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  • How a disused parcel works became a work of art

    Art in the Arch@Sleeperz is a free gallery space in an original railway arch in the heart of a Newcastle Hotel

    You can’t switch on the TV these days without watching a makeover show.

    Teams of experts transforming old barns, historic farmhouses and ramshackle castles into dream homes.

    We have a makeover story of our own.

    Instead of just one happy owner, thousands of people every year now have the opportunity to enjoy the special hotel we’ve created on a site of a disused and derelict parcel works in Newcastle city centre.

    More than seven years ago we learned about a ramshackle old works site alongside the East Coast Edinburgh to London mainline in the centre of a conservation district in the Geordie capital.

    Disused industrial parcel works on the site of today's Sleeperz Newcastle

    From disused parcel works to a RIBA award winning hotel in the heart of Newcastle

     

    Awkward and Unusual Space
    The space was awkward and unusual and butted onto the end of a series of original railway arches.

    You wouldn’t have looked at it and thought it could be transformed into a curved and gleaming award-winning building.

    Or, that it would offer stylish contemporary hotel rooms less than two minutes from Newcastle City Centre.

    Working with Clash Architects, the team behind our first design-led budget hotel in Cardiff, we set out to bring our passion for spaces and places to the North East of England.

    We won an award, from RIBA no less, the Royal Institute of British Architects; for architectural excellence.

    View of Sleeperz Hotels Newcastle - iconic building

    We didn’t scrimp on anything.

    • Wet room pods built by the same engineers and craftspeople who used to make Bentley’s
    • Showers by Grohe
    • Sinks by Villeroy & Boch
    • Floating shelving
    • Free hanging wardrobes that are fashionable, minimalist and functional

    Well, our Newcastle Hotel is 1-year-old and we are throwing a party this week to celebrate as well as opening our first-ever art gallery space inside a hotel.

    Art in the Arch@Sleeperz is a free exhibition of light-based art and urban city-scape photography.

    It has been installed in a passageway beneath an original railway arch and is open to the public and hotel guests.

     

    Art in the Arch@Sleeperz - exhibition of light based art in Newcastle

    Mick Stephenson’s art work shares Sleeperz’s passion for industry, design, architecture and building

     

    We have a passion for spaces and places and for art, architecture and design and so we decided to invite North East artists who share that passion to fill this space and share art with our guests.

    Art in the Arch@Sleeperz is being curated by Carlo Viglianisi and Nick Maylan of Empty Shop, an independent not-for-profit arts organisation, based in Durham.

    Empty Shop regenerates empty and disused spaces, turning them into art studios and holds events, exhibitions and workshops.

    There is also a photo-essay curated by architectural photographer Steve Mayes telling the story of how Sleeperz Newcastle was built in pictures.

    Light artist Mick Stephenson is also exhibiting light-based sculptures inspired by building, architecture and design.

    Mick Stephenson's Art in the Arch@Sleeperz exhibition

    Wooden figures interact with light in this art work suspended from the walls high above the hotel restaurant

    Mick spent 20 years as a sound and lighting technician in the music business and 15 years working in construction. His Fusion installation featured 4,000 pieces of everyday materials lit with LED lighting, and was commissioned for Lumiere 2011 – Durham’s bi-annual winter festival of light.

    Get this, it costs less to light this entire exhibition than it does to boil a kettle.

    If you share our passion for spaces and places stop by Art in the Arch@Sleeperz. Exhibition opens from Thursday February 21st and runs until May 21st 2013.

     

     

  • Newcastle Guffaw Guide – Super-Six Comedy Clubs in Newcastle

    Newcastle is a top city for comedy clubs

    January has to be the most depressing month of the year.

    Christmas over, all spent up, waiting for pay day and nothing to watch on TV except weight loss and bake-off programmes.

    Add to that freezing weather and dark nights and it’s fair to say you need something fun to lift your spirits.

    Geordies love a good laugh and so it’s no surprise the city is full of comedy clubs and pubs holding open mic events.

