There are an endless supply of hotels and B&Bs in Blackpool, in fact there are so many that it can be difficult to work out where is best to stay or where you will find the best deal.
We have seen both sides of the coin. Often a low room rate will result in a poor review from guests who were expecting a bit more for, say, £30. Other times, guest reviews can help point out the resort’s gems.
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This is what happened with Hotel Babylon. It has stellar reviews on TripAdvisor and Booking.com and is praised for its convenient location and welcoming staff.
The welcoming staff at Hotel Babylon is something I experienced almost as soon as I made my reservation. I paid £85 for a double room, for one night.
I had made a mistake on my reservation which told hotel manager Andy that I would be arriving between 7-8am.
Such an early arrival time would concern anyone – but Andy quickly texted me to make sure it wasn’t a typo. I apologized and clarified that I meant the evening and he assured me that everything was fine.
I had the same welcome when I arrived the next day. The hotel, on Banks Street is very conveniently located, close to the center but not so close that there is a lot of noise. It’s also a six-minute walk from the train station, with parking opposite.
I rang the doorbell and Andy came to the door, asked if I was Rebecca (I am) and ushered me in out of the wind.
I stayed on a Tuesday night in February, I was the only one staying that night, Andy said.
“Since you’re the only one staying,” he said, “what time do you want breakfast?”
I don’t think anyone has ever asked me this before. Usually when I stay in a hotel I am told that breakfast is served between 8:00 and 10:00, and I usually nod just happy that breakfast is included.
I told Andy I would be down at 9 so I could get a sleep in but not make Andy wait too long.
Breakfast is a powerful thing, and as Andy asked me what I wanted and when, I resigned myself to my room feeling like I was staying somewhere different from a hotel. It was much closer than that, like staying with a family friend.
I went up to my room, where Andy had left the door open for me.
I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful interior, with a huge bay window and basically everything I could need inside.
Hotel Babylon was also not short of tea making facilities, I think I had four infusions during my entire stay and still had several tea bags and milk left – just what you want.
The Babylon Hotel is also proud to be part of something I fancy calling ‘The Blackpool Sink’ – it’s when you walk into your bathroom, wonder where your sink is, and then you quickly realize he is in the bedroom.
I don’t know why it’s so common in Blackpool, and it’s one of those things that makes sense after you get used to it.
Obviously, what makes a good hotel is the quality of your sleep. You don’t have to be Sir Lenny Henry at a Premier Inn to know that.
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I visited early in the evening and watched TV while there. The TV had all the channels you could possibly need, in case you were interested, but I really have to talk about the bed.
It was very, very comfortable. The pillows were firm and the duvet and throw were perfect for a very peaceful night’s sleep. Neither too hot nor too cold.
In the morning, I took a shower and went downstairs to have breakfast with Andy.
The dining room was the size of two living rooms joined together, with everything laid out on the tables for guests should they show up for breakfast.
Despite being the only person there other than a man who had appeared at some point that morning, I appreciated that touch. It shows that Hotel Babylon really cares, and there is a table waiting for you if you want it.
Andy made a nice jug of coffee and told me I could help myself to juices, jams and fruit. He then bought me a toast, took my breakfast order and finally bought me that too.
My breakfast – which was included in the nightly rate – consisted of mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, beans, fried bread, sausage, eggs and bacon. I could have had black pudding there if I liked it, but I don’t.
We had a few light chats about my plans for the day, the storm, and Andy’s recommendation for a morning walk – my stay was really, really lovely.
Forget soulless chain hotels with endless corridors of rooms. Head to Hotel Babylon instead, you’ll be well looked after, made to feel right at home – and most importantly, fed with enough breakfast to last you a whole day.
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