Last weekend I headed off on a road trip to Blackpool. I had a 9am appointment to keep on Saturday morning (more on that another day), and with the other side of the country being a three hour drive away, I was very pleased when I was offered somewhere to stay so I didn’t have to make the journey early in the morning. Life might be all about the journey, but let’s face it, it doesn’t have to start that early in the morning!
As someone who loves a UK based road trip – there is so much to see and do in our little country – I am no stranger to a Premier Inn. I’ve easily had 50 nights sleep (probably more) in the value chain all over the place in the last few years, and know exactly what to expect from them. I use them for work and leisure because a) they always seem to have one where I want to be and b) I know what I’m going to get. Premier Inn put me up in their Blackpool Beach hotel (listed as “Blackpool Central” on Google Maps, I suspect the name has changed recently to make it more popular to tourists), which was super kind of them.
Premier Inn Blackpool Beach. My room is top right, the one with the light on and window open.
Premier Inn Blackpool Beach
First impressions of this Premier Inn was that it was one of the older hotels in the group. The two-storey dark red brick wasn’t in the new Premier Inn style, but as always it’s what is on the insude that counts. On arrival I was greeted in the usual happy manner. I’ve noticed recently that some Premier Inns have moved a pretty impersonal check-in system where you just use a machine (I remember checking in to one of them in Bristol – I didn’t see a member of staff for my whole stay!). Thankfully there were two great people on reception here, one of whom gave me a lovely welcome and all the information I could need to make the most of my stay. I headed up to my room on the first floor (no lift, but one floor and only an overnight bag so no problem), took a few photos of my clean and tidy room for this very post, dumped my stuff on the floor and spare bed (it had been set up as a family room with the single bed made up in addition to the double), and headed back down to reception to get directions to the seafront. I was in Blackpool after all, I wanted to see the sea!
Every Premier Inn Corridor looks the same. You know what you’re getting!
Blackpool Beach didn’t have a sea view from the hotel, but rather is on the main road into Blackpool from the motorway and so very easy to get to and find. It took me less than 10 minutes to walk to the promenade, which included getting across a huge car park that I assume caters for Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and heading down a street of hotels (there are so many hotels and guest houses in Blackpool). I walked in a straight line from the hotel and ended up by South Pier, so right by the Pleasure Beach and one of the massive casinos that have probably become one of the reasons the area is famous for stag and hen dos. Las Vegas of the North? Ha! I spent a really lovely (but cold) couple of hours wandering along the beach towards the Tower, stopped for a pizza, and walked back. To be honest the area between the hotel and the sea didn’t seem that nice, and when I walked that bit in reverse after dark (only about 7.30pm but it is winter), I admit I picked up the pace. The hotel itself, and pub next door, seemed fine though – I have never had any problems staying alone in a Premier Inn.
The way I see it there a number of very important key benefits of using Premier Inn. The first is location – I think you can pretty much always find a Premier Inn close to where you want to be, with parking (normally free, but not always, it’s made clear on the website) and a pub restaurant either in the same building or next door. In this case there was a pay and display car park at the hotel, for which I received (free) parking permit when I checked in to allow me to park there. I actually left my car in the hotel car park the following day and walked up to the Sea Life Centre to save me sitting in the tourist traffic and paying for parking. Pub restaurants vary – here there was a Brewer’s Fayre, they are the guys who have a different buffet style meal on each evening and a normal pub menu. The breakfast was served in there, so I’ll come back to that later.
The second reason is value for money. You generally pay a reasonable price for your room, which includes a good standard of accommodation with the added bonus of a good night guarantee so if things don’t give you the shut eye you need you can get your money back. I had a quick look, and to stay there this coming Friday you’d pay £67 for a family room based on the saver rate. For that you get a clean room, decent bathroom, toiletries (basic ones stuck to the wall so no stealing) and towels, tea and coffee making facilities (anyone else seen that Bill Bailey show?!), a television with a range of channels, a sofa (which is also the single bed when you book a family room), a desk and chair, a hair dryer, a bottle opener (stuck to the all ) and a comfy bed with a choice of pillows and nice white linen. For staying the night in Blackpool before my Sea Life Centre adventure the following day, this was ideal. I know I was gifted the room, but if I hadn’t I would probably have stayed here anyway – or another one close by (there are a few to choose from). I think the fact you know exactly what you are going to get means a Premier Inn is normally a pretty safe bet.