    The staff at our Newcastle city centre Hotel have recommended their Super-Six comedy clubs in Newcastle, so if you are staying in Toon get your laughing boots on and gan canny!

    1. The Stand Comedy Club – Newcastle’s newest comedy club
    2. The Hyena Café – one of the city’s longstanding venues for mirth slap bang in the city centre
    3. The Grinning Idiot Comedy Club – with venues across the North East, the Grinning Idiot is guaranteed to deliver a laugh
    4. The Suggestibles – brilliant improvisational comedy troupe that gig at venues around Newcastle, check their website for a gig diary.
    5. Live Stand Up – Newcastle’s Live Theatre regularly hosts stand up nights with top class North East comedians.
    6. The Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre – regularly hosts big name comics like North East favourite Sarah Millican and American comic Reginald D Hunter.

    If you have any recommendations for great comedy clubs in Newcastle, we’d like to hear them. You can post them in the reply box below or on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/sleeperzhotels

  • 10 reasons to wake up in a city centre hotel over the Holidays

    Cardiff City Centre

    There’s no doubt about it, the festive holidays is party time, when most of us get together with family and friends, eat, drink and make merry.

    It’s great fun but preparing a Christmas dinner, zipping from festive bash to family shindig, and eating lots of naughty treats can be exhausting and leave your batteries in need of a recharge.

    Fitting in a budget city centre hotel break over the festive period can be just the tonic for holiday hangovers and bulging waist lines.

    Here are Sleeperz Hotels 10-reasons to wake up in a city centre hotel over the holidays.

    1. You can go to bed at 9pm and turn off your mobile phone and catch up on all the sleep you lost this year
    2. You can lie in for as long as you want
    3. You can be first to the post-Christmas sales if you stay in the centre of Newcastle or Cardiff
    4. There’s no washing up – at all
    5. A great big cooked breakfast with sausages, bacon and eggs is one of the best cures for a hangover
    6. You don’t have to miss out on a festive tipple, city centre breaks mean you can walk everywhere
    7. You can hole up in your room and catch up with TV programs you’ve missed.
    8. You only have to watch re-runs of James Bond and Wallace and Grommit if you really want to
    9. There’s no getting caught by your next door neighbour and dragged in for a sherry and a mince pie
    10. You can switch off and have quiet time without having to play Trivial Pursuit, Charades or Give us a clue

    If staying in hotel and recharging your batteries over the holidays sounds like a good idea, Sleeperz Hotels offer great value festive city breaks in Newcastle and Cardiff just minutes from both Central stations, with room, breakfast and free wi-fi starting from £45 per night.

    Check out our latest accommodation offers in Cardiff and Newcastle

  • Five money-saving tips for throwing the office Christmas party

    long

    Living in the so-called age of austerity hasn’t been good for the annual office Christmas party, with many bosses cancelling them altogether or setting a scrooge-like limit of £10 per person.

    The thing is, the office Christmas party has come to represent a pat on the back for employees – a reward for all their hard work and perseverance even though pay rises and bonuses are rare these days.

    Some companies worry about how it will look to the outside world and their competitors if they throw a big festive bash at a time when people are struggling.

    There is a way for the boss to have his Christmas cake and eat it.

    Javeed Anwar of Sleeperz Hotels, a fast growing budget hotel business specialising in stylish stays for smaller spends, has come up with five money-saving tips for bosses booking the Christmas bash.

    Bubbles that won’t break the bank
    In years gone by, you might have expected Champagne to flow at the work Christmas party when bonus time arrived and staff were laughing all the way to the bank.

    You can still put the fizz in your festive bash and save money without scrimping on style. A high quality Prosecco looks and tastes just as good as Champagne for a third of the price.

    Finger Food beats Fine Dining
    Sitting down for a three course dinner at a posh hotel or restaurant is all well and good but it’s formal, frumpy and pricey, with an average cost per head of between £30 and £50.

    Party food is called that for a reason – because it doesn’t stop the party.

