Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Fort Dunlop Travelodge #review

I cannot tell you how many times I have driven on the M6 past Fort Dunlop in Birmingham in my lifetime. But I didn't realise until recently the iconic building now houses shops, cafes, a gym, offices and a Travelodge hotel.

Built in 1916 Fort Dunlop was the home of Dunlop Rubber and at in the 1950's the factory employed around 10,000 workers.  It's now Grade A locally listed and has been tastefully repurposed so the majestic facade can continue to exist usefully.

Fort Dunlop
Pic credit: Birmingham Mail.

The other thing I hadn't realised was how close Fort Dunlop is to Birmingham airport. We looked at airport hotels but when we realised parking was free overnight for Fort Dunlop Travelodge guests AND the price of a night's stay was very affordable it seemed like the perfect place to start our holiday.

We planned to arrive at Fort Dunlop in the evening, have a relaxing stay, enjoy one of the hotel's famous "eat as much as you like" breakfasts and then drive the 15 minutes to our pre-booked Airparks carpark. It would then just be a short shuttle bus ride to Birmingham Airport to catch our flight.

If you plan to park at one of the airport's onsite car parks, it's just a 13 minute drive to the airport from Fort Dunlop.


Arriving at Fort Dunlop we easily parked in the enormous car park - you take a token at the gate then Travelodge Staff will validate it at the end of your stay for free parking.

Fort Dunlop Birmingham, Travelodge review

The 10-storey Travelodge is an addition to the building, a kind of tall blue sliver inserted into one end with tyre-shaped windows.

Fort Dunlop Travelodge

Fort Dunlop Travelodge review

We found reception staff to be very friendly, welcoming and helpful and were delighted with our top floor room with an amazing view of a stunning sunset that night.

view from Fort Dunlop Travelodge window

Our room was large, equipped with tea and coffee making facilities, a TV, desk, a chair, bedside tables and lamps and plenty of hanging space and room for our suitcases. Despite aeroplanes taking off over us and the nearby motorway our room was very quiet - I only heard other guests briefly once during our stay.

The bathroom was clean and spacious with basic but free shower gel/hairwash and decent towels.

Travelodge bathroom, Birmingham

Obviously in a hotel the most important thing is the bed and we both found our Kingsize bed very comfortable. There were four pillows and a fluffy duvet and unusually for us when staying in a hotel we both slept soundly and woke with no back pain.

Travelodge bedroom #review

We headed downstairs to a small but clean and well-organised eating area with a buffet breakfast offering a variety of choices including pastries and cereals, fruit salad, yoghurts and a selection of hot ingredients to make a "Full English".

Travelodge breakfast

There was also a choice of fruit juices and a range of coffee types and tea available.

This is where you remind yourself this is a budget hotel - there was no option to have fried eggs or omelette for instance, and the coffee choices and cold drinks are dispensed from machines. I also asked about dairy-free milk alternatives but apparently despite this being something a number of guests have asked for, it wasn't available.

Fort Dunlop Travelodge restaurant

However, the food was all good quality and cooked beautifully and the breakfast is excellent value for money being "eat as much as you like" so no complaints from this quarter.

Travelodge breakfast

Staff maintaining the breakfast area and checkout (fast and simple) were friendly and efficient and all in all it was a very pleasant stress free stay which made a lovely start to our holiday.

Before driving to the airport car park we popped into The Fort, a shopping complex just a few minutes drive or a ten minute walk from Fort Dunlop to pick up some last minute essentials. There are a couple of eateries there so if you didn't fancy eating in the Travelodge restaurant (although evening meals seemed well priced with a small but well chosen range) you could head there for fast food or a family restaurant meal.

Fort Dunlop is of course just a hop away from central Birmingham and the NEC so exceptionally well placed whatever your reasons to be in the area.

Final verdict? A very nice example of the Travelodge chain in a very useful location. We would definitely stay there again. I checked online and at the point I was looking, our Friday night stay with breakfast would have cost £65 - prices vary depending on dates required.



Disclaimer: We enjoyed one night at Fort Dunlop Travelodge  with breakfast for two free for the purpose of this honest review.


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