disclosure: we were given free accommodation, early check-in and breakfast in exchange for an honest review
If you want somewhere offering cheap but friendly service, conveniently placed close to the city centre of Cambridge then Travelodge Cambridge – Newmarket Road is certainly worth considering.
Travelodge Cambridge – Newmarket Road is literally a 15-minute walk (at a 5 and half-year-old’s walking pace) from the centre of Cambridge and is close to the Grafton Shopping Centre.
The hotel does have a free underground car park, but it’s worth noting that there are considerably fewer spaces than hotel rooms. There is a pay and display car park at the Grafton Shopping Centre, but this would involve a little walk, which could be an issue with smaller children. If the car park is full, you can park outside the Harvest Way entrance for 10 minutes to drop off luggage etc.
We had arranged an early check-in (£10 with check-in at 12 rather than 3 pm) and at that time there were a number of empty spaces in the hotel car park. You can access the hotel directly from the car park by lifts and stairs, which is really useful when you have cases etc. We had a 2-hour drive to get to Cambridge, so I wanted an early check-in so we could really maximise on our time in Cambridge. We literally checked in and walked straight into the city for lunch and to explore for the afternoon.
The receptionist was really helpful when I asked for directions and provided us with a map of the city and it soon became clear it would be difficult to get lost. The location really works well for a short city break.
My son and I shared a double room and arranged to have breakfast included (£90.65 per night or £83 without breakfast); always easier with little ones in tow I find. The bedroom was on the fourth floor of the hotel, easily accessed by a lift, with a credit card style key system. Our room was at the back of the hotel which backs on to a quiet residential area. The front of the hotel does sit right on Newmarket Road which is a main road into the city.
The room was clean, bright and airy. We were provided with an electric fan which at first I thought was a bit odd. Then I realised there was no air conditioning, not an issue for me as I’m not a ‘fan’ (forget the pun). But even with the window ajar, curtains closed and fan on, my son and I both found the room rather on the hot side when we went to bed. We even set aside the 10.5 tog duvet, which is rare indeed for me.
We had a comfy bed with side shelves – large enough for a pair of glasses or a cup of tea. There was hanging space for clothing including 5 hangers and a shelf for everything else. Some drawer space would have been nice, but then I’m not known for travelling light!
Our room had a desk area and 2 chairs, a large wall mirror, electric fan, electric heater and a wall-mounted TV with a few standard channels including CBeebies. There were tea and coffee-making facilities and plastic cups for water. A bottle opener is mounted on the side of the desk.
The bathroom had a wall-mounted shower with shower curtain and support rail, sink and toilet. Wall pumps provide foam hand wash by the sink and hair and body wash in the shower cubicle. 2 bath towels and 1 hand towel are provided and there was a large wall mounted mirror with 2 shaver points. Everything was spotlessly clean.
Irons/ironing boards and hairdryers are available to borrow from reception too if needed.
Our room was more than adequate for the two of us and the kingsize bed was lovely. It was higher off the ground than our beds at home, but my son managed to not fall out of it.
Breakfast is available from 7 am to 10 am at a cost of £7.65 per adult, children aged 15 and under eat free (2 per adult).
Breakfast and evening meals are provided on the ground floor in an open plan area, which is really light and again, spotless. A number of cereal options are available (not Cheerios though, phew, I bought an emergency supply with me for my fussy son!) along with orange and apple juices, tea and a variety of coffee choices. Everything is buffet style. The cooked breakfast option included scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages (we both thought these were very good), and baked beans. There was also a toasting machine to toast your bread.
Evening meal packages are available from 5 pm. We had planned to try this out on our second night but sadly we had to cut our trip short. I also noticed vending machines in the reception area should you require a quick snack fix.
30 minutes of free wifi per 24 hours is provided and you can buy additional time at £3 per day, a weekly package is also available.
When you have children with you, there is always the chance that things won’t go quite as planned, and this was the case with our trip. My son wasn’t 100% when we arrived on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon he was really rather poorly. An earache progressed to something worse and one mother was left panicking when blood appeared in his ear. It was only at that point it occurred to me that the hotel room didn’t have a phone in it. I needed to contact reception to ask for a list of local doctors surgery’s. I was on the fourth floor, with a little boy I really didn’t want to move. How to contact reception? Luckily the map the receptionist had given me the previous day had the hotel’s direct line number on it. I don’t know if these maps are given out to everyone, I’m pretty sure the couple checking-in before me didn’t receive one. In my opinion, it would be a really good idea for the number to be shown in each room somewhere obvious. If I hadn’t had that map I’d have had to google the company website and call via the main group customer service line – not ideal in this particular scenario.
I do have to say that the receptionist I got through to was fab. I’m pretty sure I was rather incoherent at the time and she was really helpful. Once we’d finally got to see an out of hours doctor we were dealing with a perforated eardrum, penicillin was prescribed. Worth noting that there is a Boots pharmacy literally 2 minutes drive from the hotel. My son really wanted to go home and see his Daddy, and I decided we’d check out that evening. We were both really sad as we’d enjoyed our stay and would have liked to stay longer.
I can recommend the Travelodge Cambridge – Newmarket Road, it was our first experience of a Travelodge, and I think we’d certainly look at staying in one again. It’s ideal if you are looking for a convenient location, and just want a base to explore from.