    So why not go for a finger-buffet of cool canapés and quirky hors d’oeuvres, such as sliders (mini-burgers), fish and chip cones, zingy chicken kebabs, dim sum and profiteroles for pud.

    This way, the food is great, and you are still free to network and mingle rather than being stuck in a seat next to the office bore.

    Deafening Disco vs Chilled Out Lounge vibe
    Keeping the whole workforce happy at a Christmas night out is virtually impossible, some love to boogie on the dance floor, others like to cower in the corner.

    Rather than being deafened by an amateur disc jockey that cost you an arm and a leg, hold your party at a venue that can supply music as part of the package.

    We like to use the airy open bar and dining spaces at our hotels in Cardiff and Newcastle to create a laid-back lounge vibe. We find our guests love to relax to a soundtrack of contemporary chill-out music, soul, jazz and funk.

    Bar Prices that won’t bankrupt you
    Christmas is expensive full stop. The last thing you need at the office Christmas party is a bar bill that has you running to the nearest pay-day lender.

    Buying wine by the bottle for groups of colleagues or teams is a great way to save. Rather than pay £5 per glass, buy a bottle for £12 and share out the four glasses. That’s £2 per person per glass you are saving.

    Obviously you need a lot of wine lovers for this to work, but another way to save is to choose a venue that doesn’t charge premium prices for drinks, such as five star hotels or high class restaurants. They may impress people on arrival but your staff won’t be smiling when the barman delivers the bad news.

    Our money-saving tip – seek out a stylish venue with sensible prices.

    Set up a Car or Taxi-Pool
    Ordering a cab to get you home after a boozy office Christmas party can be expensive. In the days leading up to the party we suggest finding out how many people are going to be DD (designated drivers), or non-drinkers, and see if they are willing to provide lifts to people who live in their areas. If nobody is driving then find out who lives nearest each other and order a shared taxi home, splitting the cost between three or four people.

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    Sleeperz Hotels operates stylish premium budget hotels in Cardiff and Newcastle, close to mainline rail stations, with a big focus on interior design and excellent architecture.

    It uses its open plan dining areas, lounges and bars to cater for groups of up to 80 people and intimate private rooms for groups of 20 or less.Its finger-food buffets start from £13.95 a head, Italian Prosecco from £17.95 per bottle and Chilean wines from £12.95 a bottle.

    For more about how Sleeperz Hotels run events and functions: click here

  • Newcastle hotel wins RIBA award for architectural excellence

    Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle - design led premium budget hotel

    Reinvention of classic Railway Hotel recognised by Royal Institute of British Architects

    (Newcastle, June 21 – 2012) A landmark city centre hotel in Newcastle is celebrating after winning a prestigious award from the Royal Institute of British Architects.
    Sleeperz Newcastle – the 98-bedroom premium budget hotel near Newcastle Central Station – was recognised by judges for architectural excellence at the RIBA Hadrian Awards in Leeds last night.
    The award means the hotel joins a list of elite buildings in the UK that RIBA recognise as having achieved the highest architectural standards and which make a substantial contribution to the local environment.

    The sleek glass fronted hotel opened in January and was built in a heritage conservation area on the site of a derelict former Parcel Works on Westgate Road.
    This is the second time RIBA has recognised Sleeperz Hotels for the quality and appearance of its hotel build and design.
    In 2010, its Cardiff hotel won the RIBA Wales Award.

    David Myers, chief executive of Sleeperz Hotels, said: “We believe in acquiring land that is unusual and extraordinary in shape and transforming it into stylish landmark city centre hotels offering every modern convenience and comfort at affordable rates to leisure and business travellers.
    To win two RIBA Awards for our first two properties is a monumental achievement and worthy recognition for our vision of creating beautiful budget hotels in Britain’s leading cities.”

    Sleeperz Newcastle is only the second hotel built by the fast growing UK budget hotel operator. It has plans to open new hotels in Birmingham, London and Manchester by 2015.
    Both the Cardiff and Newcastle hotels were designed by award-winning London based architects Clash Associates, who have succeeded in making the hotels into modern, highly-visible and instantly recognisable buildings.

