I am a great believer in trying to be as fair as possible, and as a journalist, objective without personalising.
Firstly this hotel has what arguably has to be one of the best central locations in Blackpool, being located a stones throw from the Central Pier, and therefore equidistant from the North & South promenade areas. The town centre and Tower, as well as the Pleasure Beach are within walking distance. There are plenty of local restaurants in the immediate vicinity, some offering various deals 2 for 1, 2 dine for £5.99 etc. Please be aware that the hotel does not offer food therefore you will require to eat out, including breakfast. The hotel have arranged a deal for breakfast for customers at a local cafe within a 3 minute walk.
I had booked two rooms for a family break, a twin and a double with sea views. That is what we received, therefore no complaints there. The twin room on the top floor was for our two children and the climb up several flights stairs would be unsuitable for the elderly, infirm or disabled. The size of this room was reasonable and it accommodated 2 beds, a wardrobe, bedside cabinets, small table and chair. It had a lovely outlook over the North Sea through a large picture window.
Unfortunately the double, room 18 was absolutely tiny, as can bee seem from the attached pictures. in fact i would go so far as to say that this room was originally part of the room next door, number 18 and had been subdivided at some point to form extra accommodation. This is all fine and well if you can still provide substantial accommodation and floorspace, this was neither! It was so small the room could only take one bedside cabinet with the bed being hard up against the wall. The wardrobe was located at the foot end, therefore if the person being on the wall side of the bed needed up during the evening, they either had to wake their partner, or crawl on hands and knees to the end of the bed to get to the bathroom.
This is patently not a double room, in fact it might just have been acceptable as a single, in fact, I very much doubt that the room could have taken anything other than the basic standard sized double. It would definitely not have taken a Queen or King size bed.
The room measures approx 10' wide at it's widest point and substantially less elsewhere within the room where furniture takes up floor space.
Similarly, the bathroom had been shoe horned into a corner of the room and was woefully inadequate again in terms of size. The roof tiles were damaged and mouldy, the toilet seat loose and no bath mats were provided to stand on when exiting the shower. We had to request spare toilet rolls as only one was provided in the bathroom, although these were readily and helpfully sourced by the maid. Perhaps it would be an idea to simply place 2-3 in the bathroom for customers use and to thereafter replenish as required, rather than having customers requesting them.
The hotel website states that rooms had been refurbished, however this was not evident in room 18. The fittings and furnishings were basic, i.e. cheap veneered MDF side units/table and appeared dated. The televisions were older models (no flat screens). I did note that the hotel is up for sale at present, and this might explain some of these problems.
We had to turn the heating off in the room it was so stifling and uncomfortable due to the size of the room, and the fact that there is only one tiny top window which opened. We left this open, but as a result of the plastic bunting strung up outside the hotel which rattled and groaned like an 90 year old asthmatic the minute a breath of wind hit it, meant we had to close the window in order to be able to sleep. Proprietor please note: remove the bunting, it serves no purpose, and given that it is torn, worn and faded it seems pointless leaving it up. The fact that the curtains didn't close properly and were hanging off the curtain rail probably didn't help either, given the floodlighting from outside during hours of darkness.
The hotel and all it's marketing products make a big thing of it's past award being the winner of "The Hotel of the Year" however this was won in 2005/6 season and using it now is well past it's 'sell-by date'. It could be construed as being misleading, although I am fairly certain that this is not the intention, and that it is simply seen as an award which was won and therefore used 'actively' - brochures, website, external face of the hotel etc.
The staff were all exceptionally friendly and helpful - pointing out local car parking facilities and recommending a restaurant when requested. There were no complaints in this area and they couldn't be faulted in any respect. Nor were there any overall concerns with regard to general cleanliness within the hotel environment.
As noted earlier, the hotel no longer provides any food service, but does have a small cocktail bar which is open for guests as and when required. Prices were fairly standard and not exceptional.
Please note there are no car parking facilities at this location, however staff did advise of local car parks nearby and on-street parking availability. For those considering the on-street option, please note that this is a busy pub/nightclub area and cars have been damaged in the past.
Keys are provided to the external door of the hotel allowing access after hours and conforming with good security provisions.
As for pricing structure - well I don't think you'll find cheaper for a centrally located Blackpool seafront hotel. £15 per person per night for adults and half price for children, no matter what else may be needing attention, is an absolute bargain for illumination period (October) in this resort.
So, on balance, was this good value - undoubtedly yes. Could some of the defects be rectified? absolutely and with little difficulty, would that increase my 3 star 'average' rating to a 4 star 'very good' - without a doubt. But please give consideration to my comments regarding room size (18) as a double room and consider rebranding this as a decent size single room instead.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Central seafront Blackpool. We are the most central location on the seafront, the closest to The Tower. We have three stars from Visit Britain. All rooms are en-suite with Tv, complimentary tea making facilities and free wi-fi. we have a lovely outside patio area and a licensed bar. ... more less