Published on Thursday, July 20, 2017

A right royal weekend

Bev Fearis chose a budget hotel for a family weekend break in Royal Windsor, but still slept like a Queen.

Location: Unless you had managed to wangle an invitation from Her Majesty to stay at 'one's castle', this is probably one of the best addresses in Windsor. True to its name, the Travelodge Windsor Central really is in the centre of town, tucked into the corner of the elegant King Edward Court shopping arcade, steps away from Windsor and Eton Central Station, some of Windsor's poshest shops and, of course, Windsor Castle.

First impressions: This hotel is actually 10 years old but looks and feels newer. The lobby is bright and cheery with a long counter running along one side which serves as a reception desk at one end and a bar at the other. The lobby then opens up into an equally bright and cheery breakfast room, with a bright red carpet and funky white chairs and floor to ceiling windows all around. After a slight delay in finding my booking (there was a typo in my surname), I was handed two key cards and directed to door opposite which leads to the lifts. It was about 7pm on the Saturday of Royal Ascot week and the lobby was buzzing with men in suits and glamorous women in heels and extravagant hats, looking like they'd had a few too many celebratory glasses of bubbles!

Bedrooms: Our family room had a king size bed and two camp beds pushed together, but to be honest we probably could have all fitted in the huge bed. The bed, designed by Sleepeezee, lives up to the hype and is super, super comfortable. It was a very hot weekend and the window could only be opened a few inches for safety reasons. It turned out there was a fan in the cupboard, but annoyingly I didn't notice it until the morning. In the morning, I also found a helpful notice with advice about how to keep the room cool, such as keeping the curtains closed, turning the lights off and removing the duvet (which the hotel staff had already done). One thing that budget hotels do very well is storage, and this hotel is no exception, with a full length wardrobe and deep shelving unit, and bedside tables for books and valuables. The room was bright and clean and we even had views of the castle turrets.

Facilities: This is a no-frills hotel but what it does, it does well. The breakfast room is light, welcoming and informal. The wi-fi worked well (free for 30 mins per 24-hour period or £3 for 24 hour access). All rooms have a kettle so you can make yourself a cuppa, which is not true of many more expensive hotels. The hotel is above the car park for the King Edward Court shopping centre where hotel guests can get an £8 discount on the £20 24-hour charge.

Wining and dining: There are two good value breakfast options: an unlimited 'lighter' breakfast of fruit salad, organic yoghurts, all butter croissants, toast (DIY), Quaker Oat granola, a selection of Kellogg's cereals, Lavazza coffee, Typhoo tea, herbal teas and chilled fruit juice (£5.95), or you can splash out on the unlimited full breakfast with all of the above, plus bacon, Cumberland sausages (or Linda McCartney's veggie ones), free range scrambled eggs, McCain hash browns, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes and Heinz baked beans (£8.25). There's also a room service menu with all the favourites - cod and chips, sausage and mash, chicken tikka masala and more - all for around £8, plus lighter bites of baked potatoes and salads. But, I would imagine that most guests venture into town to one of Windsor's many restaurants.

Highs: The top location and the comfy bed.

Lows: One of the highlights of a hotel stay for my 7-year-old is the joy of having a TV at the end of his bed, but sadly the TV remote was nowhere to be seen. In the morning we popped out and told the reception staff, who apologised and said they'd sort it. When we came back an hour or so later, to shower and pack to leave, it still wasn't there. One other small complaint - there was no soap in the dispenser in the bathroom.

Verdict: You know what you're getting with a Travelodge, but this one is a cut above due to its central location. 

Lead-in rate is £29.


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