Northern Invaders - to the Holiday Inn, Elstree
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Driving down to London from the North for a few days of sightseeing and shopping, catching up with old friends, or seeing the football at Wembley? Then the Holiday Inn London Elstree is somewhere you are likely to pass, and it could be the perfect base for your stay.
Situated on the A1(M) Barnet bypass near to what is known as Stirling Corner, the first roundabout you reach at the end of the motorway, this newly refurbished hotel offers much more than a big chain hotel like a Novotel or Travelodge and is therefore more suitable for a few days stay.
With good-sized rooms and a big reception come restaurant/bar area it has the feel of a proper hotel, albeit one that is modern and planned out for efficiency. After a long drive down the A1, or the M1, which is only 5 miles away, all you really want is some space and comfort in which to relax and this well modern, well equipped hotel is designed for that.
Although many people use it as a stopover en route to a London meeting or an overnight visit. If you want to spend a couple of days going into central London, or also have friends to visit to the north of town, then this is a great place to base yourself. Equally you might be landing at Luton Airport which is only 10 miles away and want a north London base.
Easy access and efficient service are definitely a part of the experience. We arrived just as it was getting dark and were out of the car, checked in and getting our bags unpacked in our room within 5 minutes. With space to spread out a bit we enjoyed a welcome cup of tea, compliments of the hotel, and started to plan our evening and days ahead.
Being just 2 miles from High Barnet underground station (Northern Line), with parking at £4.00 a day and all zones travel card for just £7.70, we chose to use public transport to get in and out of town. It only takes 10 minutes to drive into Barnet, through what was an old coaching town but now a fairly typical suburban town on the outskirts of the metropolis. Then in just 35 minutes you can go directly to Leicester Square or Embankment on the Northern Line and from there head off to explore the city on foot or using your Travelcard.
We returned quite late from our day of shopping and sightseeing, having been to the Royal Academy of Arts, walked up and down Piccadilly and wandered around the Seven Dials area near to Covent Garden. So, as we’d been out for dinner with friends the night before, we decided to have a relaxing evening in, taking advantage of the room service menu, investing £5.00 for high-speed Internet and using the time to plan a further assault on the city the next day.
With a reasonably-priced menu and a good selection of beers and wines it was no hardship eating in our room. A tasty tomato-based Tagliatelle and a sea-food Risotto were both tasty and freshly cooked and the Shiraz to wash it down was pretty good too. The restaurant on the ground floor offers a wider selection of food and a welcoming bar.
Waking refreshed from a good night’s sleep – feather or foam pillow choice being a really nice touch – we enjoyed breakfast in the restaurant, watching people go off for their day and were off once again ready to explore. You really have a sense of being on the edge of London here; there is easy access to the sights but it’s also a little less hectic.
We resisted the chance to use the extensive gym or the swimming pool, complete with sauna and solarium. but on another occasion this would have been a nice way to unwind after travelling, as well as booking one or two of the range of spa treatments. The fact that the hotel offers these facilities is just another indication that this is a proper hotel where you can spend a few days and relax.
Disabled and limited mobility guests are well-catered for at the Holiday Inn, Elstree with accessible bedrooms which have features such as flashing light alarms and doorbell, low level electrics and vibrating alarm clocks. There’s also the option to have a vibrating pillow which activates with the fire alarm, as well as a sound advantage pack which can be fitted into the room prior to arrival. This includes a personal listener, smoke alarm, alerting paging system and a portable telephone amplifier. Care and consideration has clearly gone into the selection of these features which make for a relaxing stay for all.
It’s never easy choosing a hotel near a big city as they often seem very similar, but from this experience the Holiday Inn can be recommended without hesitation as a very good choice for quality and value and an ideal base for travelling into London.
Reviewed by Silver Travel Advisor, October 2012.
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