If we go on holiday for a few days break we always tend to stay in a hotel. If it’s just N on myself. For our Easter mini break I actually booked a couple of weeks in advance rather than just the day before like usual. I booked the Marriott hotel York just on the outskirts of the city, with it being close enough to walk into town and also being far enough out that you didn’t have to struggle with the traffic.

I think I’m jinxed in York though. The last time I went with the other half when we were just dating, I booked a guesthouse in York with the two nights as separate bookings because I had a voucher for one night. When we turned up they didn’t have the booking for the first night.

We had an easy journey up and the weather was great for the few days we were due to be away. The hotel is in a good location beside the racecourse and near to the park and ride, but only 1.5 miles walk into the city. We dumped the car, did an initial registration at the hotel and then headed for the walk into town.

York Marriott hotel - Bubbablue and me

Check-in

When we arrived back to check-in we were given a king size bedroom which wasn’t what we had booked. I’d booked a twin room because N is the age where he’s too big to be sharing a bed with me, plus he doesn’t want to. My confirmation said twin/double room, which I didn’t think to check given most hotels have beds that can be split into singles or made up as doubles. I just presumed that as we booked a twin we would arrive and it would be a twin room. But no they didn’t have any twin rooms or any rooms that could be changed into a twin so we were stuck with a king size bed.

N wasn’t keen and neither was I given that we’d specifically booked a twin room. The hotel did offer to either add an extra single bed to the room. Or they could put us in a twin double room for two nights but we’d have to change into a different twin single room for the third night. I didn’t want to switch rooms halfway through our stay, and while we had a big room, it would have been such a squeeze to add an extra bed. We’d have had no room to move around or be able to sit and relax at the table and chair. So we stuck with the king room which apart from N’s sprawling sleep and overheating the bed, was fine.

kingsize bed

In future I’ll definitely check upfront that when we book a twin room that’s what we getting, because I wasn’t impressed when you book online specifically for a twin to then be told sorry it’s a double room.

The room

Our room was a deluxe King and the bed did look massive. The room had all mod cons including a table and chair, desk and chair, huge TV, coffee and tea making facilities, iron, ironing board, safe and after having to ring reception again, the missing hair dryer was replaced.

While the room had air conditioning we preferred to open the window. It’s quite a luxury to have a window that opens nowadays in hotels. We were quite close to the air conditioning units which were noisy but not so noisy that we couldn’t sleep with the window open. I’m not sure how I felt if I’d had a balcony room right above it though. We could just about see out of the window across to the garden and down to the tennis court which N was very excited about.

We did have issues with the television. Now some people might wonder why you need a TV when you’re on holiday, but with a child and in the evening sometimes it’s nice just to relax and spend a bit of time watching the TV. However our remote didn’t work at all, and the first afternoon we only had three channels, then after our evening dinner we couldn’t turn the TV up or down channels at all even using the TV buttons. When I spoke to reception the next morning about it, she was a bit dismissive saying it was due to the hotel having problems with their TV provider not the remote. But we did get someone from facilities up and he fixed it and reset the television and it was working perfectly after that.

We did come back from a second day out to find that housekeeping had been round and propped N’s soft toy up on the bed, and given the soft toy some extra biscuits to eat which N found absolutely hysterical. The next day he proceeded to leave his soft toy out in strategic positions in the hope that he would get given more biscuits.

housekeeping fun with soft toys

Bathroom

The bathroom had a bath with shower over which was perfectly good, warm enough and strong enough pressure which is always important if you’re someone that washes your hair every morning. It was a good size bathroom and toiletries were provided although on this occasion we didn’t bother using those in the bathroom as we bought our own.

toiletries in hotel

I’m not really one who likes soft water when I wash my hair because we’re used to hard water at home. But this was one place where my hair felt really nice after washing it so maybe my hair’s changing over the years, or maybe the York water is just better than other places we’ve been to with soft

Hotel facilities

The hotel has the usual bar and restaurant, a lovely garden with seating areas and places to walk, and the leisure club. This includes a 13 metre indoor pool with a small toddler area off it, a gym with free weights and machines, sauna and jacuzzi. There’s one tennis court outside, overlooking the racecourse and grandstand. Residents can use the facilities for free and towels are provided for use in the pool or the leisure centre. With proper changing rooms it was really easy to go in the pool, rather than faffing around trying to work out how you were going to change or get back to your room without dripping water everywhere which we’ve had at other hotels before.