    Peter Clash, of Clash Associates Ltd, said: “This award is extremely pleasing. Sleeperz Newcastle is an innovative building made with quality materials and constructed on a difficult city centre site in the central conservation area.”

    Newcastle based Metnor Construction Ltd was hired to build the hotel with around 90 local jobs created during the construction.

    The RIBA Hadrian Awards are the regional awards for the North East from which the winners are put forward for the national RIBA Awards. The winners of those awards are considered for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

    For more about Sleeperz, visit: www.sleeperz.com

  • Sleeperz Newcastle wins award for architectural excellence

    SMP_Sleeperz_Newcastle_0095_v4

    Sleeperz landmark city centre hotel in Newcastle has won a prestigious award from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

    The 98-bedroom glass fronted hotel near Newcastle Central Station was recognised by judges for architectural excellence at the RIBA Hadrian Awards in Leeds last month.

    The award means Sleeperz Hotels Newcastle joins a list of elite buildings in the UK that RIBA recognises as having achieved the highest architectural standards and which make a substantial contribution to the local environment.

    The hotel opened in January and was built in a heritage conservation area on the site of a derelict former Parcel Works on the city’s Westgate Road.

    This is the second time RIBA has recognised Sleeperz Hotels for the quality and appearance of its hotel build and design.

    In 2010, Sleeperz Cardiff Hotel won the RIBA Wales Award.

    David Myers, chief executive of Sleeperz Hotels, said: “We believe in acquiring land that is unusual and extraordinary in shape and transforming it into stylish landmark city centre hotels offering every modern convenience and comfort at affordable rates to leisure and business travellers.

    To win two RIBA Awards for our first two properties is a monumental achievement and worthy recognition for our vision of creating beautiful budget hotels in Britain’s leading cities.”

    Sleeperz Newcastle is only the second hotel built by the company. We have plans to open new hotels in Birmingham, London and Manchester by 2015.

    Both the Cardiff and Newcastle hotels were designed by award-winning London based architects Clash Associates, who have succeeded in making the hotels into modern, highly-visible and instantly recognisable buildings.

    Peter Clash, of Clash Associates Ltd, said: “This award is extremely pleasing. Sleeperz Newcastle is an innovative building made with quality materials and constructed on a difficult city centre site in the central conservation area.”.

    The RIBA Hadrian Awards are the regional awards for the North East from which the winners are put forward for the national RIBA Awards. The winners of those awards are considered for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

  • Olympics football

    S128-110-D-1024PX-SRGB

    Cardiff and Newcastle are becoming increasingly excited about hosting Olympics soccer this summer.
    The draw for the men’s and women’s tournaments has been held and event specialists at the Millennium Stadium and St James’ Park are now preparing for their moments in the global spotlight.
    The Games actually kicks off in Cardiff on July 25 when the Great Britain women’s team entertains New Zealand. The Welsh capital stages a further 10 games, including another GB women’s match on July 28 and the men’s bronze medal decider on August 10.

    Newcastle launches its Olympics activity with a men’s game on July 26 and hosts a further eight matches culminating in a men’s quarter-final on August 4.
    Sleeperz staff in our two great cities are looking forward greatly to welcoming Olympics guests from around the world. Best book your room now!
    For more on the London 2012 football tournament, click here (http://www.london2012.com/football)

  • Walking guide to the free and family friendly attractions of Newcastle Gateshead

    quayside-10

    NewcastleGateshead has more than enough to keep visitors busy on a shoestring budget, and with a compact city centre and excellent transport links you can get around for less too. The Metro is great for travel around the whole region, including right out to the coast, or for a quick ride in the city centre hop on a yellow Quaylink bus.

    Pick up a map of Newcastle at Sleeperz reception and start this walking tour to the best free and family friendly attractions in the city.

    Start the day at Great North Museum: Hancock where you can enjoy everything from Ancient Egyptian mummies to a large-scale model of Hadrian’s Wall; the diversity of the animal and plant kingdoms to a life-size T-Rex dinosaur skeleton.

