Holiday Inn Northampton West, Northampton
2 reviews from the community
Review of "Holiday Inn Northampton West, Northampton"
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>At the end of January, Holiday Inn Northampton West featured on a list of points break hotels released by the InterContinental Hotel Group, which could be booked for 5000 IHG rewards points per night on a room only basis. Lists are getting shorter and it is much harder now to find a hotel that fits our location requirements. But, as we have family in Bedfordshire and we were due to visit, we decided that a couple of nights here in April would work well. Reading up on hotel reviews, my husband thought that Holiday Inn Northampton West was being showcased after its recent refurbishment.
Address: Holiday Inn Northampton West
Telephone: 0871 942 9033Holiday Inn Northampton West is said on the internet to be located 100 minutes from M1, junction 16. Although I was sceptical at first (as ever) we found this was accurate timing from the northbound exit. It is located by the side of the A45, just before the small village of Flore.
The hotel is 6.8 miles west of Northampton, 38.5 miles north west of Luton, 69.1 miles west of Worcester and 34.9 miles south of Leicester.
(Please skip this section if you like, although I am aware that it is of interest to some.)The first Holiday Inn was opened in 1952 by Kemmons Wilson in Memphis, USA. The name came about as a joke by the architect, Eddie Bluestein, and was taken from the Christmas themed film “Holiday Inn” of 1942, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Wilson went into partnership with Wallace E. Johnson and the Holiday Inn brand expanded quickly. By June 1972, there were over 1,400 Holiday Inns worldwide.
In the 1980s market dominance was lost and Holiday Inn Inc. was renamed Holiday Corporation in 1985. This was bought in 1988 by the UK based Bass PLC (owners of the Bass beer brand). In 1998 Bass acquired the luxury hotel brand, InterContinental. The brewing assets and rights to the Bass name were sold in 2000 and a new name, Six Continents PLC was adopted. In 2003 Six Continents was split into two daughter companies. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) focussed on the hotels including Holiday Inn and Mitchells & Butlers handled restaurant assets.IHG owns the brand name ‘Holiday Inn’, which it licenses out to franchisees and third parties, who operate hotels under licensing agreements.
Holiday Inn Northampton West was originally Heyford Manor Hotel. A plaque in the car park marks the date, 4th September 1996, when it became a Courtyard by Marriott Hotel. It is now a Holiday Inn managed by Splendid Hospitality Group. In 2016 the hotel underwent a £2million refurbishment.
Travelling north west from M1 junction 16, along the A45, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the 100 second prediction on the internet was accurate, as the Holiday Inn flags appeared on the right hand side at the appointed time. Holiday Inn Northampton West was certainly easy to find and the branding was very evident.First impressions were favourable. The car park was well maintained and pleasantly landscaped with shrubs and hedges. There were plenty of spaces in front of the hotel and more if necessary to the rear.
The hotel was a low rise building, consisting of a ground floor and two small first floor sections, one of guest rooms and the other wing housing meeting rooms and the mini gym. The outside looked freshly painted, partly in whitewash with some fresh pine effect cladding. There was a useful covered drop off area, with a pitched roof, in front of the main entrance.Doors opened into an open plan, light, bright and colourful public area. As we entered, on the right, there was a glass fronted display cabinet, showcasing toiletries that could be bought from the hotel. The reception desk, not immediately visible from the main door, was further along beyond this.
