Hilton East Midlands Airport – Derby, United Kingdom

I stayed here last year for almost a month.  I didn’t bother to review it here because it was a bit sort of… dull.  The standard used-to-be-Stakis, UK regional Hilton, that is more than a bit tired.  However all that changed with a business stay recently.

I had flown down from Edinburgh to East Midlands early (there are two flights, 08:20 and 18:40) and taken a cab from the airport to the hotel (£8).  Yes – despite the hotel being called the Hilton East Midlands Airport and despite the fact they have a shuttle bus I had to get a cab.  The shuttle bus needs to be booked and unless you are on a stay which includes parking costs £8.  I know.  Don’t get me started.  It truly is an outrage.  Anyway, I digress.

I presented myself at the reception around 10:00 and smiled.  I was way too early for my room but I knew that the bar / lounge here gets so very busy (the M1 is less than five minutes away which makes the hotel a good choice for business meetings) and I was hoping that the hotel hadn’t been full the night before.

I was, of course, informed that my room wasn’t ready, however as I had asked very nicely, I was given another room to use until my room was ready for me.  I thought this was a really nice touch and off I went to catch up on some work.

The room I was given was old.  There was nothing wrong with it per-say – it just wasn’t a nice place to spend time in.  It looked dingy and grey.  It was also a twin room that I never see.  It did however have everything I needed including a desk to get some work done.

The hotel recently upgraded their Wi-Fi so I had a signal throughout the hotel including this room.  Wi-Fi is complimentary for Gold and Diamond HHonors members (frequent guest program) and expensive for everyone else (although they have just started offering it free in the lounge bar).

I did some work and my colleague arrived around lunchtime.  We met in the bar and had some lunch.  Lunch here wasn’t great; in fact it was actually disappointing.  I opted for a Chicken Tikka Panini (£7.95) and swapped the wedges for fries.  My colleague ordered a Steak Panini (£9.95) with fries.  Service was shocking! The member of staff who took our order (at the counter I might add) was grumpy.  Based on my previous visits here, she is often grumpy; smiles, manners and common courtesy don’t exist in the world that is hers.  Anyway, the food arrived after about 25 minutes.  The Panini’s were acceptable (but not worth the asking price), the fries tasted like feet.  When the member of staff cleared the plates (with all fries left) not a word was said.  Don’t eat in Café Cino if you can avoid it.

After lunch I went back to reception and thanked them for the use of the room and enquired if my room was ready.  As a Diamond Hhonors member I should get an upgrade to a Deluxe room.  My experience at this hotel to date has been that the Deluxe Rooms were identical to the standard rooms with some additional toiletries, a newspaper and a robe added.  I wasn’t expecting much however for the first time I was given a room on the 4th floor.

Wow!  These rooms here have clearly been upgraded.  The rooms here look good!  They are modern, fresh and much more inviting than the rooms on the other floors of the hotel.  These rooms have ‘Velux’ type windows that make for a spacious feeling. During the night of my stay the weather was bad with severe wind and rain, however the room stayed intact and I wasn’t woken by the noise.

Breakfast was your standard Hilton buffet affair however I would keep clear of the sausages if I were you.

Checkout was fast and due to being Diamond I was given complimentary parking which would have been handy if I had the car.

This hotel is pretty good for catching a flight from East Midlands however remember and factor in taxi costs to get to and from the airport.   They do offer really good park and fly deals which give you one night accommodation, breakfast and car parking for up to 21 days for an all inclusive rate.

Top tips – ask for a room on the 4th floor.

If you are staying for dinner in the hotel (there is nothing else without a good 15 minute drive) then make sure you ask for a dinner voucher at reception; it gives you three courses for £15 instead of the £25 you would pay in the restaurant.

Hilton East Midlands Airport, Junction 24, M1 Derby Road, Castle Donington, Derby, DE74 2YW.  Website

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