    From here it’s a short walk through Newcastle University’s historic arches to The Hatton Gallery, where Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbarn, considered by many to be one of the seminal artworks of the twentieth century, is on permanent display alongside a highly-regarded programme of historical, modern and contemporary art exhibitions.

    Wander past Cath Campbell’s cascading ‘Escapology’ – Northern Stage’s crowning glory – on your way to the Civic Centre. Here in the spring and summer you’ll find ducklings and rabbits wild in the heart of the city, and plenty of perfect picnic spots. While you’re here, look out for David Wynne’s beautiful bronze sculptures – Swans in Flight  and River God of the Tyne, as well as John William Goscombe’s The Response, which shows soldiers responding to the call to arms in 1914.

    From here it’s a short walk down Northumberland Street to Tyneside Cinema, a jewel of an independent cinema, recently renovated to reveal its original art-nouveau fixtures and fittings, where you can watch a free old-fashioned newsreel film most mornings at around 11.30am. Check their website for full details of what’s on.

    Admire the scale and grandeur of Grey’s Monument as you wander below, and on the way don’t forget to look down – on each side of the eminent Earl Grey you’ll find one of four perspex cubes sunk into the ground, containing an eerie casting of the Earl’s head. The artist, Simon Watkinson, was inspired by the story of the statue’s head being knocked off the Monument by a bolt of lightning.

    Nearby you’ll find the Grainger Market housed in a Grade 1 listed building. This is a great place to pick up a light snack or just wander around taking in the variety of sights, sounds and smells. Have a look around and you’ll find the Marks and Spencer Original Penny Bazaar – the world’s smallest Marks and Spencer store.

    Head towards Gallowgate Street and wander through the ornate archway, constructed by a team of craftsmen from China, marking the entrance of China Town, towards a section of Newcastle’s surviving ancient walls at the end of Stowell Street.

    From here the Discovery Museum is just a short walk away.

    Inside you’ll find displays about life on Tyneside through history as well as interactive exhibitions that are a hit with kids and grownups alike.

    Head towards Newcastle Central Station and you’ll pass Sean Henry’s Man with Potential Selves sculptures at the corner of Grainger and Neville Street on your way to The Castle Keep – one of the finest Norman stone castles surviving in Britain today. Stand beneath its imposing walls and feel the weight of thousands of years of history.

    Next, make your way along the Quayside towards Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the world’s only tilting bridge, on your way to BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art – the world’s biggest gallery of its kind.

    While you’re at Gateshead Quays, pop into The Sage Gateshead to admire this amazing glass structure from the inside and take in the stunning views of the river.

    After the museums and galleries close the best way to end a thrifty day is with a walk along the Quayside after sunset to enjoy the stunning views of the beautifully lit bridges and the reflections of the twinkling lights in the River Tyne.

    Alternatively, if you’re here on a week night and still hungry for culture, make yourself comfortable at The Lit & Phil – the largest independent library outside London which stays open later Monday – Thursday. Check their website for full details.

    Our other recommendations for FREE things to do include:

  • Word of mouth boosts sales at Sleeperz Newcastle hotel

    Word-of-Mouse-boosts-sales-at-Sleeperz-Newcastle-foreground-Javeed-Anwar-Head-of-Marketing-and-Mark-Armstrong-Sleeperz-General-Manager

    Sleeperz Newcastle flying high thanks to positive internet reviews

    (Newcastle, April 12 – 2012) Before the internet, a satisfied traveller might write some comments in a hotel’s guest book or tell a friend, now customers go online to tell the world what they thought of their hotel stay.

    The popular and growing trend in hotel customers reviewing their stay using online travel websites and booking engines is proving to be a make or break factor for businesses operating in the hospitality industry.

    Sleeperz Hotels, the innovative budget hotel business, is one company that is experiencing the benefits of the trend called “word of mouse”.