I was too lazy to get changed and go in the pool but N went in with me supervising from the side. It’s the first time he’s been old enough and a strong enough swimmer to be able to do that outside fun swim at his lessons. The pool is only 1.2 metres deep so that’s a nice easy depth for him too. He had a great time with his dive sticks, and did a few lengths swimming – it’s nice to see his breast stroke coming on. It wasn’t too busy when we were there, but in the mornings just after breakfast, and before and after tea time it always looked packed. It doesn’t take much to crowd a small pool – it only needs 2 families to turn up, so if you actually want to swim you might struggle during school holidays. Or head here late – the pool is open til 11pm.

We were told the tennis court is usually booked on weekday evenings between 5-7pm but otherwise we were able to just get the key from the leisure club and head down when we wanted. It’s a nice walk through the garden, and the court is perfectly ok for a game. We had a good 40 minutes out there before I was too hot and bothered and had to go in. We had our own balls and rackets with us, I assume you need to book in advance if you need to borrow some from the leisure club.

hotel garden view

Breakfast

Probably the highlight of our stay was breakfast. N deemed the cooked breakfast very good, and my scrambled eggs were nice. There’s a good choice for a full English breakfast, plus cereals, yoghurt and fruit, continental meats and pastries, rye and soda breads as well as normal wholemeal and white bread.

hotel restaurant at breakfast
breakfast breads

You can also ask for porridge, waffles, omelette and pancakes, so there’s a good choice. What I liked is that they give you traffic light and wait times to show which time slot for breakfast is busiest and might mean you have to wait for a table. We were always down before 8am, so it wasn’t a problem for us, but later on more people had to sit in the other areas of the restaurant.

fruits at breakfast
english breakfast
hotel breakfast

The staff

We found every staff member we talked to pleasant and helpful. Whether that was reception, housekeeping, leisure club or staff at breakfast. It really helps make your stay nicer if everyone who works there enjoys being there and is receptive to questions.

Helpfully they have bus timetables in reception (buses run every 11 minutes from not far outside the hotel), and staff were able to answer our questions or solve any issues (aside from the room).

The best bits of Marriott hotel York

  • The location. Easy to get in or out of the centre, by car, bus or walking.
  • Free parking, which is hard to come by in York, many hotels charge up to £25 a night.
  • Fast free wifi plus internet tv, so we could link up to our iplayer account which was great for N.
  • Swimming pool and tennis court – with the former having no time restrictions for children swimming
  • Breakfast – lots of choice and tasted good.

The not so good

  • The room issue – more clarity is needed when booking online to give people the opportunity to know that they need to confirm that a twin room is non-negotiable. If I’d been travelling with a friend I wouldn’t want to share a bed with them but we might have been stuck doing so in the same situation.
  • Room upgrade offers seem to be automatically offered the day before, but none were ever going to be available because the hotel was fully booked over the week we were there. This seems a bit silly to me, because as the receptionist said, if there was an upgrade available on arrival, they’d likely upgrade you to a better room anyway. The upgrades shouldn’t be automated, it seems like a waste of everyone’s time.
  • Soft pillows and beds. The pillows may as well have not been there – having 2 didn’t make a difference – and I found the bed very soft too, nearly rolling out of the side a couple of times which never usually happens. I still slept, but maybe not as well as I might have done.

For a weekend break hotel, the Marriott Hotel York is a good options for couples and families. It was also a lot cheaper than many of the other similar standard hotels we’ve stayed in over the years.

Have you been to York before? Where did you stay?

child friendly hotels
successful mini breaks
types of holidays

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