The hotel is very conveniently situated about a 5 minute walk from New Street station and it is just a short walk to the main shopping areas and restaurants of the city centre as well as to the cultural areas around the Museum and Art Gallery, the Town Hall concert hall, the Repertory Theatre and the Symphony Hall and Convention Centre. There are also several convenience stores and mini supermarkets no more than 1 minute's walk from the main entrance.
My room was at the back and looked out over a rather grimy back street and the entrance to a multi-storey car park; although it was reasonably quiet most of the time, there was a lot of noise especially early in the morning as dustbin and delivery lorries loaded and unloaded at the hotel's service entrance which was located on the same street. Three years ago I stayed in the same hotel and my room then faced out over the roof of its meeting-room suites and I found it considerably quieter as a result.
The room was spacious and modern in design, with a large and comfortable double bed and a good-sized bathroom with shower only. However, I could have done with rather more shelving and storage space - there was really just a hanging rail and a high shelf above it, and a desk with just one drawer containing the hairdryer. And my room three years ago not only had a bathtub - which I would have appreciated given how cold it was during my stay - but also felt a lot cosier and more comfortable, with more cushions and a comfortable chair rather than just a hard wooden chair. Perhaps that room still does have such facilities, but I certainly missed them during this stay. The flatscreen TV was excellent, however, with access to the full range of digital freeview channels.
The heating in the room was very effective when it worked but seemed to be switched off centrally overnight. One night I returned to a freezing room at 11 pm after having been out all day since 9 am, and with all electricity and heating switched off as part of the usual energy-saving measures taken by most chain hotels these days; unfortunately, all my heater would produce were blasts of cold air, although at 7 am next morning it began once again to generate real heat.
I had the breakfast buffet every morning with a reasonable range of tasty hot and cold choices (although not quite as good a range as in some other Holiday Inns I have sampled recently). Bear in mind that it is cheaper to buy breakfast vouchers for your entire stay at the time of check-in than to charge breakfast to your room when you turn up in the restaurant.
I also had dinner in the restaurant one night and in the bar the other night. I had remembered the restaurant as particularly fine (and unusually so for a Holiday Inn) during my last stay, with many very appetising and imaginative dishes. Perhaps these are still on offer on weekday and Sunday evenings but on Fridays and Saturdays the only option is to have the dinner buffet for an all-inclusive price. This was perfectly adequate but I felt that the salad bar was very meagre and the desserts looked better than they tasted. My dinner in the bar was also adequate, though the bar area could get very noisy.
The hotel was very well maintained and the staff all very helpful and friendly.
This hotel offers good value and a very convenient location. But it felt a bit less upmarket than on my previous stay and so I might investigate some of the other options, such as the Radisson Blu next door, when I next have to stay in Birmingham.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A modern 3-star Hotel located in the Smallbrook Queensway area of Birmingham. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn City Centre Hotel Birmingham
- Holiday Inn Birmingham
- Birmingham Holiday Inn