London – Waltham Forest (Borough of) – Holiday Inn Express London Chingford North Circular
The hotel option for the last two days has been this Holiday Inn Express, around a fifteen minute walk from Highams Park Overground station and around a thirty minute from Walthamstow Central. And indeed, about a 15 second walk from the North Circular, but that was less relevant to me.
I didn’t have any particular problems here and the staff at the hotel were all friendly throughout my stay, with the check-in process being efficient enough. For reasons unknown, the atmosphere at reception felt more like a stressed budget American hotel, but the environment seemed safe and organised.
My IHG and Accor preferences both say that I prefer a room on the top floor away from the lift, and it’s unusual for me not to get that. Here, the staff gave me a room next to the lift on the first floor which wasn’t entirely ideal, but didn’t give me any particular noise issues. The room was clean and felt sufficiently modern, with housekeeping cleaning the room daily and fully restocking everything. There were no plugs by the bed, but there was a USB socket, so that was all sufficient.
There was the noise of traffic from the North Circular, but I like that random hum of city life, so it didn’t disturb me. The room had working air conditioning and also a window that opened, so ventilation was just as I liked it. There were also no real noise disturbances either internally or externally, although I don’t think that the hotel is that busy at the moment.
The carefully completed welcome drink voucher.
The beer choice was far from ideal, it was effectively this, pints of Stella or bottles of Corona. I’m not expecting craft beer heaven from a Holiday Inn Express, but this is weak even by the chain’s standards. I’m not sure why if a hotel has one draft line on for beer that it would choose Stella, that’s brave to say the least. And the hotel didn’t burden themselves with offering the free snack that was promised.
The breakfast arrangements were a little better than the usual Holiday Inn Express brand standard, and I’ve never seen tinned tomatoes available in this chain. I’m not going to claim that this is hugely decadent or exciting, but I thought it was a useful addition given that there are usually only ever four hot options (sausages, bacon, baked beans and scrambled egg). The area was clean and tidy, although they probably need to deal with their dishwasher which isn’t working as well as it perhaps could (and I’m assuming here they’re using a machine) judging by the state of some of the dishes.
Just down the road is Walthamstow Stadium, which I remember when it actually had a stadium behind the frontage. Other than this section it has all been demolished now, with housing behind the frontage.
The hotel is generally well reviewed on-line, although the average friendliness of the staff score is lower than usual, not that I experienced any issues along those lines. I did like the review on the IHG web-site which said simply and without any other comment:
“The lady at the front desk refused to sell me a kit kat at the front desk”.
I’d like to think that there’s an exciting back story there, but I suspect that it’s just because the hotel is card only and the guest was trying to pay with cash. Not that I have to worry as I don’t have a vehicle, but there appear to have been a fair few thefts which have taken place in the car park, which I can imagine is more than a little annoying for any tradespeople staying here.
Anyway, as a hotel I thought that it was all entirely reasonable, especially as the price came in at under £35 per night including breakfast. They’re playing just a bit fast and loose with the IHG Rewards Programme, but given the hotel was clean, the staff were friendly and the breakfast was as expected, it’d be hard for me to complain too much (or no more than normal anyway).