Earlier this year Travelodge started rolling out a new Super room category in selected properties. Billed as a “premium economy” experience, they feature extra amenities and have been designed in partnership with agency Honour, which has worked on BA’s Concorde bar at Dubai International airport and Etihad’s forthcoming Midfield Terminal at Abu Dhabi.
The budget group has now added the category to 14 hotels – London Covent Garden, City Road, Docklands, Euston, Farringdon, King’s Cross Central, Marylebone, Southwark Bank, Tower Bridge, Vauxhall, Waterloo, Heathrow Central, City Airport and Bath Riverside. Three more are to completed in the coming weeks – Gatwick Airport by the end of next week, Birmingham Bullring in mid-October and Oxford Abingdon Road by early November.
Super rooms cost about £15-£20 more than a Standard room. Business Traveller checked into the Farringdon property to try it out.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The Travelodge Farringdon has 219 rooms in total set across the ground to fifth floors. The second floor is entirely given over to Super rooms – there are 54 of them – and the corridor has also been given a refresh with grey walls and carpeting, rather than the starker white and blue décor of the other floors.
Welcoming and efficient staff checked me in quickly at the reception desk, where you could help yourself to a cup of water. The hotel’s revamped Bar-Café is ahead to your right. Access to the lifts is by keycard only.
WHERE IS IT?
At 10-42 King’s Cross Road, roughly equidistant to both King’s Cross and Farringdon stations (about a 12- to 15-minute walk). It’s opposite the Crowne Plaza London King’s Cross. Note there is another Travelodge property, the London King’s Cross Royal Scot, a few minutes up the road at number 100.
Rooms at the Farringdon property are 16 sqm on average. Super rooms feature a more attractive soft blue and grey colour scheme, in contrast to the red, white and blue of Standard rooms. Blackout curtains and bed throws are in an easier-on-the-eye grey herringbone pattern rather than stripes. There’s an ambient print in shades of blue behind the bed, and a framed aerial artwork of London and the Thames.
The upgraded rooms feature a number of extra amenities. There is an open-plan wardrobe with a drawer, rather than a hanging rail, while the desk is set up with a reading lamp and a leather swivel chair. A fabric-upholstered blue armchair sits by the bed, rather than a more rigid chair in Standard rooms.
Double beds are dressed with four pillows, two firm and two soft (Standard rooms have only firm ones), and on either side of the bed are panels to control the lighting (there are further panels by the door and bathroom, allowing various settings). There are plug sockets and USB ports both by the bedside and desk.
Also provided are ironing boards, Lavazza coffee machines, Galaxy hot chocolate sachets and Kit-Kats. A decent hairdryer is set up by a full-length mirror. (Hairdryers and ironing boards are otherwise available at reception.) The wall-mounted TV is the same as in other rooms.
Bathrooms feature dark wood-effect flooring and shelving, a more powerful showerhead and a better-quality shower curtain. Dispensers for hand wash and hair and body wash are the same.
Rooms have adjustable air conditioning, or you can open the window. Wifi in both categories costs from £3 for 24 hours.
The Super rooms certainly look more stylish and are nicer to spend time in. Mine was peaceful, the bed was comfortable and it was good to have a choice of pillows, a more defined area to hang my clothes in and a hairdryer immediately to hand (the last time I stayed in a Travelodge I brought my own).
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
The Farringdon hotel’s Bar-Café was also redesigned earlier this year. It’s a long, bright space with floor-to-ceiling windows, pale wood-veneer flooring and its own street entrance. At one end is a lounge area with low-slung armchairs in green, blue and orange, Scandi-style drinks tables, a TV and an oversized Anglepoise-style lamp.
Moving through, there are communal tables for solo diners, high seating with plug sockets along the window, and dining tables with pastel-coloured chairs. You can also sit up to the bar. Popping in on a weekday evening, there were solo customers eating and working on their laptops, while breakfast the next morning was busy with both business and leisure guests.
The hot and cold breakfast buffet cost £8.25 for the works or £5.95 for continental only. It was good quality, with brands including Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages, Heinz beans, Yeo Valley yoghurts, a range of Kellogg’s cereals, Lavazza coffee and Ridgways herbal teas. There was also fresh fruit salad, granola and croissants. The buffet area was kept very clean and well stocked, and staff were friendly and helpful.
None, although informal huddles could be held in the Bar-Café.
The Super room is a very good product for those on a budget. The improved design and added amenities do make a difference to your stay, and, personally, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay £15 more for the extra comfort whether I was travelling for business or leisure.
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in a Super room in October started from £104, compared with £89 for a Standard room.
10-42 King’s Cross Road; tel +44 (0)871 984 6274; travelodge.co.uk