A couple of weeks ago, we were kindly invited to spend the night at Travelodge's Manchester Central Arena hotel to try out their newly refurbished rooms.
It had been about 6 years since I had last visited Manchester so I was excited to go and have a night away - although it was my first night away from Tyne so I was also quite unsure and apprehensive! But my Mum looked after him and I doubt he even noticed I was gone!
We arrived at the hotel at around 4 pm, I was worried that we wouldn't be able to find it as I don't know my way around Manchester at all but we put the post code into the sat nav and it took us straight there - we didn't get lost once which is quite rare for us!
We were also concerned about parking as the hotel ddn't have its own car park - the website informed us that the nearest one was Boddingtons car park, which we googled and it appeared to be about a 10 minute walk away.
In actual fact it was RIGHT next door to the hotel - about 20 paces away! And it only cost £9 for overnight parking which I think was reasonable.
I had tried to call the hotel before setting off the confirm the booking but despite trying twice I couldn't get any easier - but luckily when we arrived, we were greeted on reception by a friendly man named Lee who confirmed our reservation and checked us in.
We asked him how close we were to the Arndale Centre and he was very helpful with giving us directions and tips on where to visit - he asked if we were going to see Rihanna who was apparently performing that evening at the arena, of course we weren't (I know its very uncool of me, but I'm not a Rihanna fan in the slightest and she'd be waaaaay down my list of people to see in concert!) but it did explain why SO many young people were checking in to the hotel - it was quite busy! But the reception staff were very efficient and kept everything running smoothly.
We went to our room to unpack and freshen up, and I was very impressed with it.
The look of the room was simple but stylish - much more trendy that I ever remember hotels like Travelodge being in the past - the bed was their new DreamerBed which are designed exclusively for Travelodge by Sleepeezee - I have to say, it was VERY comfy!!!
The room was very clean and tidy - it had some unusual little quirky additions such as a bottle opener on the desk, and all the usual things you would expect such as a nice flatscreen TV and tea & coffee making facilities.
The bathroom was also very impressive - everything was GLEAMING, I gave it a thorough check over and found no nasty stray hairs around the plugholes or fingerprints on the mirrors! I loved the super stylish look of the faux brick wall in the shower, too!
There was a menu in the room as the hotel has a restaurant which does food until 10pm, and you can order for delivery to your room. After 10pm there is a light snack menu available until 5 am.
After we'd unpacked, we headed downstairs - and noticed as we did so that each floor of the hotel is named after a local band! We were on the Stone Roses floor, other floors included New Order and Take That - I love quirky little touches like this in hotels!
We headed off to the Arndale Centre to do some shopping - I couldn't believe how close it was, literally a 5 minute walk and you were in the city centre - the Arndale centre, Selfridges, Harvey Nicholls, The Printworks etc were all right there!
We had a good shopping session and I splurged a little on some MAC studio fix powder foundation in Selfridges....
and we treated ourselves to Taco Bell at the Arndale centre as I've always wanted to try it but never have! (Nice to try it but wouldn't have it again! It was rather bland!)
After our shopping session we headed back to the hotel, on the way back we passed the arena and saw the crowds heading in to see Rihanna - the arena was literally footsteps away from the hotel so would be absolutely PERFECT as a stopover destination if you're heading in to Manchester for a concert!
We decided to have a drink in the stylish little hotel bar, and we had a chat with the barman about possible places to eat in the area - he was very helpful and gave us a map which he drew directions on for us to guide us to some Indian restaurants he recommended.
Later that night we had our Indian, and headed to bed - we watched a couple of films in bed and the TV was in perfect working order, none of the crackling screen you might expect in a budget hotel!
We heard a few concert-goers coming in around 2 ish but overall the hotel was nice & quiet. We had a LOVELY nights sleep on the Dreamerbed, and in the morning we headed down for breakfast, which is served until 10 am so we were able to have a nice lie in!
The breakfast is done buffet style so you can help yourself to whatever you like - the choices included traditional English breakfast, contintental pastries and muffins, toast and spreads, coffee and tea, juices and cereals. Everything was of very high quality!
After our lovely breakfast, we headed back to our room and decided to grab another hours kip on that super comfy bed! Checkout wasn't until noon so we had plenty of time!
Once we had checked out, we headed to the Trafford Centre for a look around....I had never been before and was so impressed at how pretty it was!
I LOVED the water fountain which shoots water right up to the height of the high dome ceiling!
We tried some free Starbucks frappucinos - perfect on such a hot day! - and had a bit of lunch before heading home.
I had a lovely time but I couldn't wait to get back home to Tyney Tot!
We had bought him a gift from the Trafford Centre - a Build A Bear teddy that we stuffed ourselves!
Despite the fact that I cried 3 times because I missed Tyne, I did very much enjoy my trip to Manchester and my stay at the Travelodge Central Manchester Arena hotel.
If you are planning a trip anytime soon, I would highly recommend Travelodge hotels!
You can view their website HERE - prices start at £57 for a double room at the Central Manchester hotel and they are currently running a summer saver offer with rooms available nationwide at selected hotels from just £25!
Have you been to Manchester? What are your favourite things to do there? As always, I'd love to hear from you!