I traveled to NE England from Dayton, OH for a mixture of business and leisure. As the most of my time was vacation time, I labeled it as "leisure." I located the Douglas Vaults Hotel on priceline.com and to be honest, I hadn't quite believed the pricing. 25 pounds a night for my double en suite room, came to about $40 a night, and I stayed for 10 nights.I had read some previous reviews, and I was wary of my choice in lodging. Many of the previous reviews are over a year old, so I hope this review will bring everything up-to-date.
I've attached some pictures of the room I was in. It was clean, no dust, everything right where it should be. The bathroom was up-to-date and very clean as well. To those who may not know, the rooms are situated above the downstairs pub. There are 6 rooms total, and I believe two of them are "en suite" which I am going to guess has something to do with a private bathroom. The other rooms share a common bathroom (but not with the bar below). There is weekend entertainment and some live music. The music can be heard upstairs, but its not very loud. You're actually more apt to hear the proprietor in his apartment above the rooms. Again, I didn't have a problem with it, but some people might like it to be deathly quiet.
I rated the cleanliness a perfect 5 as everything was very clean. I rated the location as 4/5 as the metro that runs to South Shields is sketchy in when it decides to run or not. Evidently in Britain, they feel 2 inches of snow is enough to derail a train. I rated the rooms a perfect 5 because they are bigger than you'd expect a 25 pound ($40) room to be. I rated value a perfect 5 because, honestly, its 25 pounds a night.
Now we'll get to service. I saved service for last because, without considering service, I would readily refer this hotel to anyone of my friends. However, I think everyone who is considering staying here should be made aware of the service they can expect and if they are service-oriented people, this may save them a headache (or worse).
Despite the good impression left by the owner (Stuart), I cannot recommend this hotel based on the service rendered. There is one barmaid who, since I saw her the first time 3 nights into my stay, has been intoxicated on a constant basis both on the clock and off. She is belligerent and extremely confrontational with customers and guests alike. Over the course of my stay, I had witnessed this barmaid become belligerent with the owner, with myself, and 2 customers.
While Stuart (the owner) is a good man who is trying his best to make lemonade with the lemons he's been given, the decision to employ someone like this barmaid forces me to question his dedication to the hospitality business. As long as she is employed here, I must warn people who may decide to stay. Her name is Ashley, and you'll do well to stay away from her.
Further, the linens were changed twice in 10 nights. This is unacceptable (maybe even illegal in some areas) in the United States, and I'm reasonably sure its unacceptable in the United Kingdom as well.
I can say that the Douglas Vaults Hotel is on the cusp on becoming a great place to stay and an awesome bargain. Unfortunately, until the owner polices his bar staff and changes linens more frequently, its just a great bargain with a serious warning.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.