Review: Red Wings Lodge, Dunstable

Tucked on the A5 near Hockcliffe, the Red Wings Lodge Dunstable is a basic but friendly motel style hotel, reminiscent of travelodge, but with a few personal, friendly touches that probably elevate it slightly above the normal travelodge standard.We were met by a very friendly receptionist who couldn’t do enough for us, which was a pleasant change from some hotels we have stayed in recently.

Our ground floor room was airy and clean, albeit a little warm in the intense heatwave (31’C outside).  Basically equipped with TV, kettle and a small supply of tea, coffee, sugar and milk.

The bed was clean with spotless linen, with a rather springy but hardly uncomfortable mattress.   A sofa bed was also in the room which seemed perfectly adequate.

Fixtures and fittings, curtains and carpets in the main room were clean, well looked after and perfectly adequate for a short stay – we would normally go for something a little more luxurious for longer stays, but that’s just our choice.  I always think a grubby carpet or dirty curtains is telling of the general ethos of a hotel, neither of which applied to this hotel.

The bathroom was also clean, ALMOST free from mould (a pet hate of mine on tiles and bathroom fittings) but looking a little tired.  The shower was dated and would benefit from changing for a thermostatic unit.

Some reviewers have complained about noise, fortunately for us the A5 was closed at night for roadworks so it was deathly silent except for the occasional jet flying over from Luton airport.

In reception there was a water cooler and two flavours of squash available for customers – not something you see every day.

A small vending machine with an assortment of items was also in reception.

While it was nice to get breakfast included, for me it was a bit too basic, with self service “buffet” toast and a wide selections of jams and spreads, and a good selection of cereals and porridge, but nothing like danish, fruit, yogurts or anything hot.   (In fairness, it was exactly as advertised on booking.com)   Orange juice was available in a large jug chilled in the mini fridge.   Toast doesn’t suit me and I end up with chronic indigestion most times I eat it, so it would have been nice to have an alternative.

The breakfast area was four tables in reception which had difficulty catering for all of the guests, and there were no clear instructions for what to do with finished dishes and plates so these just got piled up on a table in the buffet area.   We discovered afterwards a small garden area to the front where we could have taken our breakfast, but only due to the perfect weather.

If this doesn’t sound your thing, there’s a McDonald’s about a minute up the road, or Buddies american diner next door do a full complement of american style breakfasts.

Value wise, the hotel is reasonably priced, and much cheaper than many other local hotels, but then again it is of a lower standard than most of them.

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For a few pounds more we could have stayed at either of the nearby Holiday Inn Express hotels, where we would have been guaranteed a decent breakfast.

Talking about Buddies, we had booked a table at the nearby Harvester in Hockcliffe but when we saw the diner standing right next door to the hotel, we cancelled our table and had a very reasonable meal in the diner – they do a fair selection of main courses to suit most tastes.  And their two page Burger Heaven menu is just either awesome or totally ridiculous depending on how you feel about burgers.  In hindsight it’s a good job we did, with the road being closed.
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Would we stay again?  For convenience and price then I might consider it, but the better breakfast would put our favourite Holiday Inn Express back in first place, despite the slightly higher price.

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Rob and Sue’s World Traveller visited Red Wings Lodge, Dunstable in August 2018.

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