    Sleeperz opened its latest design-led premium budget hotel in Newcastle in January and says strong trading and higher than expected sales in its first three months have been boosted by positive customer reviews on three major travel websites and booking engines.

    Sleeperz Newcastle is currently:

    www.booking.com –The highest ranked hotel in Newcastle
    www.laterooms.co.uk -The only 5/5 ranked hotel in Newcastle
    www.tripadvisor.com -The No. 1 Budget Hotel in Newcastle

    Javeed Anwar, Head of Marketing and Sales for Sleeperz Hotels, said: “Word of mouse is something that hoteliers and hospitality professionals ignore at their peril.

    More and more people are using the internet to book short breaks, hotel rooms and holidays these days and customer reviews can make or break a brand.

    The excellent reviews and rankings on three of the most influential websites in the travel industry are a strong indicator of consumer confidence in Sleeperz Hotels, especially as we are a relatively new brand.

    We are so confident about this we carry a link on our website homepage direct to TripAdvisor reviews.”

    Sleeperz entered the budget hotel sector in November 2008 when it opened its first hotel in the Welsh capital Cardiff. It recorded average occupancy figures of 66% for its first year, well above the city and national averages.

    Sleeperz Newcastle is on track to do even better

    Mark Armstrong, general manager of Sleeperz Newcastle, said: “We have easily exceeded the occupancy and sales targets we set for ourselves for the first quarter and have found that we are regularly fully booked on weekends.

    A lot of this success has been due to internet bookings and positive reviews but it all comes back to a simple truth, did the customer like the hotel and enjoy their stay.”

    Sleeperz’s philosophy of creating stylish hotel properties with modern cutting edge architectural design sets the brand apart from other larger competitors in the budget hotel sector such as Premier Inn and Travelodge.

    Boutique hotel owner and interior design expert Janine Powell was hired as a consultant to create an air of sophisticated vibrancy at Sleeperz Newcastle.

    Newcastle’s glass fronted hotel has compact rooms with fresh, colourful and contemporary interiors.

    Aston Bowles, Head of Digital at Newcastle marketing agency Adessi, said: “Sleeperz is a new and interesting brand and they are showing what can be achieved when you combine a good operational product with an engaging online presence, creative use of social media networks and a willingness to interact with customers, whether they are satisfied or complaining.

    As in the real world, having a good strategy, listening to people and engaging properly are the cornerstones of being successful in online business.”

    The company has plans to expand and Sleeperz has earmarked major UK cities, including Liverpool, Manchester and London as potential venues for hotels in the next phase of the company’s development.

    For more visit www.sleeperz.com

  • 10 things you must know about Newcastle

    castle-keep-newcastle-3
    1. Newcastle is named after a Norman Motte and Bailey castle, and later a fortified stone keep, built on the river Tyne in 1080 by the son of William the Conqueror
    2. The first lightbulb was tested in Newcastle in 1879 by Joseph Swan
    3. Newcastle United Football Club was founded in 1892 and they have been wearing black and white stripes since 1894
    4. Famous Geordies include: Ant & Dec, Sting, Cheryl Cole, Alan Shearer, Gazza, Jimmy Nail, George Stephenson and William Armstrong
    5. Stottie or Stottie Cake – is a thick round bread loaf famous in North East England and usually filled with Ham and Pease Pudding, available in Gregg’s stores.
    6. Broon – is slang for Newcastle Brown Ale, sometimes called ‘Lunatic’s Broth’
    7. George Stephenson’s famous ‘Rocket’ steam locomotive engine was built in Newcastle
    8. Always refer to the stadium as St James’ Park when speaking to locals
    9. The Tyne Bridge was designed to look like the Sydney Harbour Bridge
    10. The Great North Run, from Newcastle to South Shields, is the largest half marathon in the world
    11. The Angel of the North stands 65 feet high and has a wingspan of 175 feet and is a designated ‘Icon of England’
    12. The Baltic Art Gallery in Newcastle just hosted the Turner Prize, but what did it used to be until 2002? Answer: A flour Mill