Friday, 4 January 2008

Travelodge vs. Premier Inn

So which is better, Travelodge or Premier Inn? When we visit the UK, we often need a cheap hotel while on the road or at the airport. Up until this visit, we had always used Travelodge. Its main advantage is that it can be unbelievably cheap. I always book way in advance and often get a family room for £15 ($30) for the night, and never pay more than £26 ($52). It's a little cramped for a family of four, but perfectly fine and you always know what you are going to get -- nice double bed, sofa bed and pullout, TV, tea and coffee, en-suite bathroom. But this time, as well as using Travelodge one night, we used Premier Inn another night. It is the direct rival of Travelodge, both budget hotel chains with locations all over the place. Its walk-in weekend rate is a bit cheaper than Travelodge, at £48 ($96), but its pre-booking rates are much worse because non-existent, so it can work out quite a lot more expensive than Travelodge. Nevertheless, we thought it superior. The room was a bit more spacious, the beds were a bit more comfortable, the service was a lot more friendly and one did not have to keep going to the desk to ask for extra sheets, towels, pillows, etc., as we always have to at Travelodge. In the morning we paid £15 for an excellent breakfast for four of us. So if the prices are similar, Premier Inn is definitely worth prioritizing.

I suppose the ideal would be to book independent bed and breakfasts. They are all different and they can have real character. And if you are lucky, the breakfast might be really good. But they are unpredictable and can be expensive. We regretted going for an independent place on another evening this year when there was a Premier Inn down the road at half the price.

Google Fight makes Travelodge the clear winner, but I'm not so sure.

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