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“A Great Bargain, but with a warning” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Cross Arms Hotel

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Cross Arms Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Barrington Street, South Shields NE33 1AN, England (Formerly Douglas Vaults Hotel)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 7 Hotels in South Shields
Dayton, Ohio
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“A Great Bargain, but with a warning”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2010

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.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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33 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
East Yorkshire
17 reviews 17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2010

My friend and I booked this hotel for a one night stay in the area as we were going to a vintage clothing fair in Newcastle. We did not read the comments on trip advisor previously and these would probably have put us off going to the Douglas Vaults. However - dont judge a book by its cover and dont write this place off after reading other guest's negative comments. We loved it! The building is a very traditional pub with 6 letting rooms on the first floor. It is on a quiet street but within a couple of minutes walk of an excellent street market, a retail park with all the major stores, a bustling high street and a huge Asda which is a good landmark if you are trying to find the hotel.

We arrived about 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and were greeted by a very pleasant barmaid who showed us to our room and the facilites. We had booked a twin room which did not have en suite and so we had to share the shower room/toilet at the end of the corridor. Only the double rooms are en suite. Our room was basic, but had everything we needed for one night. It was clean and had plenty of hanging space and storage for our clothes and shoes etc. The bedding and beds were clean and very comfortable. There was a small colour tv on a bracket above one of the beds. We were able to look at one of the en suite rooms that had been vacated the mornking we left. It was nicely decorated and the bathroom was modern, large and clean. It looked very comfortable.

The shared shower room/toilet was large with a new, modern shower cubicle and was spotlessly clean. The kitchen on the ground floor was spotlessley clean and large with a microwave, cooker, toaster and cupboards full of all the crockery/cutlery needed for guests, which we used in our room. We were told there was bread, orange juice, milk, tea and coffee for our use for breakfast which we had to prepare for ourselves. There was also packets of several varieties of cereals and porridge. We were given a key to our door and the outside door so we could come and go as we pleased.

As the pub does not serve food other than toasties we went to Asda and bought ready meals which we heated up in the microwave and ate in our room. There were however other places to eat within walking distance of the Douglas Vaults. We then spent the rest of the evening in the friendly bar where there was a karaoke night which finished about 12.30. We had a really nice evening and felt very comfortable as the staff and other customers were very friendly and chatty with us. The pub is obviously popular with a mix of age groups and there was no sign of any trouble or unpleasant behaviour from anyone. It seems they have live music on a Friday night.

When we went to bed at about 1 a.m. the hotel was very quiet and we were not disturbed by any noises of any kind. Yes you can hear the water running ff someone in the next room turns on the tap, but that was not a problem once you realised what it was.

We met the owner of the Douglas Vaults the next morning while we were preparing our breakfast. His name is Stuart and he and his partner are working very hard to update the accommodation and decor and have already made a lot of improvements since the previous reviews were posted on this site. He could not have been more friendly and welcoming and said he and his partner take a real pride in trying to provide the best service they can at a very affordable price.

The only down side for me was that most of the walls, radiators, doors etc were painted brown which made the building quite dark inside. However the friendliness of the staff more than made up for this and this is something that hopefully Stuart and his partner will be able to change over time.

We will definately go back to the Douglas Vaults again as South Shields itself is a very pretty and interesting town with lovely beaches and coastline which are ideal for people who enjoy walking and exploring.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2009

This is not a hotel - it's a dodgy dosshouse. We booked through Laterooms. When we arrived, after a long and trying trip from London, we had to wait twenty minutes whilst the barmaid served drinks to a succession of regulars, before we could collect our key. We were told we would have to pay cash up front before we were shown the room. This did ring alarm bells, but, as I've said, we'd had a long journey, and were desperate for some tea and a shower.
However, neither of these things were possible immediately, as the room had no cups and no towels! There was not even a hand towel in the toilet! I was eventually able to access towels and cups through the barmaid, who appeared to be the only person working there.
The room was awful: with mould patches, peeling wallpaper, a manky window frame in the en-suite bathroom and stained duvet cover. Even at £35, this was not a bargain. We did not feel safe, and would definitely never return there. I have posted some interesting pictures of our room on the Laterooms website.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2009

Although we were on a cheap and cheerful trip to Newcastle, we were quite surprised that this pub is an old fashioned 'digs' ,above a pub, in the centre of the newly refurbished but still socially deprived area of South Shields.

Nevertheless ,we fully enjoyed this experience- I've certainly never stayed in a pub before and even though there was a tacky karaoke bassline booming underneath us while we were in bed we fell asleep and didn't seem to notice. The staff were friendly enough, if a little surprised that a couple on a holiday type experience were staying here rather than a single male worker.

The only gripes were: (i) the plumbing system, which fired up every time other residents switched on their taps in their washbasins- you can imagine the noise at 6:30ish when other workers are getting up, (ii) There were no staff to be seen in the morning, so even if we had wanted the breakfast that was promised we couldn't! (hope we didn't pay for it!!) and finally (iii) (and only a small gripe) the communal shower and toilet, although clean, is something that I'm never particularly keen to share.

All in all, a good budget stay and only a short metro ride in to Newcastle or Sunderland or Whitley Bay!

Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
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1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2009

great location near shops metro etc rooms quiet small service ok stewart [manager] and staff very helpfull

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
41 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
127 helpful votes 127 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2008

I'm English but am married to an Italian and live in Italy but like to go shopping in England two or three times a year. South Shields is great for the high street shops and is only a few Metro stops from Newcastle itself. I also love flea markets so when I saw that the Douglas Vaults Hotel was right on the market place I thought that I had died and gone to heaven, so was happy to book there for us and another two couples.
I had read it up on internet so my first impression was what I had expected, an old type pub which was being slowly done up. The owner manager was very friendly, a young man with ambitious long term plans for his pub.
The bedrooms were tastefully decorated, just like I had seen on internet and it was obvious money had been spent BUT ....
- cleaning could have been better as we found screws and bits and bobs on the floor
- the lights were missing their bulbs so obviously didn't work.
- rooms were a bit cold, not enough to complain about but cold anyway.
We decided to pass over all of this so we could enjoy our short, two night stay BUT ......... we were very surprised not to find our bed made the next day. I told the owner and found, to my surprise, that HE was surprised that we had expected it. I don't know if things have changed in England but I have never been anywhere where the beds were not made every day during our stay. He said that cleaning was every three days and that did not include bedmaking except when the sheets were changed.
Noise - the site tells you to expect noise as the pub has live music every night. For our friends and I this was a plus BUT .......... we never expected the noise to be someone banging on doors at 4 o'clock in the morning. The banging went on for over half an hour. There was also noise downstairs at the same time so it was impossible the owner didn't know about it all.
I admire the owner and wish him well in the future but I hope he manages to get his act together. We didn't stay there when we returned to South Shields four months later as it wasn't really a place to go back to and other better places were even cheaper!

  • Liked — The location.
  • Disliked — No bedmaking, noise had been expected but not this bad, rooms not checked for faults.
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cross Arms Hotel

Address: Barrington Street, South Shields NE33 1AN, England (Formerly Douglas Vaults Hotel)
Location: United Kingdom > England > Tyne and Wear > South Shields
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 7 Hotels in South Shields
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Cross Arms Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 6
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Also Known As:
Cross Arms Hotel South Shields, England

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