Review: Welbeck Hotel, Talbot Street, Nottingham

I just got back from another weekend in Nottingham and this time I stayed at the hotel that is right next to Rock City, partly because it was the cheapest hotel available for the night and partly because HIM – no other excuse needed.

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Nottingham Castle Museum and Galleries

I took advantage of this afternoon’s unseasonably warm sunshine to go for a walk in to Nottingham and explore a little bit. I have found the place I’m going for breakfast tomorrow and a shop I want to go in on the way to catch my train. Today however I eventually made my way to the Castle and spent a couple of hours exploring the grounds, museum and galleries. I thought some of the exhibitions were very interesting – ‘Threads’ especially – and clearly curated with children in mind.

http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/article/22225/Visiting-Nottingham-Castle

 

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Review: The Strathdon Hotel, Derby Road, Nottingham

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I found this hotel on bookings.com, and for two nights I was pleased with the price. Unusually enough I was able to get a single room. It was an easy hotel to get to from the train station, once I got to Maid Marion Way, and very close to Rock City which was a bonus.

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Hot night in Rock City

Yes, you are getting a cheesy title for this review; I am, after all, reviewing an incredibly cheesy band.They are fantastic fun though. I’m half deaf and can’t speak either from all the singing I did. Plus I got really close to the front!

Down to the serious stuff though.

Reckless Love

Rock City, Nottingham

Support: Laura Wilde

Jalle Verne and Olli Herman - Bassist and singer - prancing about on stage.
Jalle Verne and Olli Herman – bassist and singer – prancing about on stage.

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Hotel Review: Premier Inn, City Centre, Nottingham

Goldsmith Street

Nottingham

NG1 5LT

 

Cost: £37 (inc. online booking fee)

Double room, 1 adult, no refund available if cancelled.

 

I stayed here in December and was quite impressed except that then I had booked a twin room and we got a family room instead – I ended up in a child’s bed while my companion got the double bed. So, as it’s ten minutes away from Rock City, essentially just around the corner from that venue, it seemed the obvious place to stay again.

The Staff

I arrived in the late afternoon and was greeted by cheerful reception staff members who efficiently dealt with my check in and directed me to my room after answering questions about the restaurant and bar without hesitation.

The servers in the restaurant, later that evening and in the morning, were personable, helpful and quick to assist. They were very solicitous of my comfort without being pushy.

The Hotel

It was clean, quiet, and good value for money, providing budget accommodation that didn’t feel ‘budget’. In a good location near Nottingham Trent University, the shopping and entertainment areas of Nottingham and on the tram route (there’s a stop almost outside the door) it’s a central point if you are visiting the city for business or pleasure. The use of key cards to use the lifts and to enter the hotel after 11pm made me feel secure. Check in is from 2.00pm and check out is 11.00am.

My Room

The room was clean and comfortable. Facilities included a compact bathroom, with four towels; freeview television; hairdryer; desk and chair; easy chair and small table; tea and coffee (plus rather slow boiling kettle), as well as a 30 minutes free WiFi. I didn’t make use of the WiFi but the instructions for connecting to it were very simple and explained on a card in the room. I could have done with clearer instructions on how to use the television though.

The bed was firm but comfortable; the bedding was of a good quality. There was adequate lighting and heating, although I found the room a little too warm during the night. If I hadn’t been so exhausted I’d have got up and changed the temperature – instructions for this were provided.

I slept well, disturbed only by the creaking above as people moved about of the top floor about midnight – I can’t have been the only one who went out for the evening. I wasn’t disturbed in the morning by traffic noise or other people getting up, their noise was muted.

The bath/shower were easy to use, and the water temperature fairly comfortable and easy to adjust. The towels provided were of a good size and quality.

Food

The restaurant is open 5.00pm – 10.00pm for evening meals and 6.30am – 10.30am for breakfast.

I had the Premier Breakfast which was excellent value (£8.25 all you can eat full English and continental breakfasts) and cooked just right, neither too hot nor cold, nor had any of it dried out (or become soggy) under the heater. It was very filling and kept me going until I got home mid-afternoon.

On Monday evening I had the chicken Caesar salad. A full, and substantial, chicken breast had been grilled then sliced up. The salad was fresh and crunchy, there was a touch to much dressing and cheese for my taste but I certainly enjoyed it.

I was seated quickly and waited only 20 minutes for my meal. The menu selection was comprehensive although it seemed to lack in basic meals – everything was a little too fussy and pricey.

Overall

A good value budget hotel, with decent rooms and friendly staff. Eat breakfast there, but tea (dinner, supper) elsewhere unless you really don’t fancy wandering around the city. Book rooms as far in advance as you can for the best prices. I booked three months in advance and chose the cheapest option but without the opportunity to get a refund if I cancelled.

It’s near the city centre and easy to get to from the train station – either by walking or tram. If you walk it takes 20 – 30 minutes, depending on how fit you are – a lot of the way is uphill.

