I stayed here for seven days on business earlier this month and have to say that on balance I really didn't enjoy myself. Many of the staff were exceptional, and certainly did their best to deal with some of the issues but the accumulation of them leaves me very reluctant to advise people to stay there.
First, the positives. Room on the face of it really nice, dual aspect, separate office section and modern decor. Staff bent over backwards to be helpful, and were able to solve most of the problems that arose quickly and professionally. The building itself was fresh and modern.
Now, the less pleasant bits:-
1. Location. Unless you know the area very well it's almost impossible to find the parking facilities for the hotel. The sat nav takes you to within 100 yards of it but the whole area is pedestrianised so you have to drive around the outskirts of the university campus where you eventually find the parking. A very helpful receptionist directed me by telephone but I arrived frustrated and bemused. A quick read of other reviews confirms this is a well-known issue...so what don't they sort it? It's also worth pointing out that it's too close to the city centre for a hassle free drive in and out and too far away from it to easily walk in.
2. Noise. The Saturday night of my stay was punctuated by horrendous noise from a nightclub across the street...the room was literally shaking and closing the windows (which barely open) made no difference. This started around 6pm with the testing of their sound system and then kicked off into deafening constant noise from around 10:00pm onwards. All chance of a relaxing evening was lost. To be fair the staff moved me to another room at the other side of the building for the evening and I suppose the noise is beyond their control, but it's outrageous that it was so loud at all and that nothing could be done about it. If you intend to stay at a weekend...well, be warned!
3. Smell. There was a horrendous smell coming from the bathroom. Admittedly this was sorted the next day but I don't understand how it could have been classed as clean by whoever supervises the housekeeping.
4. Temperature. There's no air conditioning and even in mid-May this meant that the room was too hot...too much waking up in the middle of the night to be fresh for meetings the next day.
5. The 'gym'. Basically it's access to the university sports centre (and I think it's also used by general members of the public). It was just too fiddly to use. You need a voucher from the hotel reception for every visit and have to take the towel from your room with you (and woe betide you if you don't because the signs and staff at the sports centre make it very clear you'll not be welcome without the towel being carried at all times). There is a raft of paperwork to complete and funny little ways of doing thinks that reminded me of the Brittas Empire (showing my age!). The pool shuts too early to be of any use at all after a day of work, and there are separate wet and dry changing areas so using the gym and the sauna involves all manner of cafuffle. I went once and didn't bother after that.
Other colleagues staying for the same meetings were delighted with city centre hotels. I wish I had done the same. Yes, there were good parts to the place, but unless they address the clear issues then I won't be back.
- 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