When it comes to choosing hotels, I admit I'm a bit of a snob and I spend quite a lot of money ensuring I get a good night away. I'm not wealthy, in fact I'm completely the opposite despite spending on average at least £100 a night on a hotel away. My secret is usually planning in advance, saving up a few months beforehand and searching all the discount sites. I was recently approached by the Travelodge team to see if I would like to go budget for the night and see if they can persuade me to save some of my cash in the future and book Travelodge* for my trips. I admit I was a little bit hesitant, I've had bad experiences at some budget hotels in the past, but I decided to give it a go. There has been far too many times I've passed on a trip just because I couldn't afford a more luxurious hotel, even when there have been Travelodge's nearby.
Last weekend we checked into the Liverpool Strand Travelodge for a mini break away before Christmas. When we arrived, I was really impressed with the location - it was across the road from the Albert Dock, within a five minute walk to Liverpool One and there were a Tesco below the hotel. That Tesco came in really handy later that the day as I realised I had terrible blisters on my feet when we got to the hotel, so I sent my husband down to buy a pack of plasters.
One thing that did upset me from the start about Travelodge is that you cannot leave your luggage there until you check in. I understand this in smaller locations, but this is a city hotel and many people would not want to drag their suitcases around Liverpool all day. According to the website, none of the Travelodge's have a left luggage area, which really disappoints me. Luckily my husband and I read this on the website before we got there and avoided the embarrassment of asking the reception staff. Instead we left our luggage at the left luggage area in Liverpool Lime Street station and for one day and two suitcases it cost us £18...it's a good job we didn't need to leave our suitcases on departure day.
The room as I expected was very basic, but it was comfortable and had most things you would need for a few nights stay. There were plenty of teas and coffees and it also had 24 hour food menu consisting of pizza, chips and most things you would want coming in from a drunken night out or food in a hurry. I did miss having a cold bottle of water in my room like a lot of hotels have and there were no biscuits which disappointed me, something that I'm used to having at other hotels. The plugs were at the opposite side of the room, but a lot of hotels are like that these days so I didn't really mind and the room was clean, which of course was the most important things.
Another bugbear about Travelodge is the lack of free WIFI. You have to pay £3 per 24hours that you are there to use it. Most places offer free WIFI these days and it really angered me that Travelodge didn't offer this service. If you were staying for several nights, this cost could soon add up. Let's say you're staying for 7 nights - that is an extra £21. Luckily I had enough data on my phone to get me through the weekend, but usually free WIFI at a hotel is one of the most important things I look for.
The bathroom in our hotel room was really clean. It was basic and you have to request a hairdryer at reception if you need one, but it was very clean and unlike a lot of hotels, it didn't have grimy tiles or silicone.
Breakfast was one of the highlights of my stay at Travelodge and unfortunately I didn't manage to get a picture because I ate it far too fast. Being a vegetarian can often be difficult in most places, never mind a budget hotel, but I felt well catered for at Travelodge. They had an all you can eat buffet with continental or English breakfast options and the English breakfast option had Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages and they were a delight. It was a nice change from scrambled egg on toast, even though it is my favourite. A Travelodge breakfast will set you back £7.95 a day, but it is worth it as everything is unlimited and you can fill yourself up before the day ahead. My husband and I had a big breakfast so that we spent less money snacking when walking around Liverpool.
It is time for the big question, would I stay at Travelodge again? I have to admit my stay at the Liverpool Strand Travelodge wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and yes there were a few things that I was unhappy with, but the location was so on point that I probably would stay there again. My stay last weekend has made me realise that Travelodge could be an option for my future mini breaks and it is something I would look into if I'm cash-strapped, but I don't think I'm willing to give up my luxuries just yet.
Have you stayed at a Travelodge recently?
*This stay was complimentary in exchange for this review