Dark wood block shelving, displaying racing themed objects, linked to the nearby Silverstone race course acted as a partial screen for the comfortable seating area and bar beyond. Flooring in the entrance area was wood effect, but there was a carpeted area near the sofas. Near the bar there was a high bench area with bar stools. Beyond the bar, towards the back corner, there was a functional buffet area, with a white tiled wall. The back wall was brightly tiled in a mixture of greens. There was a boothed seating area with benches and tables, but also lower tables with sofas, divided up with more shelving. A football table was an interesting addition . The furniture was a mixture of bright colours. There was plenty of varied seating, including box type block seats opposite the reception desk. The ambience of the public area was fresh, new, bright and relaxed. A large mirror leaned against the shelves with a painted, hand written type note, drawing attention to the IHG rewards club.The reception desk was modern and functional. We were a little early, 1.30pm, for a 2.00pm check in, but it wasn’t a problem. A few minutes after us, wedding guests were also able to pick up their key cards early. My husband was thanked for his loyalty to the IHG Rewards scheme and he was offered welcome points (500) or a free drink. We generally take the points, as either one of us goes without a drink or we have to buy another and, after all, the points could get us 10% of the way to our next free night with points.
A door beyond reception, towards the back of the hotel led onto the corridors. The smell of fresh paint lingered and the carpets were all new. They weren’t the widest of hotel corridors, but they were wide enough. Mushroom and cream was the paint scheme, which was complemented by a striped mushroom and brown carpet.
In keeping with the modern feel of the Holiday Inn Northampton West, our key cards had moved on from the card slot to the touch opening door technology, along the lines of contactless credit cards. The mushroom coloured door opened into a bright and modern, tastefully refurbished room. The walls appeared to be papered and painted over in cream. The carpet was very similar to the one on the corridor, with the addition of some yellow to the train track striped pattern of brown and mushroom.As we entered, the wardrobe was on the left, set back into the wall with light pale wood effect doors. There was a safe on the top shelf, which I’m pleased to say, worked. You might wonder why I make a point of saying this, but I’m losing count of the number I’ve found which don’t work, mainly due to discharged batteries. There was a deep hanging space and a reasonable number of conventional hangers. In the past I’ve wasted a lot of time fiddling around trying to hook hotel coat hangers back together, often inside a darkened wardrobe, when the hook is permanently attached to the rail. There was a small shelved area, where a hair dryer had been put. There was no iron or ironing board, but I presume, if necessary, this could be obtained from reception, not that I tend to do much ironing on hotel stays I hasten to add!
Another mushroom painted door, on the wall opposite the wardrobe opened into the shower room (of which more later). As the entrance area opened out into the main room, there was a pale wood effect set of shelving on the left set back into the corner beyond the wardrobe with a splashback board on the wall behind it. The tea and coffee making facilities were on the top. These were generous with double the standard amount of everything (tea, coffee, decaff, sugar, sweeteners and milk), which is always guaranteed to make a good impression. It can be irritating having to request more milk etc from reception after we’ve had a drink on arrival, because we’ve run out.Beyond the shelves, there was a full length mirror on a mushroom coloured backing with two plug sockets near the bottom. One for the hair dryer and one for the hair straighteners maybe? A useful folding suitcase stand, which I get allocated (or grab first), fitted in nicely by the wall beyond the mirror.
It would be fair to say that the wall mounted flatscreen Samsung TV was not the biggest we have ever seen in a hotel room. I would describe it as being of moderate size and we found it adequate for our needs. It was set into a mushroom coloured box like surround. A cream slim shelf ran along from below the TV and continued below a large rectangular mirror. Below the shelf there was a mushroom coloured backdrop, which housed two plug sockets at desk level. The desk is best described as a free standing old fashioned school desk style table with a narrow shelf below it. I fully expected the top to lift up! But then again, this would have sent the slim angle poise lamp flying off the top. The set up was finished off with a light sage comfortable padded chair.There was a standard lamp in the corner with a circular oatmeal coloured shade on four brown wood effect legs. On the wall behind this there was a perspex leaflet rack and holder for the TV remote. The full length window had a third top opening. There was a cream box pelmet above, full length net curtains and thick pale gold colour curtains. It wasn’t the widest of windows, covering at most a third of the wall space and, combined with the net curtains didn’t let in a lot of natural light into the room. Although, as the cleaners seemed to do a circuit of the building collecting litter each morning and, as a workman was on a ladder outside our window on the last day, the net curtains were useful. The paint on the window sill appeared scratched and worn so I wasn’t sure if this had been overlooked during the refurbishment. Our room looked out onto an area of grass at the back of the hotel with trees at the border.
