Monday, 22 February 2016

Travelodge - Cambridge Central

Cambridge Leisure Park
Clifton Way

Breakfast served daily until 11am


I forgot to get an exterior shot of the hotel so here's a photo of the bed instead. Our room was a generous size and despite being in the centre of an entertainment complex we slept soundly in this well insulated hotel.

There was a breakfast menu in the room, I usually go elsewhere for breakfast when staying at a Travelodge but this time we would finally be trying it.

On paper it sounded fairly promising with plenty of big name brands listed and an option for vegetarians. I was already starting to wonder if I could manage everything on the menu and the fact they serve breakfast till 11am was a real bonus.

We were going to see The Savages at The Junction, a few metres away from the Travelodge. A great band and an impressive venue, unlike Norwich UEA you could actually see what was going on here.

After the gig had finished we returned back to the Travelodge, this is where we would be eating breakfast in the morning.

With a mild hangover we got up for breakfast and chose to sit at this table for two by the window.

I'm not a fan of cereal so took a pic and kept walking.

I didn't hang around long in this area either.

This was what I was looking for! In these situations it's always best to prepare everything else first though.

My wife popped some bread into the toaster.

We grabbed some hot drinks and orange juice, both essential with a hangover!

The orange juice was excellent and the coffee was nice. We were a bit disappointed with sunflower spread but it wasn't the end of the world.

Back at the hot food section I started to fill my plate.

My wife was delighted to find some veggie sausages and real tomatoes.

Back at the table we had everything we needed so we sat down to eat.

HP sauce and Heinz ketchup in sachets were already on the table beside the salt and pepper.

 I decided that triple sausage and bacon were needed to shift the hangover, usually fried eggs work wonders too but only scrambled eggs are available here.

The bacon was quite pale and didn't look too appealing, I rapidly hid it between some toast with ketchup.

The sausages were a basic Cumberland variety, quite firm and plump. Not the greatest sausage but far better than the dreaded air filled, foam textured economy variety, I later returned for a forth.

McCain hash browns, quite soft and chewy.

The scrambled eggs were pale and bland, the mushrooms were quite dry but the tomatoes tasted great.

My earlier disappointment with the sunflower spread soon ended when my wife found some real butter. I didn't want any more cooked items so went to fetch a croissant.

This was the highlight of my breakfast, a croissant with real butter and Nutella.

I enjoyed it so much I returned for another, this time with blackcurrant jam.

We were going to see The Savages at Cambridge Junction and decided to stay over night rather than leave early to catch the last train back to Norwich. With a Travelodge just moments away from the venue I booked a room with unlimited breakfast. We'd stayed at numerous Travelodge's over the years but usually on a room only basis. Having had very little luck at finding a decent breakfast in Cambridge I decided now was a good time to see what Travelodge had to offer...

Upon entering - The lady on reception asked us for our room number and checked us off her list. We were delighted to find an almost empty breakfast room, we were there at just gone 9am, I'm guessing it gets busier closer to 11am. The breakfast area was nicely lit with large windows covering one side, all the tables were laid with cutlery, serviettes and condiments. There was a vast selection of food and drink available, you serve yourself and could eat as much as you liked. Having been in many buffet breakfast situations in the past (often abroad) I knew that getting things in the correct order was crucial. I find the best order is fruit juices, hot drinks, toast and finally cooked breakfast. There was background music at just the right volume, everything was nice and clean and it was a pleasant environment to eat breakfast in, even with a hangover! Buffet breakfast areas are generally my least favourite place to eat breakfast in as they are often hectic and confusing. This was certainly the best I'd come across yet, a well thought out layout and not at all claustrophobic. 8/10

Service - There isn't very much to say about service really as we only had a brief encounter with the lady on reception taking our room number, she was very friendly though asking us if we had enjoyed our stay. There was a member of staff who appeared occasionally replenishing items, I guess we could have asked her for any help had we needed it but on this occasion we took care of everything ourselves. One thing did really stand out though, when checking in to the hotel and checking out at the end the staff were all really friendly, enthusiastic and happy to serve us. 8/10

Contents - Sausages, vegetarian sausages, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, beans, hash browns, tomatoes, toast, croissants, fruit salad, cereal, yogurt, hot drinks and fruit juice. Certainly a vast selection of items on offer here and you can eat as much as you like, not a fried egg or black pudding slice to be seen anywhere though. 8/10

Presentation - If you don't like the way your food has been served then you only have yourself to blame here! The presentation of the items on offer was clean and tidy, separate serving spoons and tongs were available for each item. 7/10

The food - The first thing to mention is that the cooked breakfast selection is kept hot but not piping hot, so by the time you start eating you will find everything on the plate soon becomes warm. The bacon was quite pale looking but tasted reasonable enough between some toast. The sausages were described as premium on the menu, the Cumberland variety were not bad at all, I was half expecting an economy catering sausage but the texture and taste of these was actually pretty good. The hash browns were quite chewy but tasted ok, the mushrooms quite dry and the beans sat in a lot of juice. The scrambled eggs had very little flavour but the tomatoes were quite tasty. So not the greatest breakfast but this was mainly down to the fact it wasn't particularly hot, I did return for another sausage though as they were quite nice. For me the highlight of this breakfast was the croissants eaten with real butter, Nutella and jam, delicious! The fresh orange juice and coffee was really nice too. 5/10

Value for money - For £7.95 you can eat and drink as much as you like and kids eat for free. If you're looking to fill yourself up for the day then this is great news, if you're looking to eat a really nice cooked breakfast though then you may want to consider the room only option. 7/10

Veggie option - Linda McCartney sausages are available. 

Overall - This was certainly the best Travelodge we've stayed in so far, good sound proofing ensuring you get a good nights sleep, spacious and clean rooms and really friendly staff. The breakfast was pretty much what I was expecting to find, just a shame it wasn't hotter though. We were hoping to have lunch in Cambridge later in the day but we had eaten too much for breakfast so this never happened. If you're looking for a delicious breakfast with locally sourced ingredients then this won't be for you, far better to find a local cafe or pub. If you're looking to fill yourself up for the day without spending a fortune though then this is a reasonable option, especially if you have kids as they can eat for free. 7/10

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