It’s 7.30am (well it’s not right now, but it was when I started to write this!) and I’m sat on my bed in the Premier Inn Milton Keynes Central discussing with LincsGeek about their “Good Night Guarantee”. We have not had a good sleep. Local residents or just some random blokes in a car or van (can’t tell) have been playing music very loudly since before 7am, and during the night at various points people walked past the hotel shouting at each other – including one group who were asked (shouted at) to shut up but instead got louder. I don’t think the guarantee can include interrupted sleep caused by people outside being unsociable; there is nothing Premier Inn can do about idiots. But LincsGeek quite rightly pointed out that no air conditioning or cooling meant we needed the window open to try and de-stuffy-fy our room.
In addition, I can’t get the wifi in the room unless I’m sat on the corner of the bed closest to the door, and the water pressure in the bathroom is rubbish – not quite only a trickle but really not good enough to rinse conditioner properly from my hair and it would take an age to run a bath.
This is a shame. We have stayed in so many Premier Inns over the last few years, especially in the last couple of months (seven in one week the whole length and breadth of the country for the Memorial Ride!), and have always been happily satisfied. The fact that there are 100’s of them all over the country helps – there’s always one close by when we’re wanting a value hotel for the night.
The thing I like best about Premier Inns, and the reason we will always choose them over Travel Lodge (shudders – I will never forget those ants!), is that the service and standards are consistent across the board. You know what you are going to get and you are not paying over the odds for it. The rooms are a good size and are clean and tidy, the bed has a decent and comfortable mattress, they have convenient parking, there’s always a restaurant next door; that sort of thing.
There are differences between the hotels across the country. They have different key types, varying shower strengths, different air conditioning systems (or none), windows that open or that are sealed shut. Sometimes you get one hand towel in a room, other times you get two. Sometimes the bed is a king size and sometimes it’s bigger. Sometimes you notice that the carpet is frayed and needs replacing. Sometimes there is a lift, other times it is only stairs. Sometimes they are right in a town or city centre giving good access to shops and places to wander, other places they are “out of town” or on a main road meaning you are pretty much confined to the hotel and attached restaurant. Oh and the attached restaurant varies in quality too! But generally, and overall, you get good standards and have a comfortable stay and a “good night”.
One thing I do find a bit funny is that the receptionist always says hello every single time you walk in as if they’ve not seen you yet. It’s nice – they’re friendly and jolly and all that, it’s just a bit odd. I guess we’re not used to that kind of American customer relations.
There are things that Premier Inns don’t do. They don’t do luxury bed linen or soft towels, free wifi (I don’t count the 30 mins you get free, that’s not free wifi, that’s a sales pitch), fridge or safe in the room, box of tissues, complementary sewing kit, proper milk for your morning cup of tea (those milk jiggers are always warm and just urgh!); that sort of thing. But if you want those things, if you’re having a holiday rather than simply needing an overnight stay while travelling, then you choose and pay for a hotel that does. What you get for the £29-129 (price varies massively depending on where you are) is convenience and cleanliness. And that it often all we require.
As we left the Premier Inn Milton Keynes Central on Sunday morning the receptionist was on the telephone, so we left our room keys and forgot about the loud music and shouting outside the hotel. I have no doubt that she would have been very polite about our complaint, should we have waited to make it, but as there was nothing she or a manager could have done (seeing as the lads got louder when asked to be quiet) we chose to walk away. Maybe we should have said something (please note this post is not designed with the intention of getting anything from Premier Inn; I’m just sharing!), but we were very British about it and left it alone. Our experience at the weekend hasn’t put us off Premier Inn (I’m certainly not going back to using Travel Lodge as the alternative!), but I wonder if we’ll choose a different hotel next time we want to stop in Milton Keynes.
Feel free to share your experiences, good and bad, in the comments below. Would you have waited to complain before you left? Or marched down to reception in the middle of the night…..?