There was a dark brown sofa bed in the corner near the bed. A dark brown tree motif had been applied to the wall behind the bed, which added to the fresh modern feel of the room. The mushroom coloured board behind the bed had a lime, leather effect padded headboard inset in it. On each side of the bed there were lamps with circular white lampshades and reading lights attached. There was also a switch for the main light on either side and two plug sockets each, catering well for charging needs. The bedside tables were free standing, small, white and circular topped on three very pale wood effect legs. One of them had a phone, notepad and pen on it, which didn’t leave much room for anything else.The bed was a generous size and the dark brown base appeared to consist of two singles joined together. The mattress with a topper was very comfortable. There was a white sheet, duvet and 4 pillows and a pale gold patterned runner, which matched the colour scheme of the curtains.
The air conditioning was efficient, but a little noisy and, given the recent refurbishment, I expected it to be quieter. The control was on the wall at the side of the bed and the light was irritating at night, along with the bright time display on the TV and the intermittently flashing smoke alarm on the ceiling. Whilst thick curtains are effective at shutting out external light, there seem to be more irritating light sources in hotel rooms at night these days.That said, the lighting in the room was impressive, despite a relatively small window. I’m not sure what light bulbs were being used, but the lights inset in the ceiling over the full length mirror and near the wardrobe were very bright and these combined with the lamps in the room to good effect.
As ever, the wi-fi was useful and I’m pleased to say that it worked well.
I say 'shower room', because in line with many refurbished Holiday Inns the bath no longer featured in our room at Holiday Inn Northampton West, having been replaced by a more environmentally friendly shower.The shower room was brightly lit with two lights inset in the ceiling near the mirror and two more over the shower area. This combined with the black and white colour theme to show off how spotlessly the room was to good effect. The walls were mainly covered in large white rectangular tiles, with a vertical column of black marble effect tiles half way along the shower wall from base to ceiling. The floor was covered in large black sparkly floor tiles with a non-slip surface.
The shower tray ran along the right side of the room, with a partial glass partition. The powerful shower ran from a bar with pressure/temperature controls. There was a chrome grab rail on the wall and a handy rack in the corner for toiletries.A modern white toilet was set against the wall, adjacent to the shower and opposite the door. Pipework was hidden behind a tiled wall and a black marble effect shelf, running along the wall above, provided a useful space for a chrome tissue holder, plastic tray for toiletries (2 shower gels and 2 shampoos) and two glass tumblers.
A black marble effect work top led on from the shelf and surrounded an inset small rectangular white sink with modern chrome taps. A bar of soap very quickly created a mess on the work top, which a soap holder or the provision of a liquid soap dispenser would have avoided.
There was a large square mirror on the wall behind the sink and toilet. A very prominent extractor fan was located above the mirror. It was obviously working, as it was noisy and the room demisted quickly after a shower (there have been some hotel bathrooms where I’ve not been sure if the extractor fans are working or not). On the downside I could see that the extractor was gathering dirt and dust and was in need of a thorough clean. This contrasted with the high level of cleanliness in the rest of the room.There were two chrome towel rails behind the door, with two hand towels, two bath sheets and a floor mat. All the linen appeared reasonably new and of a good quality. The floor mat was useful to have for exiting the shower, but I’m pleased to report that, unlike some which flood the floor, most of the shower water remained within the enclosure.
Being of an age when the pounds (or should I say kilos?) can pile on for no apparent reason and mindful of the saying of an elderly friend “If you don’t use it, you lose it”, in recent years gym exercise has become more relevant to me. Whenever we’re in a hotel with gym facilities, I always try to make use of them. So it was on the first morning at Holiday Inn Northampton West that I went in search of the mini gym, having been advised at check in that it was on the first floor and that my room key would gain me access.
