When booking a hotel what is it you look for? Are you a person that starts by looking at the 5* luxury, boutique style hotels or do you start with a budget in mind rather than worrying about what some inspector has, at one time, said about the accommodation, hence the rating that it now holds?
There is of course, the other type of traveller, those who obsess over what review sites say about the accommodation. I admit it, I fall into this category. I appreciate the photos that others had added to these sites, not necessarily the comments – we all want something different from our time away so what might suit one person doesn’t always work for someone else. But the photos… that’s reality. It shows the wear and tear, the truth through a lens. Don’t get me wrong, I have looked at the hotel’s own website first and liked what I have seen which leads me to find out more from my fellow travellers. Why do I do this? – The photos on hotel websites may have been taken a long while ago, they could have been enhanced or they might be computer generated.
What about hotel chains? Are you a person that will seek out a particular brand wherever you go? Again, I fall into this category. This however, may surprise some people – it’s not Marriott or Hilton, which, don’t get me wrong are of course, on the whole, lovely but I have had issues with both. My brand of choice is Premier Inn. Yes you read that right, it’s not a typo!
Why you may now be screaming at the screen. It’s simple, I know what I am going to get. You may believe that all pricy hotel chains are the same but trust me that is not the case. Some of you will say that this would be the same for Premier Inn; and this may be true but so far I have not stayed in a bad one. All have a large comfy bed, clean bathrooms and plenty of storage for a price tag of between £19 -£49 per night. When you think about what some hotel chains charge for a bed each evening why do they attract so many people?
In recent years, Premier Inn, has had a facelift. Lenny Henry has become the face of the adverts and it is a case of what you see is what you get. Their brand is building and it’s great to see. Costa Coffee, TGI Fridays and other big named brands have attached themselves to them so they must be doing something right.
We recently stayed in Leeds for an evening (The Premier Inn, City Gate, Wellington St – http://www.premierinn.com). We discussed booking into other hotel chains, one in particular that I had stayed in only weeks before, but decided against it. For less than half the price we got a night in a fantastic room on the outskirts of town. To top it off there was a restaurant on site and free parking – it’s not often I can say that about city centre hotels! The following morning we were able to tuck into a delicious, all you can eat continental breakfast for just £5.99 each; the cheapest I found elsewhere was £15 each. Again, this seems like a complete no brainer. The menu for evening meals was a little more limiting, especially for vegetarians, but for a night or two there would be enough to tempt most peoples’ taste buds. If not, you are just minutes away from the town centre and a huge array of culinary options.
I do, of course, like a luxury break away, perhaps in a unique setting, or something more unusual but there is nothing wrong with staying in a budget, reliable chain hotel either.