I admit there are niggles – this is a hotel chain that offers fairly low cost accommodation after all, you’re not paying for five star luxury and I’m not comparing this in that way – I’m not expecting a dressing gown and slippers, Molton Brown smellies, free water and a mini bar. But some things that could easily be rectified include the lack of plug socket next to the bed (a huge pet peeve of mine), no clock in the room, the small television with no a wake up function, sleep timer or built in TV guide (there was a button on the remote but it didn’t do anything). There was also no air conditioning or fan in the room, although here at Blackpool Beach at least the window still opens, albeit a small distance “for my safety” – thankfully it was a cold night so no problem with airflow in room 76.
There is hand soap next to the sink and hair/body wash over the bath. The water in the bathroom is hot, the shower is decent, the bath is deep. Just what you need on an overnight stay.
You already know that these little things aren’t unique to Premier Inn. I find so many hotels – both other value chains as well as more upmarket places, fall short on these things. Especially in the UK. We’re not very good at standard service here are we? But out of all the chains I’ve tried, I keep coming back to Premier Inn because they seem to get most things right for my road trip needs.
If you’ve never seen inside a Premier Inn room there’s a bit of a room tour towards the end of my weekly vlog (episode 12) >
Most Important Meal of the Day
Anyway, back to Blackpool. After returning from my walk and grabbing a few nice instagram photos as the sun set over the water (isn’t the ocean wonderful?!), I enjoyed a very relaxing evening including a nice bath and sitting with my feet up watching random stuff on the telly box and drafting blog posts. The free wifi is no good for watching iPlayer or YouTube but it’s great for social media, emails and getting a bit of work done. I had a decent sleep and woke up to my alarm reminding me it was breakfast time… serving food between 7am and 10am at the weekend, I got myself sorted and headed outside and into the pub next door – the Brewer’s Fayer Yeadon Way.
Don’t tell me I’m the only one who packs cosy slipper socks in their overnight bag?!
I was greeted by a lovely waitress and directed around the various breakfast options so I knew where everything was before being shown to my table and asked if I wanted to order any eggs. Yes, an omelette, of course – always. While that was being cooked I helped myself to fruit salad, some cranberry juice, a fruit smoothie and a couple of cups of tea. My eggs didn’t take long – I had my favourite hot breakfast with a couple of hash browns and some baked beans. Well I needed the energy!! It was all good – the fruit was fresh, the juice cold, the tea Twinings, the cooked food hot, and the atmosphere relaxed. I could have had lots more if I’d had the appetite – bread and pastries, cereal with various milks, and lots more choice on the cooked buffet – sausages, bacon, mushrooms and some other stuff I can’t remember, I didn’t need it on my plate. I enjoyed it, it set me up right for the day. Again, you know what you’re getting, the breakfast options are the same whichever Premier Inn you are in.
Omelette cooked to order, hash browns and beans from the hot buffet.
And that was it. I left the hotel and headed off along the seafront for the reason I’d headed to Blackpool in the first place. I am sorry, I seem to have turned this few short hours in a chain hotel into a mammoth article so apologies for that but I hope you found it interesting. I guess the key thing with any hotel is considering whether you’d go back and stay there again. Premier Inn Blackpool Beach might be a bit tired on the outside and not one of the most modern in the group on the inside either, but it’s well located, gave me a happy welcome, and provided a decent night’s sleep. So yes, why not, if ever I go back to Blackpool on another road trip, I would most likely plump for this very hotel.
Thanks to Premier Inn for putting me up in their Blackpool Beach hotel. While I was given the night stay (and breakfast) for free in return for an article here on Splodz Blogz, opinions are of course my own and I am always honest. I’d probably have stayed there anyway.