This is my review of the Holiday Inn Southend which should really be called the Holiday Inn Southend Airport since it is at the airport!
After attending the launch party for the Stobart Jet Centre next door, it seemed crazy to head all the way back to West London just to head back into the City the next morning. The fairly new Holiday Inn Southend was offering a £64 rate including breakfast so, with some Accelerate promotion targets to tick off, I thought I would check it out.
Holiday Inn Southend (click here for the website) is a modern hotel and very well located for the airport. Whilst it is not directly connected to the terminal, it couldn’t be much closer. The walk from Southend Airport railway station is around 4 minutes and from the terminal around 3 minutes. The walk is not covered but there are no roads to cross until you reach the mini-roundabout outside the front door and the pavement is very wide and in good condition.
Some money has clearly been spent on the exterior design of the hotel:
The car park was busy but that seemed to be due to the ‘room and parking’ airport packages being heavily advertised by the door. The lobby itself was deserted and apart from the receptionist I didn’t see a single person between the front door and my room. I was also totally alone when I had breakfast the next morning.
Check in was pleasant but my Ambassador Spire Elite status was fundamentally ignored. There was no acknowledgement of my status – despite the fact that I have no proof that I wasn’t the only guest in the entire hotel, as I never saw anyone else – and no upgrade despite the lack of guests. I was offered some bonus points or a drink and snack as recognition of being “an IHG Rewards Club member”. There was no mention of Spire status either verbally or on the voucher itself. I reckon a Gold member would have got exactly the same.
I had a Standard Room with a sofa bed and I had nothing to complain about. As you can see, it was large and well maintained, with a good sized desk. Internet was free but a little slow.
There were tea and coffee facilities and a safe, together with plenty of lighting.
The only things I found a bit weird were the very tiny bathroom (with an in-bath shower), an odd green light inside the bathroom and the bathroom door itself, which looked like a house door. The green glow from the bathroom seeped through the glass panel of the bathroom door to odd effect!
The toiletries seemed OK but were in dispensers bolted to the wall. You need to be upgraded to get miniature bottles at this hotel.
1935 Rooftop Bar and Restaurant
The real selling point of the Holiday Inn Southend, apart from the location, is the 1935 bar and restaurant. Very excitedly, it tells you that it is “the first rooftop restaurant and bar in Essex” as well as “a first for Holiday inn across the UK”.
It is a smart space. I didn’t eat here in the evening – the Stobart Jet Centre party was well catered – but I did pop in for breakfast.
One thing to note is that there are premium ‘cooked to order’ breakfast dishes available for a reasonable £2.50 supplement – poached haddock and eggs, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and a ‘dish of the day’. At quieter times the kitchen also cooks all standard egg dishes to order to reduce waste.
Plan B, if you don’t walk to eat here, is the 30 second walk to the McDonald’s opposite the hotel!
There are excellent views across the airfield from the restaurant and half of the rooms. Unfortunately, arriving in darkness and leaving in darkness, I never saw them!
There is no pool at the Holiday Inn Southend but there is a fitness suite. It had some treadmills, cross trainers and spin bikes – as much as any traveller passing through was likely to need.
There is nothing to complain about at the Holiday Inn Southend / Holiday Inn Southend Airport, apart from a lack of elite recognition. The hotel is new, fresh and clean with good sized rooms and a ‘statement’ restaurant. I would be more than happy to stay here again. The walk to the airport terminal is a short and safe one and you are only likely to have issues if it is raining.
The Holiday Inn Southend website is here if you want to learn more.
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