Any hotel with an Indian restaurant has to be worthy of consideration. What can be better than an Indian meal without the hassle of having to drive home afterwards?
Hartlepool’s Best Western Grand Hotel is home to Mumbai, an Indian restaurant chain – according to the hotel’s receptionist – but whether a chain or an independent it has to be the way ahead for the British hotel industry when you consider that Indian food is the new steak and kidney pie.
Normally when I stay in a hotel with a grand name – be it The Grand Hotel or the Majestic or something similarly lofty – I’m often disappointed, as the hotel tends not to deliver on some aspect implied by its name. I expect there to be rough edges. But while I strained my eyes to find something out of place or not in keeping with the word ‘grand’ I was hard-pushed to find anything worth mentioning.
The check-in was simple, the receptionist friendly. The room was way above expectation: large and roomy, everything worked, including the WiFi and the shower and the television (on which I watched Top Gear while waiting for my dinner companion). Could anything be better than this? Top Gear, a curry and a decent night’s kip? I was in hotel heaven.
The Grand Hotel Hartlepool is brilliant and I advise anybody embarking upon a trip to Teesside to consider it as a base for his or her stay in the North East. It lives up to its name; it has plenty of polished wood and creaky floors and a large stained glass window on the first floor landing – all classic ingredients of a ‘grand hotel’.
In addition to Mumbai, there’s a large sports bar – not my scene, but that’s beside the point. When I checked out the receptionist told me that there was an Italian restaurant prior to Mumbai’s arrival so I’m guessing that the food and beverage operation here has always been good.
Breakfast was good too, although I started to wonder, as I made my way downstairs, whether the most important meal of the day would be served in the Indian restaurant. I hoped not as I couldn’t face the smell of Indian food first thing in the morning. Fortunately, the hotel had thought this through; there was a dedicated (and very pleasant) breakfast room adjacent to the front desk on the ground floor.
As with most hotels there was a choice of a cooked breakfast or the continental offering of cheese, fresh fruit, bread and cereal. I opted for both but had as my cooked option scrambled egg on toast. Prior to this I had Coco Pops, tea, fresh fruit and a fudge-flavoured yoghurt. The breakfast service was friendly and unobtrusive, just the way I like it.
Checking out was also trouble-free. I left my suitcase behind the front desk and briefly explored the Middleton Grange shopping centre across the road – it’s the same as any other shopping centre (or mall) in the UK.
I enjoyed Hartlepool and could have done with an extra night at the Grand Hotel, as there’s plenty to explore in the locality. I suppose the only problem with spending more than one night is the thought of two Indian meals in a row, but there’s always the sports bar and I’m sure there are plenty of restaurants nearby too. less