When I first saw the offer of booking a double room at Ibis Hotel Bodesley Circus for the ridiculous sum of 30 £ the night, I gave up any expectations. I stayed at several Ibis hotels in Europe, especially in German, but never for such a low price and being familiar with what you can usually get for such a price in London, all I wished was to have a clean room and a place to sleep before heading as early as possible to the next and final destination of our England trip: Llandrindod Wells. The travel writer in me wanted to spend a little bit of time sightseeing, but I was ready for a bit of sacrifice.
A completely different and much more pleasant reality was waiting for me. First, the hotel has a very good location: close to the international airport, but also with good connections to the center, with regular buses coming and going every 10 minutes. If you are in the mood for walking, it may take around 30-40 minutes to reach it from the coach station, but only if you don't have big loads of luggage. Otherwise, the taxi is not very expensive, with around 10 £ from the coach station. The hotel has a parking place as well, plus some fast food options a couple of minutes away, in case you are not too pretentious in terms of food.
At the reception there were always at least 2 persons available to help, including late in the evening. After checking out, you can store your luggage for less than 24 hours. Plus, we were also helped to freeze our ice from the cooler box during the night. As I would later discover, kindness seems to be one of the main character threats of the people in Birmingham.
The price of the room did not include the breakfast, that can be taken in the restaurant which serves various snacks and British pies. Coffee and drinks - beers and wines among others - are available in the lobby area till late in the evening. If you bring some food with you, you can set up your own breakfast or lunch on the wooden tables near the entrance, a good idea during the summer time - if you don't mind the bees, apparently a problem in England this time of the year.
Let's talk about the room now! We headed to it on a bed of poppies. The double room is spacious, with enough space to store your luggage, plus a table for a little bit of work, and a TV. The Internet is free, but somehow, my computer refused to get connected and needed to use for a basic checking the option of 1 £ for 20 minutes offered by the computer in lobby. I felt that I am back in a different century, as almost half of the time and of the money were wasted for uploading the pages. There is no fridge in the room, but tea and coffee is offered for free.
The hotel has the newest Ibis mattresses, with special smooth duvets and ample pillows that gave the best comfort and sweet dreams. Exactly what I needed so many hours of coach and airplane and a lot of rush.
The bathroom is good looking, with a green and clean toiler, with a stylish wooden pavement. However, the shower was not crystal clean hence the 4 not-so-shining stars given to the bathroom facilities. The hotel residents can also use the hair dryer.
The overall experience of the couple of hours spent here was satisfactory. I was able to go quite fast in the center at least twice in the morning and see almost what I wanted to see in the city. I did enjoy the pleasure of eating out and had a quiet evening and night relaxing a lot before another exhausting hours of changing trains and coaches. The personnel was more than welcoming and I recommend it to anyone looking to enjoy Birmingham while having also some decent time indoors and without spending a big fortune.
Fore more pictures from Birmingham, check the Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/birmingham/
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