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  • 5 Top Tips for booking a hotel on a Budget

    Sleeperz Hotels in The Guardian

    Everybody wants value for money these days and quite a lot of people are living on a tight budget, whether that’s for the weekly supermarket shop, buying a new dishwasher or booking a hotel.

    In fact, booking a hotel has to be one of the hardest things to do on a budget.

    There are so many websites promising last minute hotel deals, vouchers for cheap holidays, buy two nights and get a third free, and many other forms of cheap hotel breaks and discounts on hotel stays.

    Here at Sleeperz Hotels, we are passionate about providing a contemporary urban living experience in a city centre environment at affordable rates – without sacrificing the style.

    We have hotels in Cardiff, Newcastle and Edinburgh and travel on a budget is something we know a lot about.

    Here are our tips for choosing the best hotel for your budget

    1. Hotels are easy to research
    If the deal looks too good to be true then turn to people who are the most likely to give you an independent and objective review of the hotel – the travel media – and hotel guests themselves.

    Use Google or another search engine to find out if the hotel has been reviewed by any quality media, by that we mean a national newspaper or prominent regional newspaper. Have they been included in any impressive round ups, write-ups or won any significant awards from publications.

    Our Edinburgh Hotel, Cityroomz Edinburgh, was included in the Top-20 UK Hotels under £100 by Sally Shalam, hotel reviewer for The Guardian – and Sally knows more than a thing or two about hotels.

    Read articles like this to see what the experts say about a hotel. Here’s a link to Sally’s article featuring Cityroomz Edinburgh.

    Sleeperz Hotels in The Guardian

    Cityroomz Edinburgh was featured in The Guardian’s Top-20 UK Hotels under £100

    2. Turn to TripAdvisor for hotel reviews
    TripAdvisor is the world’s biggest and most popular website for the public to review hotels, restaurants, holidays and accommodation of any sort. It’s not perfect by any means but it’s good and with an open mind you can rely on the ratings and reviews to give you a great indication of what to expect in a hotel.

    Any good hotel will enable you to find reviews about it on TripAdvisor by hosting a widget or link to the site on its own webpages. Sleeperz has the TripAdvisor logo and a link to reviews on our homepage, www.sleeperz.com

    TripAdvisor website

    You have to be subjective and account for the fact that everyone has different tastes, but look out for things like TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence – which means a hotel is in the top 10% of all hotels reviewed on the site for favourable and positive guest reviews.

    Both Sleeperz Cardiff and Sleeperz Newcastle have TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence.

    3. Look for several awards from recognised industry brands

    If a hotel has won a series of awards from several different bodies, media or industry panels then you can be fairly sure you can expect a high quality stay. Sleeperz Newcastle has won awards from RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), www.laterooms.com, www.tripadvisor.co.uk and welcomed over 34,000 guests in its first 12 months.

    If a hotel is constantly advertising cut price rates – you have to ask why – it’s probably never full, and for good reason, and that’s why it’s trying to attract customers on a cheap high volume basis. It’s not likely they’ll ever stay again though.

    4. Stable prices are a good sign

    Instead look for properties that have fairly stable rates and good reviews – but which still represent great value for money. If the price is holding up well then the hotel is in demand and that’s a good sign.

    5.Take advantage of seasonality & added value offers

    UK cities demand varies dramatically over the summer months, many cities show a reduction in business travel which frees up rooms for leisure travellers.  This gives hoteliers the opportunity to offer added value features such as free breakfast (which can save you pretty penny) meaning you can splash out on a posh dinner instead.  Check out our free breakfast offer on www.sleeperz.com

    So, to find the best hotel for your budget, use the internet to do your research, weigh up the reviews from media and the public and look for stable pricing and value for money.

    Good luck and happy hotel hunting!!

  • Sleeperz offers Edinburgh hotel breaks on a budget

    Cityroomz Edinburgh bedroom

    Finding an affordable hotel right in the heart of Edinburgh city centre is about to get a whole lot easier.

    About eight months ago the Sleeperz team heard about a city centre hotel in Edinburgh that was closing its doors.

    Amazingly, the hotel was just off Prince’s Street – in Shandwick Place – right in the city centre and about 10 minutes walk from Edinburgh Waverley Station and the Haymarket station

    Makeover for Edinburgh budget hotel
    It was too good an opportunity to pass over and so we took over the building, a former Travelodge, and set about giving it a Sleeperz Hotels makeover.

    It won’t be called Sleeperz Hotel Edinburgh. Why?

    Well, we aren’t creating a striking and beautiful building from scratch – which is a Sleeperz hallmark – we are transforming an existing hotel into stylish, comfortable and convenient budget accommodation.

    A new kind of budget hotel
    We had another idea – why not launch a brand-new rooms-based sister brand?

    We had a think about all of the great value hotels (some might even say cheap hotels) and budget brands and came up with Cityroomz, a new form of comfortable and conveniently located accommodation at great value prices.

    There are 72 rooms in the building we’ve bought and we have already gone to work turning it into something special.

    In fact, we’ve completed our master room already and here’s what you can expect when you stay at CityRoomz Edinburgh.

    Cityroomz Edinburgh bedrooms

    Convenience, comfort, great value prices and excellent facilities at the new Cityroomz Edinburgh

    Bespoke beds and pillows for hotel guests
    What you can’t see in the photo is that we ordered the mattresses to be custom made for CityRoomz and we have invested in the finest microfiber pillows.

    Plus, how many other budget hotels have a safe in the room big enough for a laptop, free wi-fi and tea and coffee making facilities?

    Tea and coffee making facilities at Cityroomz Edinburgh

    Free tea and coffee in all Cityroomz Edinburgh

    There’s a whole host of free TV channels to watch on a flat screen and like Sleeperz Hotels, CityRoomz will be bright, cheerful and welcoming.

    Best city break in the UK

    Edinburgh has always been thought of as one of the best city breaks in the UK and Sleeperz is so excited to be opening up a hotel right in the Scottish capital.

    It’s a place of history and culture, famous for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Military Tattoo, and watched over by the impressive Edinburgh Castle.

    Edinburgh Castle

    Edinburgh Castle – one of Scotland’s must-see tourist attractions

    One of the best times of year to visit Edinburgh is New Year or Hogmanay, as the locals call it, when Prince’s Street is packed with crowds watching one of the biggest fireworks displays anywhere in the world.

    We are set to open our new hotel in early May 2013 and you can find out more at www.cityroomz.com

    Cityroomz Hotel Edinburgh will operate 72 rooms and offer a fresh continental breakfast (£4.95) with rates starting at £49 per night, including free and fast wi-fi. 

  • 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.

     

     

  • 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.

    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    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

  • 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:

  • 10 things you must know about NewcastleGateshead

    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 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

    drinks-quayside-newcastle-3

    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

    10628252-old-football-at-the-corner-of-real-grass-football-pitch-ready-for-playing

    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!”