Walking along the corridors from our room I spotted a glass door with stairs behind leading up to the first floor. I was a little surprised that there was no sign for the gym, but decided to investigate anyway. All to no avail, as all I found up there were more guest rooms and no gym. As the upper corridor was fairly small compared to the lower floor I wondered if there was another section of first floor housing the elusive gym.Heading towards reception I spotted a sign for the mini gym, which I followed to another set of doors with stairs behind them. This time I found myself on another section of the upper floor on the other side of the building. The gym was up there as well as what appeared to be some meeting rooms. True to what we had been told at check in, the contactless key card worked and I entered the gym at last.
‘Mini’ was the keyword. Now I’ve been in quite a few hotel gyms in recent years, but in terms of equipment this one was the poorest. The size of the room was adequate, probably equivalent to two moderate sized guest rooms and I have been in some gyms which have been smaller at around one guest room in size, but better kitted out. Although one wall was covered in mirrors to give the illusion of better facilities, nothing could disguise the sparseness of the equipment.There was one treadmill (already occupied on my first visit at 8.20am on a Sunday morning), one rowing machine, a bench, a seat and a rack of weights. There was a TV on the wall, but no remote control to be found. The room was air conditioned and there were paper towels, but there was no water dispenser.
I shared the use of the treadmill and the rowing machine with the other user and we both agreed that the facilities were poor. I don’t recall any other gyms I have been in with no exercise bike or cross trainer. The equipment I have and other friends have in their homes is better than what we found here. We both agreed that there was plenty of space in the room and that it was a shame that this had been overlooked in the refurbishment.
We were pleased that we could check in half an hour early at Holiday Inn Northampton West, unpack and grab a drink before heading out to visit relatives. We also picked up a copy of the ‘I’ newspaper from reception. We didn’t make use of the hotel catering facilities during our stay, but noticed some guests eating meals there later on Saturday evening when we returned.We were offered to add breakfast onto our booking at check in, but declined, having taken our own with us. As we left on Sunday morning, the breakfast buffet looked to be very popular with other weekend guests. The website suggests a continental buffet is available for £8.95 and a cooked buffet at £13.95, but the higher price certainly wasn’t mentioned to us and often, if you know you would like it, it works out cheaper to book breakfast in with the room rate or pre-book at check in. A box of cereals, carton of long life milk with disposable spoons and bowls did the job for us in the privacy of our own room.
We never find the tea and milk provided lasts us through our stay, but staff on reception were happy to replenish our supplies on request.As the ’i’ newspaper is not published on Sunday and since ‘The Independent on Sunday’ ceased to print paper copies, Holiday Inn hotels no longer offer free newspapers on a Sunday. But we were grateful to pick up the Monday edition of the 'i' the following day. Not having a newspaper at home, this is something I appreciate with a hotel; stay.
Our room had been cleaned to a good standard when we returned on the second day. The only item overlooked was restocking the tissue box, but we were quickly supplied with another box upon request.Having eaten out at lunchtime, we opted to have a snack in our room, using items we had brought from home. Eating in though showed up a deficiency with our room. I felt we could have done with a coffee table to complement the sofa. If we had been desperate we could have moved one of the bedside tables, although they were a little on the small size. Still, I guess you can’t have everything, especially if it hasn’t cost anything!
We requested a late check out for the Monday, which prompted some negotiation. The first person we talked to was a little uncertain, as the hotel was expecting quite a few guests for Monday night, but grudgingly we were offered until 1.30pm. When we later confirmed this with another staff member, they were much more positive and didn’t see it being a problem at all. I guess it depends who you talk to.
Product Information : Holiday Inn Northampton West, Northampton
Manufacturer's product description
Rating: 3 Stars
Address: High Street, Flore, Northampton NN7 4LP
Listed on Ciao since: 03/05/2017