on July 9, 2009
---Intro--- My friend and I spent a couple of nights at the Hilton hotel in Warwick 10 years ago. So, we decided to have a ‘reunion’ weekend away in Blackpool this time, at the Hilton - www.hilton.co.uk/blackpool ---Booking--- We booked online, £220 for two of us in a twin room for three night’s bed and breakfast with dinner on the first night. Not bad at all!---Getting there--- I got the train to Blackpool North which is within walking distance of the hotel or a 5 minute drive. The hotel itself is on the North Promenade - postcode is FY1 2JQ – the hotel is quite a distinctive looking building, so you shouldn’t miss it! ---Parking--- Car park is big enough (free to residents) – once we’d parked that was that – we’d be drinking so on foot for the rest of the trip! Coming from the carpark you enter on the lower ground floor. There is a smoking area outside the hotel by this entrance which is undercover. ---Check-in--- Check-in from 3pm. We had a card key each – but the key doesn’t activate the lights in the bedrooms which means that the hotel must waste a lot of electricity if people leave rooms with lights left on. ---The Room – Bedroom/En Suite--- The room was slightly on the small side, but adequate for our needs. Main features:* Two single beds & bedside table * Flat screen 32inch TV - movie channels and adult entertainment needed to be activated at a cost in reception* Tea/coffee making facilities & shortbread biscuits * Alarm clock, trouser press, hairdryer, desk, chair and plenty of wardrobe/drawer space* Mineral water with a price tag of £3.95. We bought our own soft drinks from outside the hotel, but I was happy to drink the tap water which tasted fine. * Most rooms have a sea view due to the clever design of the hotel – unfortunately the window needed cleaning and didn’t open very far, so I couldn’t get a nice picture out of the window. There was also a rather ominous looking stain on the window frame – otherwise the room was nice and clean. En suite: * Small and basic* Toilet, sink and bath with shower head. Shower ok, but people who are tall might have problems with it as it’s fixed on the wall.* Shampoo/Conditioner/Shower gel/Soap replenished each day. * Only one main towel each, whereas I really like to have a big one for my hair too.The big problem – one of our two real problems with the hotel, was the toilet door. On the last night I went to the toilet in the night I remember struggling a bit with the door when I came out, but didn’t think too much of it. However, when my friend came to open the toilet door in the morning he found that the door wouldn’t open. We tried pushing and banging quite hard, but no matter what, it wouldn’t budge. In the end we had to phone reception to send someone. A man came pretty quickly, stuck a screwdriver in the handle and it opened. I asked him if it happened a lot and he responded that it was normally kids "mucking around" – I felt reprimanded! I have never known being locked outside the toilet when the door only locks from the inside….but quite honestly I wouldn’t fancy being locked in the toilet either! So, my tip is MAKE SURE YOU TAKE A SCREWDRIVER! ---The Lifts--- There are only three lifts, but that one of them only goes down to the Ground Floor rather than the Lower Ground Floor. If you want to get to the leisure centre or the car park you want the Lower Ground. At busy times this could become an issue, but you can always take the stairs!---Dinner--- I’d advise to book with reception for a particular time. Waiters showed us to our table and took drinks orders (wine was £18 a bottle). Starter – Waiters offered us soup - tomato on the first night, and leek and potato the second – it was nice actually. There is also a buffet selection consisting of various cold pasta, couscous, potato salad, and meats. I find usually at these things that I end up with something on my plate which I really don’t like much, but I have to say that I ate every bit – a good sign!Main course – a chef dishes up (like in a canteen) – I chose Spanish Chicken dish the first night, and Shepherd’s Pie the second. The selection included roast meats, fish, and vegetarian options. I would imagine that most people would find something they liked. You help yourself to accompaniments – various potatoes, rice and vegetables. There is a children’s selection of food which I didn’t inspect too closely although I sneakily grabbed a few chips from over there! Desserts – nice selection, and obviously if you’re still hungry you can choose as many as you want as it’s self-service. I went for some sort of tart thing which was nice. There are also cheeses – you could have a dessert followed by cheese if you so desire.Not the world’s best food, but a good selection, the food was all nice, and I can’t really fault it at all! Now for the best thing – when we booked we thought we only got dinner included on the first night. However, it turns out it was also included for the Sunday night (not sure, but think it was included on the Saturday as well – we had booked to eat out then anyway). Make sure you check with reception when you get there what is included! ---Breakfast--- My favourite part of staying in a hotel is the full English breakfast – self-service – bacon, sausage, beans, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, mushrooms, hash browns, black pudding, and haggis. Yum! There’s also cereals, a healthy selection of fruits, and cold meats etc. There was a nice selection of pastries and muffins, and breads/bread to toast. A choice to suit everyone – there usually is at large chain hotels, and this doesn’t disappoint. In fact on neither day did we need anything to eat for lunch as we were stuffed.They bring out tea/coffee and juices just once unfortunately. Normally I like to just go and fill up my drinks myself. But I went and got some water when I’d finished my glass. ---The Bar--- The second problem with this hotel. Up to the bar to order drinks, and the barman replied "I need ID" – at first we didn’t really understand what he meant, whether he meant ID to show we were staying there. Anyway, there is no way that we could possibly be under 18 (I’m 28) but I showed my driving licence. My friend only had paper driving licence, which wasn’t acceptable, but luckily he had his passport in the room.It’s not the fact we were ID’d which was the problem, it was the rude manner in which it was done. But more importantly, if I hadn’t got a photo driving licence or passport then I wouldn’t have been served. Of course lots of people don’t have these documents, or do have them but wouldn’t think of bringing them to Blackpool!Drinks not too bad – pint about the £3.20 mark, bottle of wine starting from £15. ---Evening Entertainment--- On the Friday and Saturday nights there was live entertainment in the lounge, which was nice enough.---The Leisure Centre--- We visited the pool. You get towels from the pool reception area. Changing room was fine, nice showers and a nifty drying machine for swimming costumes. There are lockers (cost £1 which is refundable). The pool is only small (1.2 metres deep), but it was a nice relaxing dip. We spent 10 minutes in the steam room, but didn’t use the sauna. There’s also a gym, but we didn’t investigate that, it looked ok through the window.---Checkout--- Check-out time is 12pm which is good, as often it can be earlier. It was a quick process with no hidden charges or anything to pay! ---Other ---The Hilton is a 2.5 mile walk from the Pleasure Beach (highly recommended) – walk or take the tram. The tower is about a mile away. The beach at Blackpool is nice, and the part near the Hilton hotel is good. We bought a bucket and spade and made a few castles on the beach before it started to rain. I imagine it can get very busy in the summer. ---Final Remarks--- I think I’ve just about said it all - an excellent weekend, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Hilton Hotel as it’s certainly good value for money. However I recommend that you take a screwdriver, and photo ID if you’re under 35 or so.
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