Stayed here for a weekend seminar and found it superior to other universities' attempts at attracting conference business (the few I have experienced anyway). For a start, it seems this centre was purpose-built.
Like other reviewers, I had some difficulty finding my way in despite their highly detailed location map. Instructions are hard to follow when driving alone through city traffic and, paradoxically, the finer the detail the tougher is it to read. Better street signage is the answer; a big sign saying "Aston Conference Centre" pointing down the lane to the car park. I could cope with that.
Reception staff were very pleasant and helpful; they wouldn't be out of place at a top hotel. Indeed everyone we encountered, from the porters to the waitresses at breakfast and dinner were unfailingly polite and friendly.
My room was more than adequate with a lovely big single bed, half way to a double, and all the usual provisions including a clean and modern shower. Couldn't help having a chuckle at the block of soap labelled "body cleansing bar". Is there no end to these euphemisms?
Wi-fi in the room was superb, connecting immediately to internet with the given password and running at a speed of almost 30Mb/s (yes, I measured it, more out of surprise than geekiness).
Friday and Saturday evening meals were well up to restaurant standard, far removed from uni canteen fare. Breakfast was the help-yourself full works (love it!), with eggs cooked to order if you didn't want the scrambled offering.
Conference facilities were well up to scratch, with a variety of room sizes available and fully functioning AV equipment in the main rooms.
Only real gripe was a shortage of lifts to the upper floors. It seemed there was only one, next to reception, involving a luggage-laden trek around three sides of a large square to find the bedroom. There were stairs that side but you do wonder how a less fit guest might cope. It's possible the access arrangement were compromised by building works going on in the piazza at the centre of the hotel block; certainly it would be worth checking if you have mobility issues.
The construction works also meant we had to eat in a separate building a few minutes' walk from the conference centre but it was no hardship. There are several other eateries on and around the campus including the intriguingly named Sacks of Potatoes pub.
If you're seeking a venue for a conference or seminar in central England, the Aston Business School is definitely one for the short list.
PS: Just found that Google Maps satellite view shows the university in incredibly high resolution, which may help the process of finding your way in advance.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A stylish city centre hotel, based on the Aston University campus in Birmingham. Located within the Aston Business School building, the hotel offers 163 four star standard bedrooms, a mix of single, double, twin rooms and suites, all ensuite with free WiFi, LED televisions and all of the comforts you would need when you're away from home. The hotel is perfectly situated for Birmingham and Midland attractions with the city centre within walking distance and other Midland regions close by. The hotel is approximately 20 minutes' walk from New Street, Moor Street and Snow Hill train stations, 9 miles from Birmingham Airport and less than a mile from Junction 6 of the M6. Pay and display parking is available onsite. As part of Birmingham's largest residential conference centre, the hotel is ideal for business travellers. Hotel guests also have free use of the adjacent Woodcock Sports Centre, housing Birmingham's oldest swimming pool within a stunningly restored Victorian sports centre. An extensive gymnasium, squash courts and fitness studios are also available. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aston Business School Conference Centre Hotel Birmingham
- Aston Birmingham
- Birmingham Aston