These days we never seem to be at home. So many of our friends are getting married and many are buying new houses, having babies, celebrating big birthdays and as a result throwing big parties to celebrate. As much as we love celebrating with our friends, hotel stays and all that goes with it (eating out, parking etc.) soon mounts up, which I discussed in my post about economising on hotels.
An option we've never tried, or even really investigated is serviced apartments. Over the bank holiday weekend we leapt over the Pennines (actually VWs don't leap, they're cars - less of the twee, me) to spend the weekend in Huddersfield. We were invited* to stay two nights at the Heritage Lofts Serviced Suites at Wellington Mill in Lindley and never having stayed in serviced apartments we weren't too sure what to expect. They're billed as a self-catering alternative to a 4 star hotel and offer deals from as little as £39 a night for a studio, so we had to check out if they were a good option for thrifty travelling folk.
One thing I really hate with hotels is check in, especially when you're arriving just after rush hour on a Friday night, so it was lovely to skip all of that as a start off point. We were emailed all of our check in details so all we had to do was take advantage of the free parking and follow the James Bond style instructions in the email. Find a secret door way, scale the side of a building, enter pass codes and enter a secret password hidden floor, very spy like. I was one forward roll away from from a role in Diamonds Are Forever.
Actually it was really simple, in the evening reception is closed so you just locate a safe containing an envelope, enter the code provided for you in your email and take the envelope with your name on it. The details inside guide you to your room and there's no standing around in reception behind that annoying guy angling for an upgrade. It's all fool proof and we were in our suite less than 5 minutes after pulling up to the mill.
The suites are housed in Wellington Mill which is a worth a visit even if you're not staying overnight. An old Victorian textile mill, the complex has plenty of space to offer up a beauty salon, bistro, hairdressers, gym along with office space and more with a really creative vibe to it. It makes for a nice area to stay and everyone we encountered was really friendly and enthusiastic.
We stayed in the Scarborough Suite, which was decorated with a subtle and not intrusive (sometimes themed rooms can be overbearing, can't they?) seaside theme. The suite is a one bedroom apartment complete with a huge living area, kitchen and great sized bathroom with a pretty impressive bath. I loved the beams and (what felt like, after living in a basement flat for so long) miles and miles of walls and exposed brickwork all the way up to the roof.
The views were incredible and the lashing rain against the windows and skylight made looking out over the remote hills pretty romantic.
We were left undisturbed for the weekend, save for our kitchen bin being emptied on Saturday afternoon. We loafed around in pyjamas, watched DVDs, walked the dog (the apartments are dog friendly) on the hills, met up with friends and explored local parks and villages before cooking tasty food and sloping off the four poster bed for a snooze.
It was the perfect time for us to get away because our neighbour tends to go berserk over the bank holiday, it was delicious to curl up in a quite apartment and watch beautiful sunsets and feel totally at home. We always fall into the trap of eating out when we stay at hotels or surviving on a bit of cheese we shove in the mini bar with bread to save money, so it was nice to cook ourselves something (we had a two ring hob, microwave and kettle along with pots, pans and plates on hand) and fill the fridge with our cheap-o Aldi Pimms knock off rather than shell out mini bar prices.
The only negatives we could find were some of the paint work was starting to look a bit tired in the bathroom, which we felt let down the really pretty decor and the towels weren't nearly fluffy enough for hotel standards. I'm not actually a big fluffy towel fan at home but when I'm away I like the fluffy part, it's a stupid thing but it adds to the experience of staying away from home. But that was it, everything else was great. The suite was huge, huge and comfortable too. It was clean, pretty, bright, airy and easy to find and make use of. It had an element of luxury but we still felt at home, which is a great mix. We loved that we could bring Jarvis too. He is an important part of our lives so it was great to take him on a little holiday too. He LOVED the space and as a Yorkshire Terrier, I'm pretty certain he was excited for only his second ever over night stay in Yorkshire.
Staying in a serviced apartment affords you the luxury of staying at home (my favourite thing, I'm a real homebody) without, y'know....staying at home. Oh and you still get chocolates on your bed, which is always nice. It's the little things, huh? We'd definitely stay in serviced apartments again and particularly at Heritage Serviced Suites because they felt like a home away from home. If you can good deal when staying away definitely opt for serviced apartments because they save you money on the things which start to add up like parking, alcohol and food.
A Thrifty Mrs readers can get a fab 10% discount when quoting 'THRIFTY' when booking via phone.
TTFN,P.S. *Our stay was provided for free but I was not obliged to share on my blog.
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