A little hidden gem.
I'm not the world's most traveled hotel user - now and then I get to go away with work or maybe a night in London once a year, but usually I'm a one or two night guest at most. My criteria for a good hotel then, is - clean, comfortable and a decent night's sleep and that's about it. On a recent trip for work, I had to spend a night in Newcastle, with all booking done through my organisation and by someone else on my behalf, so no control whatsoever about where I stayed. I've stayed in a few different chain hotels before and in reality, there's not much to choose between most of them - generic, corporate, they do what it says on the tin.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by the Best Western New Kent Hotel in Jesmond. It's a leafy suburb of Newcastle and the hotel is situated on a road that skirts a very nice, well to do area of the city. Despite being on a through route (bus stop outside and lots of other hotels along the road), it's actually quite a quiet hotel, and although I was given a corner room at the top front of the building, I found there was no intrusion from traffic noise. The rest of the surrounding area is exclusively residential, so there's not a huge amount of traffic outside. There is free parking on two aspects of the hotel - not a massive amount, but despite taking our hire car into town for the evening, we got back and were able to use the same space at the rear of the hotel, so clearly not a majhor issue. There appeared to be plenty of on road parking available nearby anyway, so other than a short walk with luggage, I wouldn't forsee a problem if the hotel car park was full.
The staff were friendly and informal, and although the hotel could do with a bit of a refurb in some areas, it was clean and the room I was given was comfortable with a double aspect view over the church grounds and a quiet residential side street.
The room was well appointed with a small but functional en-suite, a comfortable double bed and sufficient space to store my luggage without tripping over it. Complimentary tea coffee and biscuits were in the room along with a small kettle. I even quite liked the fact that the bedroom floor sloped down slightly from the window to the bed - it gave it a quaint, quirky feel!
I can't assess the restaurant food as we ate out that night, but the next morning breakfast was served buffet style and was very nice indeed.
The hotel is actually only a short drive from the city centre, so if you have a car, you can explore the city easily, but use the hotel as a quiet base away from the hubbub of city life. I really liked this hotel, so much so that if I ever find myself overnighting in Newcastle again, this would be my preferred hotel over and above any large city center location. It's a big, sprawling city, so I'm not sure about exploring on foot from this location, but being on a bus route, I imagine it's not too arduous to use public transport as an alternative to driving everywhere.
Over all, a really nice place to stay and one that I'd happily recommend. less