As its name implies, the Holiday Inn Express, Porsmouth, is situated at Gunwharf Quays - a fairly recent shopping and entertainment district that grew up on the site of a former naval establishment. Gunwharf Quays is crammed with shops, a multiplex cinema, clubs, restaurants, cafes and other entertainment options. At the waterfront you can watch cross-channel and Isle of Wight ferries coming in and out of the harbour ... you can also occasionally see one of the few remaining Royal Navy ships entering or leaving Portsmouth, although a harbour tour by water will reveal that the UK doesn't have many RN ships left!
The historic dockyard - a short walk away - is a real treat, harking back to the time when the UK DID have a navy! HMS Warrior, the UK's first ironclad, has been brilliantly restored and HMS Victory - Nelson's flagship - is one of the finest historical ship experiences anywhere in the world. In fact, visiting Portsmouth without visiting Victory, is almost a crime!
The Holiday Inn Express, as its name implies, is a cut-down Holiday Inn, with reduced services and amenities. Breakfast, for example, is a very basic serve-yourself affair, but the surroundings are clean and the food perfectly adequate for this type of hotel. As the hotel is fairly recent, everything is in good repair and the rooms are basic but comfortable. All-in-all, this is a very good example of a budget hotel. There are so many excellent restaurant options within walking distance (the Indian Palace is particularly good) that you certainly don't miss a formal restaurant in the hotel itslelf ... in fact, it would be completely redundant!
The front-desk staff were friendly, although it was a bit off-putting having to wait for a good five minutes while receptionist #2 was placing a hotel supplies order rather than helping the growing queue of people wanting to check out. I know this sort of thing needs to be done, but doing it at a time when most people were leaving - and doing it within earshot of that growing queue - was a bit insensitive! But that apart, this is a hotel that can be recommended with some confidence.
The biggest negative issue? Finding it! If you're driving, head towards Gunwharf Quays and, if you don't have heavy luggage, park in the main Gunwharf car park and then take the escalator to the main shopping deck. As you are approaching Gunwharf, you can see the hotel, but there are no sgns showing you where the front entrance is, so if you want to unload big suitcases and family members, it's not that easy. However, if you approach the main car park slowly, you will see a "secret" entrance to the front lobby which comes up on your left - about 50 yards before the car park entrance. Once you have unloaded, there is a separate entrance back into the car park. Once parked, return to the front desk with your parking ticket and they will validate it.
If you have parked your car first and have taken the escalator to the main shopping deck, at the top of the escalator you need to turn 180 degrees and walk towards the hotel. You pass a restaurant called "Jamies" and you will then see a sign pointing you to the hotel entrance. Congratulations to the architect for making the entrance so small and hidden - you must be very proud. For most people the entrance will appear to be on the wrong side of the building and accessible through a narrow passage which can appear a little unfriendly at night.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Holiday Inn Express Portsmouth hotel is located within Gunwharf Quays which is a vibrant waterfront development offering a number of attractions, including over 95 designer clothing outlets,over 25 restaurants & bars, a cinema, ten pin bowling, casino and comedy club. The Holiday Inn Express Portsmouth Hotel is ideally located for business or leisure breaks. It comprises 130 en-suite bedrooms and 2 modern meeting rooms, all with comfort cooling, natural daylight and free wifi throughout the hotel. The Great room and lounge area situated on the first floor offers drinks and relaxation in the evening, as well as a free continental breakfast with hot favourites which include scrambled egg, sausages & baked beans in the morning. Undercover secure parking is available in the award winning main Gunwharf Quays car park, all Hotel guests receive discounted rates for car parking in the main Gunwharf Quays car park, first twenty four hours or first exit is free of charge and then second 24 hours or exit and thereafter are charged at £2. Access to trains, buses and ferries are all within walking distance. Southampton International Airport is 22 miles away. Convenient access to all of Portsmouth's many attractions, including the Spinnaker Tower, The Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth Old Town with its cobbled streets and the waterfront, filled with traditional pubs and restaurants are all within walking distance. PLEASE NOTE: THE HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS - PORTSMOUTH GUNWHARF QUAYS HAS DEDICATED DISABLED CAR SPACES OUTSIDE THE HOTEL ENTRANCE, WITH A DROP OFF/PICK UP FACILITY BY THE FRONT DOOR. THERE IS APPROX A 3 MINUTE WALK FROM THE UNDERGROUND CAR PARK TO HOTEL ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Express Portsmouth - Gunwharf Quays Hotel Portsmouth
- Holiday Inn Portsmouth