My companion and I booked a 2 night stay here over the back holiday weekend as it seemed to be the only hotel in the area that had vacancies that weekend.
We unfortunately had the worst ever experience with parking charges and availability overseen by an unhelpful front of house.
We were informed that parking charges were £7.50 per day at check in. The reception lady wanted payment up front for both days and we duly paid. She did mention that it would be possible to park in the Sainsbury's supermarket behind the hotel for free after a certain time in the evening but made it sound like a bad idea as we would have to pay for the few hours until Sainsbury's closed due to our arrival time. So hey-ho, we thought, as least we'll have a safe place to park the car and not have to worry about finding a space the following evening.
Now, there are just a few parking spaces at the front of the hotel. Really not more than 10 which is inadequate for such a large hotel. Bizarrely, on our walk around the area, we discovered a massive underground car parking space that was not in operation but appeared to be managed by the hotel as there was a notice by the closed gates advising people to contact Copthorne reception to pay £7.50 charge. Very strange...
The next evening, we returned after a day trip and found that there were no parking spaces left at the front of the hotel. The same lady who had been so happy to charge us for car parking the previous day was unsympathetic and said we could go find someone else to park and she would refund the £7.50. It was late and drizzling at this point and we were really not in the mood. Eventually, she decided that we could park at the exit of the car park. This would prevent any other cars from exiting the car park until she managed to get someone to unlock the barriers to the second exit (very weirdly shaped car park). We did as she suggested and went to our room.
Our room had the most fantastic view over the car park and main road (ah sweet sound of traffic) and we soon realised what a dangerous situation we had created. The hotel seemed to be hosting an event that evening as there was quite some taxi traffic. After dropping their fare off and finding their exit path blocked, they had no choice but to reverse back out the way they came in. Which is to say, they had to blind reverse back on to the highroad! We spent the next 15-20 mins staring out the window until eventually, a young man in kitchen garb (apron and cap) came and unlocked the barrier for the narrower secondary exit. We immediately went down to re park the car in the second exit, leaving the main exit clear once again.
As for the hotel itself, the decor takes you back thirty years. Hopelessly dated and dismal. The bed was saggy in the middle and gave us creaky backs in the mornings. Everything was clean though, so housekeeping does a good job at least.
Breakfast was in an ugly room with uncomfortable chairs. Soggy bacon, watery scrambled eggs and eggs that weren't fried so much as poached in oil and served in a pool of grease. I'd advise you to stick to sausages, beans and toast if you ever find yourself facing the breakfast buffet here. Oh, and I did mention that the breakfast restaurant has a lovely view over the supermarket carpark, didn't I?
The only ray of sunshine at the breakfast table was the cheerful and polite waitress who served us on both days.
Avoid if possible. If you have to stay here, go with low expectations and leave your car at home or park elsewhere.
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- Also Known As:
- Plymouth Copthorne Hotel