Luton – Holiday Inn

I’ve never stayed overnight in Luton before (and let’s say here, this must be on the bucket list of any wannabe traveller), but I had an early morning flight from the airport and I also needed to get an LFT test the afternoon before to be allowed into Poland, so this airport hotel seemed a sensible option. It’s not cheap, it was showing as £65 per night on IHG’s site, but I had another free rewards night (so many hotel offers at the moment), so this was all without a charge to me. There was also the option of the Holiday Inn Express down the road about 50 metres, but I wouldn’t have been able to have the free breakfast as I needed to leave early, and missing out on something would have annoyed me (although I think they might offer an earlier takeaway breakfast at the HIE, but I didn’t want to overthink things).

The standard Holiday Inn interior and the bloody windows that don’t open. There’s no excuse for this sort of short cut, the Holiday Inn Express has windows that open so if it’s good enough for them…. The temperature in the room was OK, but the air conditioning isn’t good enough to get my ideal temperature (which is similar to the chiller room in a fast food chain). Otherwise the facilities were all working and the room was clean and organised, although the television wasn’t one of the smart ones that seem to be so common in Accor properties now. There’s a gym somewhere in the hotel, but I forgot to use it.

I will give credit to the staff giving me the room furthest possible distance away from the lift on the top floor, which is my favourite room in a hotel (unless there’s a bigger one, or a room with free beer in it). I noted that the signs in the hotel to get to the room take guests a slightly longer way than possible, but then I realised that no-one really cares that another route saved three seconds. I need to get out more…. Oh, also, there’s a 24 hour bar at the hotel, which is no doubt useful for those wanting a drink after a late night flight (or indeed a pre-departure tipple).

The decoration in the restaurant and bar, with all the staff being friendly enough as well which lifted things somewhat. There are numerous complaints on-line about how guests have got big bills for using the car park, but I suspect a lot didn’t follow the rules which look quite clear. It’s no surprise these rules have to be enforced here, as it’s so near to the airport and they charge drop-off fees and don’t allow stopping.

A perfectly adequate welcome drink, it’s not going to be stocked in Goose Island, but it’s sufficient for a hotel bar. I will comment on, rather than complain excessively, that the hotel didn’t bother provided the promised snack (ie, crisps or nuts) listed on the drinks voucher. I have no idea why hotels try and make shortcuts with things like that for the sake of 20p given the huge costs they have with the rest of their operation.

There was a little internal noise from the air conditioning making odd noises, which I wouldn’t have noticed if I could have had a lovely window that was open. The obsession that Holiday Inn have with sterile rooms, fortunately a relatively rare occurrence when I stay in Accor properties (I’ve realised I’ve started to go on about Accor more, sorry).

The reviews for the hotel are adequate, although not as high as the neighbouring Holiday Inn Express and that’s odd, as I think Holiday Inn should be rated higher. I was amused at this review:

“An employee brought our beers to table that were 2/3rd’s beer 1/3rd foamy head. Again, just a training issue I would think. My dinner guest happily showed the employee how to pull a pint.”

I bet the employee wasn’t happy, but there we go…. One customer complained that the taxi fare cost £10 to take them to the airport, but that must be a one minute journey and I can’t imagine the driver wants to wait in the long queue for many trips like that.

I think I’d be more inclined to use the Holiday Inn Express if I live the dream and stay again in Luton as they appear to have windows that merrily open and close to the heart’s delight of the average guest, and there’s also a free breakfast.