I enjoyed my stay at this Premier Inn, and next time I’m in Nottingham I shall stay there again.

Rose

Concert Review: Halestorm

Nottingham Rock City

11th March 2013

Support: Sacred Mother Tongue

             In This Moment

 

I’ve finally recovered enough to write, although I think I’ve come down with a chill from standing in the cold waiting to get in. Either that or all the singing has completely wrecked my throat. So I had a great night, eventually, if you hadn’t already realised that. But I’m supposed to be reviewing the whole night, not just Halestorm.

Doors opened at 7.30pm and I left my hotel and strolled up to Rock City at about 7.50pm, getting there for 8pm. Which was a massive mistake; I should have got there much earlier and waited in the queue. But I’m not much good at queuing so I stayed at my hotel and listened to Kerrang! radio instead. Anyway, there was queue, a massive queue. The crowd were cheerful, even in the cold, and the anticipation of a good night was palpable.

Rock City’s door staff are efficient enough that I was only waiting for ten minutes to get in. The Main Room, in which Sacred Mother Tongue were already playing, was packed almost to the doors. I managed to get myself a decent place to stand and stayed there for the rest of the night.

Halestorm: As good live as they are on their records.
Halestorm: As good live as they are on their records.

Sacred Mother Tongue

8.00pm – 8.25pm

Andy James – Guitars

Darrin South – Vocals

Josh Gurner – Bass

Lee Newell – Drums

I managed to hear the last fifteen minutes of their set, three songs – and I actually recognised one of them (Seven, from their EP ‘A Light Shines’)! I really quite liked this band, even if occasionally their singer, Darrin South, swerves in to yelling rather than singing, their guitarist (Andy James) is spectacular and the songs are really good. Their set was a great way to start the night.

After the gig I bought their EP from the merch stand; it was an enjoyable listen this morning, certainly woke me up anyway. I had a listen to their album ‘The Ruin of Man’, it was slightly heavier than ‘A Light Shines’ but still enjoyable. I shall look forward to hearing their new album ‘Out of the Darkness (released 15th April 2013).

They are also performing on the main stage of Download on Sunday 16th June 2013, and I shall undoubtedly be there to see them.

In This Moment

8.45pm – 9.20pm

Maria Brink – Vocals

Chris Howorth – Lead Guitar

Travis Johnson – Bass

Randy Weitzel – Guitar

Tom Hane – Drums

 

I’d never heard of this band before Monday night, and I’d happily never hear from them again.

The singer tried, possibly too hard, but no amount of props and swirly hair can make up for the fact that her voice is weak, she didn’t annunciate clearly – I had no idea what she was saying most of the time – and her voice had the same effect as nails on chalkboards i.e. I wanted to plug my ears with cheese. The rest of the band was good though. They dressed up in a slightly less silly a manner than Ms Brink, while still being  a bit daft, their stage antics and interaction with the crowd as well as their skill with their instruments almost made up for the shockingly bad singing and incoherent lyrics. They almost had me bobbing along to the second song but I lost interest again on the third.

Strangely enough, I didn’t bother getting anything of theirs from the merchandise desk on my way out.

Halestorm

9.40pm – 11.00pm

Lzzy Hale – Vocals, Piano

Arejay Hale – Drums

Joseph Hottinger – Guitar, Vocals

Josh Smith – Bass Guitar, Vocals

 

It’s not often a band sounds as good live as they do on their records but Halestorm are definitely one of those that do. Playing a set that mostly consisted of the songs from their most recent album ‘The Strange Case of…’ as well as a couple of covers, and the odd song from ‘Halestorm’, they opened with Grammy awards winning ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’.

Lzzy Hale is an engaging front woman, who sings with passion and plays her guitars with skill. Her ‘Beautiful with You’ almost moved me to tears, while ‘Daughters of Darkness’ had the crowd screaming along. Her interaction with the audience was a mixture of rabble-rousing and humility. She couldn’t thank us enough for coming to see them.

Arejay Hale is an impressive drummer; his drum solo during ‘Daughters of Darkness’ was certainly memorable, especially after he threw his sticks in to the crowd and continued with his hands, and then the gigantic drumsticks. He also suggested, before ‘I Get Off’ that Nottingham should change its name to Naughtyham.

The Hale’s are an amusing pair but their guitarist and bass player are no less impressive musicians for not being as forward. The chemistry and friendship between every single member of Halestorm was obvious, as was the fact that they were having fun.

I had a great night, and invested in a t-shirt, patch and signed copy of ‘The Strange Case Of…’ to remember it by.

 

I’m not going to dissemble; I went to Rock City hoping that Halestorm would impress live as they did on their records and I was not disappointed. I discovered a new band, Sacred Mother Tongue, which I will try to see again, and saw a band, In This Moment, that I hope never to have to hear again. Other people might disagree, but then I heard a few people mutter that they didn’t think much to the support acts either.

Well, that’s my review of the night. Going to rest again now, I still feel rather rough,

Rose