This is the splendid ivy covered building beside the A1, at the junction with the A66. We’ve often driven past, but this is the first time we’ve stayed there. We booked using Air Miles, so decided to treat ourselves to breakfast as well.
This is a very stylish building, built to impress with a large reception area, splendid staircase and wide corridors. We had booked a double room and were given a room on the second floor at the front of the hotel. It was an attractive room, spotlessly clean, with off white walls and pale wood furniture. It was however, quite a small room and with the en suite bathroom, there wasn’t a lot of space to move round.
There was a small desk for working with a single chair. Our request for an additional chair received a rather surprised response from reception, but one was found for us. When not using it, the only place for it to go was in front of the door.
There were plenty of coat hangers in the wardrobe and a rack for the suitcase – a plus compared with Travelodge and Premier Inn. It also had an iron and ironing board, but no hair drier.
The bed was comfortable and came with a firm and soft pillow each, although we couldn’t really tell much difference. Bedding was changed regularly during our stay.
There was a good sized bathroom with a hand held and an over the bath shower. There was a flannel, hand towel and bath towel per person. The towels varied from thick and fluffy to getting a bit thin. There was a plentiful supply of soap, shampoo and shower gel which was replenished daily.
The hospitality tray had the usual selection of tea bags and coffee sachets.
There was a small flat screen TV and also free Wi-Fi with no limit on use.
Breakfast is served in the small but very stylish restaurant with black and white decor, but it did let them down. Food was slow to be replenished. The cooked breakfast was kept hot under heat lamps but was often only luke warm and the fried eggs decidedly rubbery. Plates were cold. There were no all bran or bran flakes among the cereal selection. There were no rolls, only sliced bread, along with croissant and pain au chocolat, danish pastries and small buns. Great if you have a sweet tooth. We don't. Tables were often slow to be cleared.
There was a good choice of cooked breakfast with two different types of sausage, bacon, black pudding, hash browns, mushrooms, tomato, baked beans, and fried or scrambled eggs. The continental breakfast was a choice of prepacked cheese and slices of cooked ham.
The fruit selection was good with blackberry compote, fresh fruit salad and grapefruit segments but again these weren’t replaced quickly when finished. There was no fresh fruit out.
Tea and coffee is served to your table and you need to ask for refills. My herbal tea, however, came out in a tea pot.
At £15 per person, we felt the breakfast was expensive and the overall verdict was ‘could do better’.
There is a large bar with very large square chairs for relaxing and a seating area for bar meals. Beer is just keg. There is also a separate lounge area.
We didn’t eat in the Holiday Inn at night as we felt food was pricy. There is a Marks and Spencer Simply Food in the service area the other side of the roundabout where we bought food.
This is the first time we have stopped in a Holiday Inn in this country. Unlike Travelodge and Premier Inn, they do not offer cheap bargain rates. The unrefundable saver rate is only slightly cheaper than the normal rate. Standards are better than Travelodge and comparable to Premier Inn. The free wi-fi is a bonus. The room rates 4.5*. The breakfast probably only 3*.