Not all Hilton Hotels are created equal. On our end of summer trip to the UK, we stayed in two different Hiltons in Dan's hometown of Newbury and for roughly the same price, we had very different experiences.
Our first was the Hilton Newbury North. On the plus side, this Hilton is in a great location. It is conveniently located within walking distance to a 24 hour Tescos, among other stores and restaurants. We were also very close to Dan's family, making it easy to visit.
We were given the Plaza Suite room, which would seem to imply a higher standard of room. It was big and spacious, but also old and in need of a remodel.
The room was always cold and the thermostat never seemed to warm it up enough. We asked the front desk for extra blankets and they had run out. We were given an extra duvet cover, which helped a bit, but it was thin and so huge that it was awkward. The front desk staff was nearly always grumpy and the hotel was loud with conventioneers and big wedding groups.
I might not be so critical towards the Hilton North, if I had not had the pleasure of staying at the Hilton Newbury Centre Hotel. We picked up Dan's kids from the airport and moved to the Newbury Centre, a much newer and more modern Hilton.
Immediately, the difference in the two Hiltons was clear. We were greeted with a cheerful lobby and at check-in my step-kids were each given an activity packet filled with crafts and stickers. We booked a family room, which was enormous and comfortable. We would have been happy to stay here for our entire trip.
In addition to our lovely room, Newbury Centre had wonderful amenities. The kids absolutely loved the indoor pool, where they were allowed to borrow flotation aids and the staff was super friendly. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet on multiple days. It had plenty of hot and cold options, plus made-to-order items. Again, this hotel was great with kids, as they gave them hot chocolate in a fancy glasses with heaps of whipped cream. Hey, it was vacation! They even gave the kids juice boxes and snacks to go. The kids were always given a special greeting from the staff and made to feel important.
We left Newbury to travel around England and returned for the last two days before the kids had their flight back to Sweden. We had been in the mindset that we had booked at Newbury Centre, but we had actually booked at Hilton North. We tried to change to reservations, but Newbury Center was completely full. We were all sad to miss out on the wonderful pool for the last days of our time together.
The Hilton North was actually worse than when Dan and I stayed there alone. Right off the bat, we had to deal with the indifferent staff that didn't even acknowledge the kids, let alone make them feel like special guests as they had been treated at the other Hilton.
We were given a family room, which was even smaller than the suite that Dan and I had on our previous stay. The room was in desperate need of a remodel, especially the mattresses, which were flat and springy. We all had difficulty sleeping because the beds were so uncomfortable. Luckily it was only for two nights! In the picture of the bed below, imagine another bed on the other side, a mirror image. The TV was in the middle, where nobody had a great view.
Finally, the lovely view from our room.
If you're planning a trip to Newbury, make sure to book at the Newbury Centre Hilton! If you're booking at a Hilton (or any chain hotel), don't anticipate a certain standard of service, read the reviews before you book. This diversity in the two hotels has made me realize the importance of TripAdvisor. Use it!