London – Redbridge (Borough of) – Holiday Inn Express Newbury Park

A short walk from the Central Line underground station of Newbury Park is this relatively new and shiny Holiday Inn Express hotel. On approaching, I thought that the reception was a bit hidden away (I like things to be very clear, I don’t like being expected to use my initiative as I can get muddled up) and there’s no way of accessing it at the moment without using a lift, which doesn’t seem ideal. After waiting for a while for the required lift to take me to reception, whilst quietly tutting at this set-up, the staff member was welcoming and so my initial pre-annoyance at the hotel dissipated soon enough.

I very much like the clarity here with the welcome drink, and I know my place in the lower levels of the IHG rewards programme. I can look forwards to a free packet of crisps when I move up a level.

The restaurant and bar area, which wasn’t exactly overly busy, but it’s a comfortable environment. There are numerous other dining options in the local area, which must make it challenging for the hotel to sell much food, but it was all reassuringly clean. Although perhaps a little sterile, but I suppose there’s a limit to what you can do on the first floor of a hotel in Newbury Park during a pandemic.

The bar didn’t have any products available on draft, but the staff member said that guests could have any bottle of beer as their welcome drink. London Pride is an appropriate beer given, well, the hotel is in London and I was satisfied that an effort had been made to offer a range of beers that went beyond just having Carlsberg. The glass isn’t dirty, it had been chilled in the fridge.

The view from the front of the hotel when I got to my room on the seventh, and top, floor. I was at this stage quite hopeful that my room would also have a view of something interesting and not just some shed or the like.

All very standard as a Holiday Inn Express hotel room, but it was clean and comfortable, so all was well in the world (or in my world anyway). There are the usual tea and coffee making facilities, with all the room information material taken out.

Until seeing the view from the area near the lifts, I hadn’t given much thought to the views from the windows of a hotel in Newbury Park, but it surprised and delighted me with the vista of central London in the background. Nice.

The breakfast arrangement was a bit fiddly as although everything was laid out as it would be usually, a staff member served it from a little counter. Other Holiday Inn Express hotels don’t seem to be faffing about like this, although the staff member was keen to help. The food was all fine and I liked that the bacon was nicely crispy and that there wasn’t too much fat for me to laboriously cut off. Which was fortunate as guests were given wooden disposable cutlery.

Of no real relevance at all, but I puzzled for a good few seconds why they decided to put the assembly point map the other way up to the floor plan. I decided not to let it bother me though as I had other concerns, such as what pub would I be popping to next……

The reviews for the hotel are generally very favourable and I can see why, there was nothing problematic about my stay. I note they did get a negative review on TripAdvisor from someone complaining the hotel wanted £127 for one night for a late booking, compared to them only wanting £55 if he had booked much earlier. A guest who didn’t stay and complained that prices get higher towards the night of the stay, and then TripAdvisor wonder why their site seems to be dipping in credibility…. There’s a justified negative review though from a guest who complained that the hotel refused to deal with a room that was playing music very loudly. Pretty appalling, and I can see why the hotel apologised and offered compensation in their reply…..

Anyway, I’ve digressed again. All told, I very much liked this hotel. I’m not sure what it cost per night as it was free as a rewards night by using 12,000 points. Given its convenience for the underground, its cleanliness and the general efficiency, I think I could manage coming here again in the future.