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  • Olympics football

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    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

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    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

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    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 NewcastleGateshead

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    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 in Gateshead stands 65 feet high and has a wingspan of 175 feet and is a designated ‘Icon of England’
    12. The Baltic Art Gallery in Gateshead just hosted the Turner Prize, but what did it used to be until 2002? Answer: A flour Mill

  • The Geordie Glossary

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    During your time in Newcastle you will encounter the world famous Geordie, and so here’s a quick guide to this fierce and proud local language.

    • Haw tha deeing – how are you doing today?
    • Whayaye – Why Yes, I agree
    • Wot gan’s on huw – what’s going on?
    • Weor’s the netty – where is the toilet please?
    • Gizabroon marra – one bottle of Brown Ale please?
    • Am gannin owt the neet like – I’m going out tonight
    • Givower man – Don’t be stupid, what are you talking about
    • Doonthehatch – cheers, good health
    • Smashinbaitthat – that meal was delicious
    • Am gannin hyem – I’m going home
    • Gan canny doon the Toon – go well when you are in Newcastle.

    Recommended Reading: Larn yersel’ Geordie by Scott Dobson

  • Football fan’s guide to Newcastle

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    St James’ Park is a cathedral of football dominating Newcastle’s city skyline.

    The fortunes of Newcastle United F.C are the city’s heartbeat and so Sleeperz has compiled a simple 10-step guide for football fans visiting the Toon.

    1. Buy a ticket for the match, with 52,000 seats at St James’ Park there’s plenty of room for home, away and neutral fans.
    2. Stop off at the statue of Jackie Milburn, one of Newcastle’s most famous centre forwards, on St James’ Boulevard and doth your cap to ‘Wor Jackie’
    3. Pick up a copy of ‘The Mag’or ‘True Faith,’ at a newsagents, two of NUFC’s best read fanzines
    4. ‘Larn the craic’ from the locals by having a pint at The Strawberry, the closest pub to St James’ Park.
    5. Buy the famous Black and White shirt at the NUFC club shop at the stadium
    6. Check out the team news with a pre-match pint at The Shark Bar, an American style sports bar with wall to wall plasma screens showing non-stop sport
    7. Take a guided tour of St James’ Park and have lunch in a box overlooking the pitch
    8. Get some mates together and train with NUFC Legends and coaches at one of the club’s ultimate experience days
    9. Go for a post match debrief in The Bodega Pub on Westgate Road, near China Town and Stowell Street
    10. Pick up some football memorabilia or historic programmes at ‘The Back Page Bookshop’ at 56 St Andrews Street

  • Where next?

    OK, so Cardiff and Newcastle are firmly on the Sleeperz map of Britain – so where next?

    We’re working on plans for the next Sleeperz hotels which could be in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Liverpool or Glasgow.

    All we can say is: “Watch this space!”

  • Tweet dreams

    Sleeperz is loving Twitter!

    We’re finding social media fab for telling the world about the charms and attractions of Cardiff and Newcastle – and we love our online conversations with guests, room-seekers and business buddies.

    Recently, we’ve helped two students – @Mindhitchhike – plan a UK-wide hitchhike for charity by retweeting their call for assistance, we’ve encouraged people to tweet recommendations for Newcastle eating out spots via #TopScran and we tweeted a welcome message to all those attending the Sage Gateshead’s LibDem conference @LibDemConf – not that we’re political, of course!

    It’s been lovely to talk about visiting pop stars on twitter – the fans love it. Check out @flo_tweet and @RizzleKicks, for example. And do follow us on twitter @SleeperzHotels.

  • Sport city

    Staff at Sleeperz have loved their first few weeks running a hotel in Newcastle – and the city is certainly living up to its reputation as a top destination for sport.

    With miles of outstanding coastline, watersports are incredibly popular; it’s a delight to be able to point Sleeperz guests in the direction of Tynemouth for surfing and windsurfing we know they won’t be disappointed.

    Other marvellous events hosted in the city include the BUPA Great North Run, celebrating its 32nd year on September 16, 2012.

    Athletics at Gateshead International Stadium will be more topical than ever this year with the UK hosting the Olympics, Newcastle United continue to make waves in soccer’s top flight with stars such as hotshot Demba Ba and the Newcastle Falcons host Premiership rugby at Kingston Park.

    Not a bad line-up, eh?

  • Coffee call

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    The Sleeperz lounge bars in Cardiff and Newcastle are fast becoming an important ingredient in the coffee culture of the two great cities.

    Our coffee shop Rewards Card is new and popular – not surprising when you hear that your first, fifth and ninth brews are free. Our free wi-fi has been a massive hit, especially with business people who pop in to do deals and discuss the day’s enterprise agenda.

    Shoppers have been popping in for a nice break as they enjoy the retail hotspots and young mums and dads with kids in tow say they love our relaxed atmosphere and the easy-going nature of our staff.

    Our proximity to venues such as Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena and The Sage Gateshead has attracted a good number of cappuccino-loving culture vultures.

    The yummy muffins and pasties help.