I have stayed in most of the hotels in Newcastle, due to being there every week for work, so I decided this week to give the Sandman a try. It is only a short walk from the Central Station, and the centre of town, and is opposite Newcastle football ground. From the outside the hotel looks clean and modern, if a little anonymous, but it is well presented. It is right by St James Metro station, so easy to get to.
The lobby is presented in the current trend of designer/boutique, which if you have stayed in a lot of hotels will do not much for you. It isn't warm and comfortable as you might think, with the layout all a bit sparse, and you just get the feeling that it is more showhome than a home from home. It is very well appointed and very well presented, so I cannot fault them on this, but some hotels also make the lobby inviting to sit and relax, I didn't get that feeling here.
Check in was smooth and simple, and it wasn't long before I was heading for my room.
There are two lifts, which are a bit slow, but you get there in the end! I was staying on the 7th floor and the corridors leading to my room were very well appointed and very clean and tidy. In the three nights I stayed, I never saw another guest in the corridors. This made it feel a bit deserted, but as I was staying mid-week, it may just be that they were not that busy.
Entry to your room is via fancy proximity cards, the ones that you wave near the reader, and you are in! Easy and simple and a nice touch.
I opened the door and got a very nice surprise, finding that the room I had was equipped with a small but well appointed kitchen! This included microwave, fridge, sink, hob, toaster, kettle and tea & coffee. This is unusual, but a big bonus for me, as I am not a big fan of eating in the hotel restaurants. This allowed me to bring in food from the local supermarket and cook it myself. This is a big plus point!
The kitchen also had it's own TV, which was a little redundant as there is another on the wall just 6-7 feet away. The kitchen was spotless and very clean.
This leads to the main bedroom area, with a desk, sofa, large wall mounted TV and a lovely large bed. This also had aircon, but my unit was a bit noisy and didn't seem to cool under 20 degrees, but that was ok. Large windows afforded me a view over a nearby building site!
Tucked away is a bathroom, which again was spotless and highly appointed. The shower was hot, powerful and very modern, and was lovely to use. The next day, upon my return the shower was once again spotless. Complimentary shampoo/body wash etc are provided.
The bed was comfortable, and the bedside also came with an iPod dock which was good as I could use it to listen to music via my iPhone, again a nice little touch.
After the first night, I went down to breakfast, which is conducted in the Shark Bar, which is a bit strange as the seating is a mixture of low level tables, which is pretty useless to eat at, and high stool type tables which often were filled by 7.15am. There also appears to be just two people running the breakfast service, and has a bit of wait to be served.
The food is cooked to order, which is good, and was of reasonable quality, if a little over priced for a hotel. The full english was £13.95, which is a little steep. As the bar area has seats spread out, there isn't a nice atmosphere in the Shark Bar for breakfast. It isn't bad, but it isn't inviting either. If you pre-order breakfast at check-in, you can get the rate reduced to £9.99.
Check out on the last day was very smooth, and the check out clerk was very friendly and efficient.
All in all, this is a nice hotel, the rooms are well appointed with some really nice thoughtful touches, like the kitchens, iPod dock and it being spotlessly clean, but there is something about the atmosphere of the place that made it feel a little cold and sterile for me. The staff were polite and helpful but it just felt a bit sterile.
I would recommend staying here, you may love the atmosphere here, and it is a great place to explore Newcastle, but for me, the atmosphere would put me off again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Sandman Signature Hotel Newcastle sits in the city center of Newcastle, surrounded by key attractions in the city such as the iconic Newcastle United Football Club Stadium, China Town, city center shopping district, Newcastle University, etc. (all this within 5 minutes walking radius) In addition we are just few minutes walk away from the Theatre Royal, the Centre of Life, the city Quayside and a great selection of restaurants and bars to enjoy this vibrant city. ... more less
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