Detailed review by Katieshaz
My boyfriend and I were looking for a hotel to stay in overnight near the Birmingham National Indoor Arena as we were going to see a gig. I stumbled across this hotel on the Internet and at a mere £35 a night for us it seemed too good to pass up. We only wanted a cheap hotel as we just wanted somewhere to sleep after the gig as Birmingham is 2 and a half hours drive away from where we live.
About Etap: Etap is a European chain of basic-service budget hotels owned by the Accor Group who also own Ibis.
Booking: This was made via the website on www.etaphotel.com It was quick and easy, even though it asked for a credit card number you pay on arrival by credit, debit card or cash. We were given a confirmation email with our booking reference.
Arrival: The directions on the website are good and just off the A38 going into Birmingham City Centre. We turned off and went round the back of the hotel to a secure car park. The hotel is a large, plain white building with Etap clearly marked. It took a few moments for the security gate to open and a hotel employee waved us in. It turns out that there was only one space left and since my boyfriend drives an old Mini she was eager to get us in as the one space left was too small for every other car! There does not seem to be ample car parking but there seems to be plenty of space on the streets nearby-its a residential area with new apartments. You need to take a ticket from the machine in reception to be validated when you leave.
It turns out that the hotel was fully booked (perhaps due to the Lostprophets gig that was on) and we were very glad we had booked.
First Impressions: We walked into a minimalist white reception. There was a desk at one end, some seats at the other with pay for Internet access computers and a cafeteria-style area with food and drink available to buy from the chilled cabinets.
Check In: Check in was easy, despite the queue of people we only had to wait a few minutes, as there were 3 receptionists on duty. The receptionist was pleasant, quickly confirmed our reservation and gave us a swipe key card and directed us up to our room on the third floor. We used the lift, which was very high tech, and we had to swipe our cards to access the lift. We arrived in a corridor that looked just like a halls of residence at university-long with plain white washed walls!
Our room: The room was small and sparsely furnished in white with a dark blue floor. There was a low double bed with a bunk bed above it, a table, a small television with no remote (again to save money I imagine and stop people stealing it!), and a rail and a few coat hangers. To save time when cleaning there are no nooks or crannies, even the bed has no legs and is just mounted on a blue square! It was all very clean. There is an effective air conditioning panel as well. We had a small window with a white blind looking out on the ever so lovely A38 road. No tea or coffee making facilities.
The bathroom: There was no bathroom as such. There was a walk in shower enclosed in a glass cabinet (no lock) but it was a very good power shower, nice and warm with adjustable setting and head. No free shampoo or goodies of course, just some Lux shower gel mounted on the wall. There was sink in the room with a little round bar of soap. The loo was small with a lino floor and single roll of cheap white loo roll. It was clean and for £35 for a night what more can you want? Any other items such as shampoo, shower caps and toothbrushes are available from reception for £1.
Location: The hotel describes itself as ‘Birmingham Centre but it took us about 15 minutes to walk to the NIA. Its not exactly a salubrious area and it looks like it is undergoing a major regeneration. The street opposite the hotel has a couple of restaurants, neither of which looked remotely inviting! We felt safe walking back at midnight and there are plenty of taxis around if you dont.
The service: The staff were all dressed in white shirts and seemed friendly and helpful.
Breakfast: Breakfast is served downstairs for an extra £2.95 per guest and consists of juice, pastries and hot drinks. We were up to late and missed breakfast!
Checking out: Check out was very simple. It did take about 10 minutes to actually leave the car park due to the security gate and several cars coming in and out. Check out is 12 noon and at 10am we were woken up by a cleaner trying to come in, they seem very eager here!
The bottom line: We were impressed by the cleanliness and value for money; we will stay here again if we return to Birmingha
ibis Budget Birmingham Centre - ex ETAP