marked, the fire doors self-closing and never wedged open and the restricted opening of the windows met Building Regulation standards for safety on upper floors.
This is the greatest appeal of the Travelodge chain. Book more than 21 days in advance and you can get a room in many of the hotels for as little as £19. Even if you take a family room and fit a family of four into it, it would still cost only £19. The nearer you get to your day of travel though, the higher the price can rise. Had we booked on our day of departure our room would have been £66 instead of the £25 we paid. (I checked ….... I know, I should get out more.) The room, location and facilities did not justify the higher price, in my opinion, but then it's all down to demand. Just book early is my advice and if you can't book early then spend your money elsewhere and get more extensive facilities for the price paid.
The address, phone and fax of the hotel isRes Centre
I would also go as far as to recommend that if you are having difficulty finding a a budget-priced stopover for Heathrow airport, that this hotel should not be ruled out. The bus journey isn't that much longer than many an airport hotel shuttle bus and the cost of transfer is relatively low. The only point to bear in mind in this respect would be the weight and manoeuvrability of your luggage. Although close to the railway station/bus stop, you are not going to be dropped off or picked up right at the hotel entrance.At a push it might even be considered as a base from which to explore London – but the cost of train fares would have to be balanced against any saving made on the hotel price. However, anyone using this hotel during an extended stopover from Heathrow airport could always spend a day (or simply a few hours) by incorporating a London visit into their trip.
To put it in a nutshell, I would go there again - if I had a very specific reason for visiting the area - but not alone unless I knew that the security arrangements within the building had been tightened.
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