We did a spur of the moment visit to Stratford on the way down from being up North this weekend and the day before, quickly went online to find a hotel. The Best Western came up at around £35 and given its generally good reviews, although not our usual choice of hotel chain, we thought why not and booked it.
Now, this review is slightly difficult to write as I want to be balanced and say that the hotel is a budget hotel and price we paid was very good given that the general price in Stratford seemed to be around £60-£70 per night, but I also have to comment on our experience of staying here.
The hotel is situated just 3-4 minutes walk from the canal basin, so top marks for location. Its on a busy main road so some rooms at the front may suffer road noise. The car park wasnt as small as I thought, and we found a space easily.
We noticed some of the rooms on the lower floors actually had a view of the cars parked right outside their windows, so going into the hotel we asked if we could ensure we had a room on an upper floor. To be fair to the lady on the desk, she was very helpful and we received a warm welcome.
The public areas of the hotel were clean and modern and there seemed a lot of people having afternoon tea in the restaurant. When others say the hotel is a warren of corridors, they were not kidding. Its a little confusing with all the rooms and corridors, and there are no lifts, so beware if you cant walk up steps with luggage.
We found our room and went inside. The room was extremely hot and stuffy, with the radiator on full blast. Our view was, well, of a wall opposite and the windows being sash windows they don't open fully. Decor inside was old but functional, with a tv, tea and coffee, wardrobe etc. However, there was a strong smell in the room which we found to be coming from the bathroom. We were not sure if it was the cleaning products, or if it was coming from the toilet, so we asked to move.
We moved to another room (206) which was far better. It was lighter inside, and had a huge added bonus of a small balcony area and French doors so we could get some air into the room. The bathroom was a decent size and clean. The bed was comfortable, but importantly it was clean and everything seemed to work, even if the carpet didn't fit the room properly, or the large stain on it in the corner of the room, or the handles missing off one of the cabinets, or the French doors not locking without really having to pull on the handle, but we were there for one night, and it was acceptable for what we paid!
However..... as the evening drew on we came across the major failing of our new room. Underneath our room was a door, which on further inspection seemed to be a staff entrance/exit and was used by the kitchen staff, who regularly used this door to go out for a break. When the door closed it banged extremely loudly to such an extent that our room shook! I'm not exaggerating, if in particular, you were in the bathroom, the bathroom fittings would actually shake from the bang!
Thankfully, we were out until late that evening and by the time we came back it had stopped, but come early hours of the morning (5am) it started again and got more frequent as the morning progressed. Add to this the creaking of the floor boards in the corridors outside our room, we had now given up on any chance of a decent sleep past this point.
The final comedy moment came in the form of a figure appearing on our balcony which scared the life out of my girlfriend as we heard the windows on the french doors being pressed. It was in fact a window cleaner (at 9.30am). Thankfully, we were not walking around the room unawares, or in the bathroom, but surely a more appropriate time to clean guests windows would be after they check out and before they check in? 11am - 2pm? As my girlfriend said, if she had been there on her own, it would have really scared her. Then, even worse, there were no coffee sachets in the room, only tea which was a real nightmare for someone who needs their morning hit of coffee!
So, my thoughts on the hotel...... it was generally clean in terms of bedding and towels and the bathroom. Carpets looked very tired in places. Everything worked in the room. Car parking was exceptionally cheap. Staff were friendly and helpful and location was excellent. However, on the basis of our first room and then the noise from the second, i'm afraid its not a hotel we would consider going back to, even though the price is cheap.
If however you are on a tight budget or going for just the night, then there is no denying it does offer good value for money and i'm sure based on the other reviews here, there are better rooms to be found in the hotel. Maybe we were just unlucky with our two! less