Birmingham holiday inn express hotel review ( Room 814) (7/10)

Good

” Central location and polite staff”.
” Grab and go options and breakfast quantity”.
” Good picture quality and signal on in-room TV”.
” Very pleasant mini blueberry muffins”.
” Alcohol not overpriced”.

Bad

” Small kettle capacity and lack of milk or tea choices”.
” Too many thick pillows and cushions on my bed”.
” Duvet a bit too thick for the time of year”.
” Bacon and sausage was a little bland”.
” No drawers”.

Atmosphere

The hotel on entry had a clean and formal atmosphere. You had to take the lifts to reception which was not too much of an issue. The staff on checkin gave out a professional, yet well humoured feel. They were good to talk to and highly welcoming which was nice. They explained how to access wifi and all necessary information for the stay including number of nights and how to activate the lifts.

The breakfast times were announced straight away and the room on arrival was dimly lit with wall lights. Key card activation was present as is the case in many luxury hotels such as the Raddisson Blu of Leeds.

The beds were embellished with red and white creating a modern and striking style which gave the room a more relaxed vibe that that of the reception and entry areas.

Tea provisions

A good variety of sugars were supplied neatly in a tray directly beside the kettle. This was an effective tea making setup since the power access was close by. These sugars included 2 white, 2 brown and 2 sweetener sachets which seemed plenty.

While sweetening selection was pleasant the quantity of tea was certainly a little low. Only 2 sachets of Tetley tea were provided and only full fat milk was supplied. 4 little tubs of milk for just 2 cups of tea seemed a little excessive.

The mugs were of reasonable size however and 2 teaspoons were supplied.
The kettle was probably the smallest I had ever seen with just 0.6 litre maximum capacity. This was a bit of a letdown.

Since we had the inclusive breakfast deal however, limitless tea was available at the breakfast allotted time frame. This was generous and occurred later on at weekends so made up greatly for the room tea facilities. There was cereal selections, yoghurt, fruit with other options such as croissants, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages. The mini blueberry muffin was my favourite. Whilst it was great to have breakfast included the sausages were quite bland with slightly greasy bacon. Brown and tomato ketchup were provided as sauces. I did not try the bread or cereal but the cereal looked the best option out of the 2.

Take out cups and grab and go bags were a nice touch keeping things set up for business stays. Inkeeping with the decoration, this appeared to be the primary target market. With the name holiday inn express however, I would suggest a little more colour and funky items to ensure holiday visitors also feel at home.

There were multiple coffee options and the all-inclusive was equipped with both sweetener and sugar sachets which was nice. I had no problems with the multiple cups of tea I drank there. Hot water was never empty, the sweeteners made it palatable and the milk was ready to use every time. Tetley tea sachets with no other decaf or varietal option was a little disappointing but perhaps my only criticism. Mugs were of standard size but not small which scored brownie points against some other places.

Overall, top marks for presentation but quantity was a little low for room tea provisions yet no such issue was encountered on the all inclusive.

Community areas

The downstairs bar area was of reasonable size with relaxed seating. It did lack a bit of character however and the seating was far from extensive. Prices and menus were clearly displayed on the walls nearby though which was a good feature. Limited cider selection on the bar appeared noticeable.

Price

Price of stay was clearly labelled at £51 and very reasonable for what was provided. A no-frills stay but with the practicality of a higher rated establishment.

Washing and cleaning

3 towels were supplied which seemed plenty and the bathroom whilst compact, was very clean. 2 additional towels were supplied above the open wardrobe.
Plenty of shampoo was provided for 2 guests as well as liquid hand soap. The shower was certainly large enough with dual control. One knob was for temperature and the other for pressure which is my preferred system. This worked well with quick responses to alterations in both temperature and pressure. It did however make a noisy alarm style sound which improved with pressure adjustment or reactivation. This was only a minor inconvenience therefore.

Everything was immaculately clean with a towel rail in the shower space.
There was a hairdryer as well as an iron and ironing board in the room. This was great although their location, behind a full body height mirror, was a little hidden.
That said, this mirror and the 3/4 height mirror in the bathroom were certainly sufficient for literal self reflection.

 

Chilling in your room

An open wardrobe with 6 metal hangers was provided which appeared an average number and just about sufficient between 2 guests; Not quite as many as Double tree by Hilton of Lincoln though. The open wardrobe appeared as a pleasant modern touch.
The bed backrests were padded to avoid the lumbar pain typical of an unembellished slab of wood and the TV was of adequate size. No intermittency was suffered in signal either as was the case in the roundhouse of Bournemouth. Picture quality was good. The location however was not ideal for the bed nearest the end of the room for watching. Viewing could be achieved from the sofa chair however which did make up for this.
6 plug sockets between 2 guests with one each directly beside the beds, seemed like a good arrangement. The number also seemed generous.

Wifi was reliable and easy to connect to with no passwords. Just a simple checkbox.

The beds were serviced reliably and well but the mattress was a little firm for me and the duvet was too thick for the time of year. Servicing by replacing both pillows when I removed one due to personal sleeping preference, seemed slightly inconvenient. Pillows were supportive and comfy though.

Customer service

Staff were friendly and polite and quick to respond to my queries. Whilst they encountered some software issues on checkin they were apologetic and polite when resolving the issue. Room servicing was effective and timely.
On checkout, staff were quick and polite.

Summary

A comfortable stay with professional cleanliness and service. Practical systems for breakfast and information provided. Good TV/Wifi and polite staff. Location was great and central. I would stay again for price, practicality and location.

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