Update (15th December): I have since spoken to Travelodge about this blog post, and had a good conversation about the points raised. We agreed that my experience was below what I should have expected and that I should be refunded; in turn, I have agreed to make some clarifications to this post. The points about poor customer service and the doors not being locked in particular were taken on board. I would like to thank the manager for getting back to me and taking my concerns seriously.
I don’t often rant about poor customer experiences but feel that I tell you about my night in the Upper Brook Street Travelodge in Manchester.
Firstly, some background – we were going to see Uncaged Monkeys at the Manchester O2 Apollo and needed to stay the night as it didn’t finish while 11pm. We’ve used a couple of other hotels in the area when going to gigs in Manchester but as this was nearby and the rooms were recently reduced to £15 in a sale, I booked it.
Upon arrival at about 6:30pm, the bloke at the reception desk didn’t seem particularly interested in us and directed us to the two self-service check-in machines, one of which was out of order. It walked us through checking in and tried to sell us the add-ons (breakfast, late checkout etc.) that we’d opted out of before when booking before dispensing the keycard and receipt. The receptionist also mentioned that the front door would be locked at 10pn and we’d need to to use our keycard to get in – which is expected really.
The gig started at 7:30pm, so we dumped our bags in the room, quickly changed and headed straight out. The gig was brilliant, and we arrived back at the hotel at 11:30pm. It was at this point that we realised that this hotel was, to be blunt, a bit rubbish.
Firstly, the outside door wasn’t locked, as we were previously told – anyone could get in, and this hotel is on a main road – although the intermediary door to the rooms was locked. In the bedroom, the heating was off, despite it being December and during a particularly cold spell. We found that only 1 set of towels had been provided, and 3 pillows – 2 on the bed and 1 spare. As we both normally sleep with 2, I went back to reception and requested an additional pillow and a towel set, and was told someone would bring them up in about 30 minutes – remember, it’s already 11:30pm now. The receptionist wrote a note and I went back to the room. At 12:15am, there having been no knocks on the door and nothing left outside our room, I went to sleep. No-one knocked overnight as far as I can tell and in the morning there was nothing waiting for us outside the door.
In the room, there were no bedside tables – just a small alcove in the walls on each side big enough for a mobile phone or a couple of inhalers. There were also no shelves in the shower for shampoo, and no bathmat – meanwhile whilst having a shower the floor would end up very wet because the shower tray wasn’t so much a tray as basically a flat surface.
The photo shows the delightful view out of our window – or lack thereof – there was some sort of superstructure on the side of the hotel which was covered with blue plastic panels.
Anyway, we checked out. The receptionist, who may also have been the duty manager, asked us how our stay was and we mentioned some of the problems. His answer implied that – get this – they only provide one set of towels in each room, even though two adults had booked to stay in it, and we were supposed to request an additional set. This would have been fine (and understandable, providing two sets when not necessary would mean more washing and higher costs) but it was never explained to us, and we didn’t have time to sort it out earlier in the evening. And after requesting them, to have our request forgotten about was adding insult to injury.
This isn’t the first Travelodge I have stayed in – in the past 18 months, I have stayed at Travelodges in Edinburgh and Liverpool and, on the whole, I was reasonably satisfied with them.
As for alternatives – in the past we have stayed at the Ibis Hotel on Charles Street and the Holiday Inn Express on Oxford Road – the latter of which I would especially recommend. It’s a bit pricy at £71 per night (although may be cheaper if there’s an offer on, I think we paid about £50 last time) but the room was really nice, and far more was included in the price, including a hearty buffet breakfast. Similarly I’ve been impressed with my stays with Premier Inn but haven’t yet been at their hotels in the area.