Not so frequently that I could class them as a second home.
Through the winter I may stay at one at least once a month, maybe more.
Over the festive period I’ve been known to book whole weeks at a time, whilst visiting family and friends.
My budget hotel of choice is Travelodge.
Many of these Travelodges are poky and run down but some are quite new, modern and comfortable.
The great thing about this chain of Hotels is that they often run promotions where rooms that are booked months in advance.
For example, this Christmas just gone I stayed in Hellingly, East Sussex for a mere £12 a night. The room was comfortable and it proved a good base for visiting family in the area. (I wrote my Windows RT post in the Hellingly Travelodge).
I tend to stay for one or two nights as a rule – Friday and Saturday. The frequency and duration of visits is largely dictated by the reason for staying. Quite often we’ll stay at a Travelodge whilst attending a LARP event; rather than camping in the winter weather.
Sometimes (but not always) I receive an email from Travelodge after the visit, asking me to rate my experience. Before this year – over the last few years – I’ve completed one or two.
This year I’ve been asked after each stay and unfortunately I’ve felt the need to actually voice complaint.
In February I stayed at the Wolverhampton Travelodge whilst visiting friends for the weekend. My experience was atrocious.
Here’s what I had to say to them then.
This has got to be the single worst Travelodge I have ever had the displeasure to sleep in. Neither my partner or I were able to sleep either night through a combination of the constant noise of traffic and drunken denizens of Wolverhampton and worry for the car. The staff were also disinterested – not exactly unhelpful but certainly not helpful.Don’t get me wrong, the staff were pleasant and polite enough, just unhelpful.Let me share some of our experience with you.After spotting the Travelodge on Wolverhampton ring road, we spent the next 30 minutes trying to find access to the Travelodge by car – the online information was next to useless and Sat Nav only takes you to the front door (which is not accessible by car).On arrival we were harassed by a disgruntled patron who was unable to find himself a parking space in the meagre Travelodge carpark. Finding ourself in the same position, the only positive thing i have to say about the small carpark is that we didn’t have to pay the extortionate parking fees it would have charged.We back-tracked and found a space to park opposite Wolverhampton baths. I was somewhat vexed by the sparkling array of safety glass fragments strewn across the pavement from previous attempts by the locals to break into cars parked there.What choice did we have though? The other parking on Wolverhampton was closed. If we had known the parking was this poor we would have paid extra for a Premier Inn.Once we had cleared the valuable looking objects from view, we reached the Travelodge itself. Eventually we convinced the bored voice over the tannoy that we had a room booked and were let in.We mentioned the lack of parking to the lady on reception. She asked where we had parked.Our response illicited a look of horror and the response:“You haven’t got any valuables on view have you?”.No advice on where we should park, just a look of horror at the prospect of our future car-violation.The room was an oven when we entered. Other than the heat though, it was what we would expect from an older Travelodge. I went to close the window to shut out the traffic noise but it was already closed. We turned down the heat but the damage was done for night one, a combination of heat, noise and worry about the car kept my partner and I awake until it came time for us to leave for our Saturday with friends.Saturday night we had to park in the same place, a space down from the collection of broken glass. The room wasn’t as hot but the noise was the same - another night without sleep.When we checked out I would have liked to say something to someone but there was nobody on reception – so I dropped my key cards into the allocated slot and went home. The car was fine by the way but that didn’t stop us worrying.