Bolton is situated just 55-minute drive from our home town of Wakefield. However, those who regularly drive along the dreaded M62 will tell you that a time quoted is never a time served on this stretch of motorway. Which is exactly why we took to staying in a hotel for two nights on our two-day client meeting nearby.
I’ve fond memories of staying in Premier Inn hotels back when I used to work a corporate job. I wasn’t high enough up the ranks to warrant a stay in a more premium hotel such as The Hilton, but with the mid-range Premier Inn, I knew exactly what I was getting every single time. Sort of like getting a coffee from a Starbucks. For someone on the road a lot, there was something comforting and reassuring in knowing that the bed would be just as comfortable as it was the last time and that the breakfast would most definitely set you up for the rest of the day.
My days in the corporate world are long gone but it seems as though the Premier Inn brand has remained much the same. Although, maybe that’s not as great as you might think…
In terms of the location of the Premier Inn in Bolton, you really can’t get any better than this. Across the road, in one direction you’ll find the Macron Stadium, home to Bolton football club who currently play in the 1st English Football League and the FA Cup. Just across the road 90 degrees in the other direction, you have the USN Bolton Arena.
The USN Bolton Arena is home to tennis courts, offices, a gym as well as a large event space. Making it a popular venue for events including The National Wedding Show (which was on just a week after we left). Then just 100m further away you have the Middlebrook Leisure & Retail estate. Home to a number of large shops including Argos, Asda, Next and DFS as well as a range of restaurants including Nandos, Bella Italia and Ask Italian. The retail estate also plays host to a large Vue Cinema and Hollywood Bowl.
To cut a long story short, if you want to be in the centre of all the action in Bolton – or just off the M61 motorway then this location is as close to perfect as you can get.
Anytime in which there isn’t an event on at either the stadium or the arena is no doubt a quiet time for the Premier Inn Bolton. So the staff can be somewhat forgiven for being relatively relaxed during our check-in process.
Nothing was particularly wrong or out of place – although they did spell Helen’s last name wrong on the invoice though (we’re married now so we thankfully don’t have that problem anymore) The staff were friendly, quick and courteous, it just wasn’t fresh eyed and bushy tailed like you might experience elsewhere.
I mentioned in my introduction about how I loved the feeling of coming home to a Premier Inn hotel during my time as a corporate employee. It’s almost 10 years since I followed that line of work, and it seems like very little has been done to improve the quality of the interior of this hotel during that time.
We were allocated room 210, this room is situated on the second and top floor of the hotel next to the lift. The walls of the room are particularly thin which meant we heard a lot of traffic going to and from the lift as well as coming up and down the stairs.
The room was spacious and featured the signature Premier Inn bed. It was exactly as comfortable as I remember with two spare pillows in the wardrobe should they be required. Inside the room there is heating but no air conditioning, we found that during our two night stay the temperature regularly fluctuated so access to air conditioning would have been a great addition to the facilities of the room.
Speaking of facilities, there was a small kettle with two cups for tea as well as two glasses for water but no fridge inside the room. If you did want a soft drink or any snacks you’d need to visit the overpriced vending machines on the ground floor by reception or venture out to the nearby retail estate.
Moving onto the bathroom. As I’m sure you can see it is in our opinion ready for a refit. It’s not that it’s dirty, just tired, old and outdated. When you compare this to the Hub by Premier Inn we stayed at in London, you’d assume that they were two completely different brands as the standard is completely different.
There are two levels of WIFI in the Premier Inn Bolton hotel, the first is the basic standard WIFI which is complimentary for all guests in the hotel. As you can see the speeds are limiting – to say the least.
For an additional £5 per 24 hours, the WIFI connection can be upgraded to a ‘premium’ service. This wasn’t something we required as we weren’t spending much time working inside the hotel. However, if this is a business trip this may be something you’d like to consider.
Breakfast is the only meal served on-site at the hotel. It’s available during booking the hotel and during check-in. We chose against breakfast on this occasion. This was based on two factors; the reason for our trip and the fact breakfast would be taken care of at the venue as well as the fact a ‘budget’ breakfast would be available from any of the fast-food chains and restaurants on the nearby retail park.
During our visit, the breakfast menu is as follows based on the information provided on the Premier Inn website.
Parking at the hotel is complimentary. The car park is large and designed to accommodate visitors to the adjoining two restaurants. We did notice a sign in regards to the car park displaying charges but clarified this with staff on the reception during check-in who once again assured us the parking was complimentary.
There’s no doubt about it. The location of the Premier Inn Bolton Stadium / Arena is the main selling point of this hotel. However, minor adjustments and a quick refresh of the interior could no doubt make a stay here much more pleasant. That said, for the price we paid (£94 for two nights) we’d choose to stay here again should we be required to work in the same location as we did during this visit.