We spent the Bank Holiday weekend in Cornwall, using the new British Airways flights from London Heathrow to Newquay.
We spent three nights at the impressive (and expensive) The Idle Rocks hotel in St Mawes. I highly recommend this place as long as you take one of the larger sea view rooms. I won’t do a full review because there is no miles and points angle, but feel free to email me if you have any questions about it.
Due to availability issues, we had to spend our first night elsewhere. Booking a major tourist hotel for just one night in Cornwall during August is tricky, and I settled on the Holiday Inn Express Bodmin Victoria Junction instead.
I paid 17,500 IHG Rewards Club points per room (we needed two). I’ve forgotten the cash price but it was over £100, meaning that I got more than my target 0.4p per point valuation.
I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it …..
Let’s be frank. This is a hotel attached to a service station. Memories of this:
….. sprang to mind. My wife took it surprisingly well when I told her.
It actually turned out very well, and we all agreed that if we had spent the entire four days there it would have been fine.
Where is Holiday Inn Express Bodmin?
Let’s clear something up. Whilst the hotel IS next to a service station, this is NOT your traditional British motorway dump.
Cornwall Services on the A30 is pretty new, opening in 2014. This means it is, at least architecturally, a big step up from the average.
The Holiday Inn Express is brand new, opening in July 2020.
Regular HfP readers will know that I am very positive about Hampton by Hilton, Courtyard by Marriott and Holiday Inn Express. As long as you choose a new one, you will get a sound, reliable product for a good price.
Being brand new, the Holiday Inn Express Bodmin was in excellent condition. There was absolutely nothing to complain about. I’m not going to go into the details, because everyone who has ever stayed in a Hampton / Courtyard / Holiday Inn Express knows what they are getting:
- a standard rectangular room, many with two beds or a bed and sofa bed
- a shower but no bath
- wall mounted toiletries
- a good quality bed
- a colourful decor scheme
- tea and coffee facilities
- free buffet breakfast
- a restaurant serving standard mid market fare
Here’s a picture of the room, but it could be any room in any of the brands I named above:
The reason I wanted to give the hotel a plug is that it has a lot going for it in terms of location. It is a relatively short drive from Newquay Airport if you fly down and rent a car. More importantly, a huge number of Cornwall’s top villages, towns and attractions are within a modest drive.
St Ives and Land’s End are a bit too far. However, if your agenda is Newquay, Padstow, St Austell, the Roseland Peninsula, Truro, Falmouth, the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan etc, it is surprisingly well placed.
Clearly waking up to a view of A30 (although you can’t hear a thing) is not the same as waking up in The Idle Rocks. You are paying a fraction of the cost, however, and can also use IHG Rewards Club points.
The hotel is a FAR better choice than some low quality bed and breakfast. You are getting a far bigger and comfier room, with access to a bar and restaurant, for probably less money.
You are also equally well placed for both the north and south coast, with good road access to both. Basing yourself in a coastal town will mean a lot of driving if you intend to do a lot of sightseeing across the north and south.
If all you want from your Cornish hotel is a cheap, comfy and clean base to come back to late in the evening to plan your outing for the next day, Holiday Inn Express Bodmin does the trick. I’d happily stay there again.
The hotel website is here if you want to find out more.