Park Inn – York, United Kingdom

Angry Cartoon TVHaving decided I needed a couple of nights away on my lonesome, I used the Avios website to book a two-night stay at the Radisson Park Inn in the beautiful city of York.  The philosophy of this hotel chain is to provide guests with a ‘vibrant and lively’ atmosphere, offering a fun environment and a friendly, welcoming service. The hotels are mid-priced, aimed at business travellers and holidaymakers.

The hotel is ideally situated on the River Ouse, near the city centre.  All the major attractions are within walking distance, and the railway station is five minutes’ walk away.  I started to feel slightly anxious when I saw a group of frankly manly women sitting on the front steps of the hotel smoking and adjusting their underwear.  I politely side-stepped these ladies, avoiding eye-contact, and entered the reception area. It was dark and cheerless, not at all like the bright and happy pictures on the website.  Two receptionists were having a whispered discussion at the end of the reception desk.  While they pretended I was invisible, I quickly twigged that there was a mix-up with a booking for the group of elderly ladies sitting in a corner behind me.  It was five minutes before one of the receptionists said she would be with me in a minute. (No apology for keeping me waiting.)  Eventually, she checked me in, while on the phone to someone else.  My key card was almost thrown at me.  No eye contact, no helpful information, no smile.  Nada.  Where was the ‘friendly and welcoming hospitality’ raved about on their website?

After standing in the lift for several minutes before I realised I had to put my key card into a slot to make the lift move, I made it to the seventh floor and found my room.  Alex Polizzi-style, I got out my fine-toothed comb and began my inspection.  The bathroom was very clean (except for a dirty glass), with a nice big shower.  (Unfortunately the shower pressure was so wimpy I wasn’t sure if I was getting wet or not.) The little bottles of all-purpose soapy stuff were only half full, but the bath towels were big and fluffy.  I was slightly disappointed that there was no bath, as my legs were aching from a day’s sightseeing and I’d just bought a bath bomb from Lush.

I was in a double-bedded room, which consisted of two single beds clipped together.  The linen was wrinkled, and the bed was covered with a stained throw which was swiftly removed.  The pillows had not been put in the cases properly so I noticed there were no pillow protectors (yuck).  The sheets had hairs on them, but thankfully not from any intimate regions. The furniture was basic – no drawers. The meagre refreshments tray was placed at floor level and was dusty.  Desperation for caffeine made me use it anyway, after thoroughly washing everything in the bathroom.  There were three sachets of coffee, and these were not replenished during my stay.  No mini bar. The floor had not been vacuumed properly and the walls were splattered in places.  There were oodles of dust behind the TV, and it wasn’t hard to spot or reach with a duster. The room had lovely big windows, but sadly overlooked the very ugly car park of the Travelodge.  If I craned my neck, I could see the Big Wheel.

The lamps in the room had shades made of clear Perspex, lined inside with some sort of red card-like material.  They were like something from a Lego Creator set.  There was a framed poster on the wall depicting some modern art from the Chicago Museum of Art.  It looked suspiciously like someone had copied the map of the London Underground.

In the interests of writing a thorough review, I had dinner at the hotel’s RBG Grill.  The menu is limited and offers the sort of food you would expect from a grill:  burgers and steak.  Kids are offered half portions for – you’ve guessed it – half the price. There was also a set menu involving helping yourself at the carvery.  I was the first person in the restaurant at 6.30pm, which was fine by me.  I was welcomed immediately by the smiling young waiter, who was pleasant and eager to please.  I opted for the Portabella Mushroom Burger (£8).  It consisted of a burger bun, a portabella mushroom, a slice of goats’ cheese, and honey mustard onion relish.  It came with some salad leaves and chunky home-made chips in a cute little basket.  It was so tasty I had the same thing the next night.

After dinner I wandered along the corridor and discovered that the hotel has a bar, a leisure centre and a pretty terrace garden.  I then returned to my room as I had bought a profiterole dessert from M&S.  I had to wrestle with the TV; even though I followed the on-screen instructions, I was repeatedly taken to a screen offering me erotic movies if only I would key in my room number.  No, I wasn’t tempted.  I wanted my pudding.

Breakfast is buffet-style and offers a reasonable choice of hot and cold food.  I didn’t appreciate being sat at a little table smack in the middle of a room full of couples and families.  I felt like I had a sign above my head which said ‘Nobody loves me’ and so kept my eyes on the map of York which I had brought with me.  I am now very familiar with the streets of the city centre.  The next morning I asked for a table out of the way and enjoyed a more leisurely breakfast.

As my room was at the front of the hotel, I was rudely awakened at 5.30am each morning by noisy refuse lorries and delivery trucks trundling along the street. I recommend asking for a room at the back, which overlooks the river and is presumably quieter.

On the morning of departure, a different receptionist was on duty.  He was inept. He ignored the line of people waiting while he dealt with a caller and did not apologise for keeping us waiting.  Although there was clearly a queue forming a nice British line, the receptionist offered to help the well-dressed business man behind me.  I was fuming, especially since this ‘gentleman’ unashamedly stepped in front of me to be served.  The reception staff could definitely do with a refresher course in customer care, as well as revisiting the ‘service philosophy’ of the Park Inn hotel chain.

The Park Inn clearly offers affordable accommodation to suit a variety of needs. I enjoyed my stay, but that had more to do with being in York than staying at the Park Inn.  I would probably stay there again, if I could find a special deal online.  The hotel wants to appear funky and modern, but its décor verges on cheap and looks uncannily like it comes from Ikea.  Me, I’m a lady who likes her little luxuries but sadly can’t afford the Hilton.  After two nights away, I was happy to go home to a big bubble bath and my own cosy bed.

Park Inn by Radisson, York, North Street, York, YO1 6JF.   Website.

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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