Newcastle is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city in the North East of England and is always a pleasure to visit. I must admit though the only times I have ever visited it’s been for a reason i.e. gig or sporting event. I’ve never actually visited to explore – my bad! But what I have seen of it, it is a busy city with a thriving night-time economy. So the reason I visited recently – a sporting event, in fact my favourite sport – rugby league. Both Mr ESLT and I are massive rugby league fans; unfortunately we support different teams from our home town of Hull. I am a Hull FC fan (black and white) and he is a Hull Kingston Rovers fan (red and white). Which means derby days in our house are very tense. Once a year the Rugby Football League (RFL) takes the show on the road and hold ‘Magic Weekend’ where each team plays their closest (geographic rival). Previous years have seen the event held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Murrayfield in Edinburgh and the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. This year it was held at St James’ Park Newcastle.
Mr ESLT was left in charge of sorting out accommodation and what a good job he did. He booked the Staybridge Suites. I have stayed at apartments in other major English cities a couple of times – The Chambers in Leeds and The Blue Rainbow in Manchester. Both of which are fantastic if you’re ever looking for accommodation in either city. I love the added bonus of a sitting / dining / kitchen area which you just don’t get with a standard double hotel room. The Staybridge Suites are nothing to look at from the outside. The look like any other generic building in the city but once inside it feels like two different buildings. Parking here is free and plentiful, just please remember to ask the receptionist for the code to get out. The reception is decorated nicely and the receptionists were fantastic and friendly. Mr. ESLT’s brother came with us too so we had two rooms booked. We did arrive before the stated check in time – 3.00pm however we were pleasantly surprised that one room was ready. So we dumped our overnight bags in there and hit ‘the Toon’ which is literally 5 minutes away on foot.
When we returned later that evening it gave me the opportunity to explore the room. We had a studio apartment which was lovely and big. The bathroom alone was massive. The apartment consisted of a fully functional kitchen (minus washing machine), breakfast bar, lounge area with flat screen tv and a king sized bed which was so comfortable. The rooms are decorated modernly yet homely and are very welcoming. Even though we had a kitchen we did not have the opportunity to use it. However, if we had been staying here longer we would have made good use of it. We booked a studio suite which was perfect for our needs, however if you would prefer more space with a separate bedroom then one bedroom suites are also available here.
The best thing about staying here (thinking with my stomach) is the complimentary breakfast which is service in the dining area behind the reception. I didn’t have high hopes about what would be available. How wrong was I. We were treated with a great selection of hot food, breads and pastries, cereals, fruit etc which was just what we needed as we were feeling a tad ‘delicate’ from the festivities the day before together with tea, coffee and various fruit juices. It is a help yourself breakfast buffet which was perfect for me. Also, as soon as anything was empty it was whipped away and replaced in an instant. Also behind the reception area is a small shop where you can buy any supplies that they may have forgotten for your trip together with food which can be cooked in your suite.
The only downside for me was that our room was located on the ground floor next to the laundry which meant we were awoken by the whirling of the washing machines and the ridiculously loud 80’s soft rock music which was blaring from the speakers in the corridor(!) I did mention it as we checked out and the receptionist genuinely seemed concerned about our complaint and said she would turn it down for other customers. All in all I highly recommend the Staybridge Suites, they are a great alternative to a hotel and at £120 per night I think they are great value for money too, especially because of the scrummy breakfast included in the price. So much so we have booked the Staybridge Suites in Stratford for a visit to the Olympic Stadium we have planned in November.