Detailed review by sue51
Swansea, United Kingdom
A late finish in London followed by an early meeting in Swindon required an overnight stop en-route. Not a city I am familiar with, I was are that prices seemed generally high, and therefore was a little worried about our destination.
We secured a room at the De Vere Hotel, Swindon. Part of the De Vere chain (who also own and run the Village Hotel chain). For some reason I had an underlying belief that many of the outlets were, shall we say tired, so was pleasantly surprised, on arrival, to find a well packed car-park, and a modern looking pleasant hotel.
The hotel is easilly accessible on the edge of Swindon West Centre, on an out of town commercial development, within 5 minutes of junction 16 of the M4. As the hotel was booked for us, we were restricted to verbal directions from hotel reception, and they worked perfectly. We also established that they stop serving bar meals 1030pm.
There is a on-site parking for around 200 cars, with a commercial centre alongside, which I would imagine could be used for overspill during busy, out of hours parking.
CHECK-IN & RECEPTION
Reception is a grand spacious affair with a reception desk to the left and the concierge to the right. Be warned if you are a smoker and staying here, the machine in reception charges £5.80 for a pack of 16 Silk Cut!!!! (Guess who got caught!)
Check-in was swift, efficient and friendly, requiring completion of personal details, a swipe of the credit card, an offer of an early morning call and newspaper and despatch to our rooms.
My initial impression was WOW; it was all decked out in green with windows that opened (no air conditioning - although the hotels Executive rooms do now have air conditioning), desk working area, large double bed, comfortable seating area, wardrobe, iron and ironing board, remote controlled colour TV offering a range of terrestrial and sky channels including Sky Sports, a safe and en-suite bathroom.
The bathroom was a spacious affair with sink, bath, toilet and thermostatically controlled power shower (which didn't live up to its name!). Towels were provided in abundance and were sufficiently large enough for me. Interestingly, the room was quite cool despite the absence of air conditioning.
High-speed wireless internet access was available through a port connection and I found the speed slow (around 400K) and the connection ropey. It took me around 20 minutes to connect each time. A swift call to reception saw me pay only a portion of the normal £15 daily charge.
The bed was extremely comfortable, and the pillows and bedding very soft and fresh - a swift visit to reception established that none of it is feather as they are now allowed to use them.
The main gripe I would have about the room was the poor lighting quality and the fact that I couldn't see the TV from the desk.
There was tea and coffee making facilities in the room complete with various fancy biscuits, and a mini-bar/fridge, which was sadly empty apart from some long life milk for hot beverages.
My colleagues room, on the other side of the hotel, was identical in every way other than it was all red rather than green.
To say I am gutted I didn't have my cossie was an understatement. The De Vere Swindon has a spacious and very inviting looking pool and Jacuzzi, Steam room, sauna, gym and beauty salon. This was a far cry from many of the hotels where the size of what the hotel claim to be a pool would fit in to a small corner of my garden.
EATING & DRINKING
Evening meal prices were somewhat higher than our budget, but staying here, this is really not a problem. There is a Pizza Hut within 1 minutes walk, and if you don't fancy Italian, there is a Mexican restaurant at the front, and a Best Western Hotel on the other side of the car-park offering a range of 2 for 1 meal offers. There is also a McDonalds 5 minutes walk away.
If you fancy doing something a little different there is a mult-screen cinema literally opposite the hotel.
As breakfast was included in the rate it would have been churlish not to partake. On offer was a range of fresh fruits to offering every type of delight imaginable including some berry concoction. There was also yogurts, juices, cereals, pasties, cold platter, and the usual selection of hot foods including bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, beans, mushrooms and tomatoes.
All this was help yourself buffet style, washed down with toast, tea or coffee brought fresh to your table. There was also a fabulous selection of jams, marmalade and honey to add to your toast.
Bar drinks were not extortionately expensive, around £3.25 for a bottle of beer, and £5.25 for a large glass of white wine, although I did feel that £3.50 for a litre bottle of water was a little on the excessive side. The bar has a glass wall external surround where you can sit watching the world go by, or watching the swimmers in the pool.
The De Vere Swindon has meeting and conference facilities to suit parties of all shapes and sizes from 2 to 300 people. They even have their own dedicated website to deal with all their customer needs available at: www.conferencesandmeeting s.co.uk/
I didn't see any standard rack rates in reception, but on their website, prices start from £98 (c147 Euros) for a double room with breakfast (we paid £85 (c127 Euros) through out agent).
A few minor issues such as ropey internet connection, and the fact that I couldn't see the TV from the desk area would not be sufficiently bad enough to put me off if travelling with companions of for a romantic weekend, although if I was travelling alone for business, then this would definitely be a deterrent for me.
Its proximity to the M4 coupled with the superb leisure facilities, beautifully furnished, spacious and comfortable bedrooms, combined with its proximity to good reasonably priced eating establishments and distances from cities such as Bath, Oxford and Swindon, not to mention the beautiful Cotswolds, definitely make this outlet worth more than just a second glance.
De Vere Village Swindon