Some years ago, I wrote a review of the Radisson Hotel, Durham. Now as we creep, gingerly, out of Covid, we were back in Durham on our way to and from a holiday in Scotland. We stayed also at the Radisson in York although this has a different branding from the hotel in Durham. The Radisson Group is in Chinese ownership; the Hotel arm is controlled from Brussels – or perhaps the USA. Resource management and the maximising of revenue are managed centrally in Madrid. Radisson has a magnificent complexity and its organisation is not always transparent. Having spent time living and travelling though China and knowing the Chinese insistence on service and value for money, it may be useful to think of our Radisson stays in those lights. The first thing to say is that staying at the Radisson is not cheap. Nor is it easy to predict what you will be charged. Room prices vary dramatically according to dates, from just over £100 for a double room per night to close to £200. And that is for Radisson ‘members’. But that is the basic, room only. On confirming your reservation, you will be sent encouragement to enhance your stay, through pre-booked breakfasts, pre-booked car parking, selecting a room with a river or other special view rather than the car-park, opting for a suite, asking for a balcony with jacuzzi – I made the last one up … Often these are headlined as offering significant discount but compared with what – seemingly asking for these ‘extras’ when you arrive? Whether this is the Marketing Department offering customers ‘choice’ or the accountants seeking to extract every possible benefit from their capital assets, that I don’t know. It is a strategy that very quickly escalates the over-night price. It is a system that sometimes works. Perhaps it is the delay in asking the computer in Madrid whether the Group can afford two discounted breakfasts. Be warned. And, perhaps in truth, it does not matter for most Radisson customers, it seems, will not be paying the bill personally. Their company will. Or the hotel costs have been rolled up inside a tourist package. As for the Radisson Durham, it sits there, looking onto the River Wear with the cathedral and castle up on the right. It is now partnered by a huge building site, glass-fronted buildings all wanting the same view. There is a similar construction on the opposite bank. Durham continues to change to serve its tourist market. The reception area to the hotel is huge but the service of food and drink is very limited. It does not match the aspiration of the building. The bedrooms are as you might expect, clean and tidy. If you hoped for bottled water or perhaps flannels in the bathroom, well – that is probably one of the options. The breakfast is varied, typical of a hotel of this standard. There is room for two electric cars to recharge, at a price. The site looking onto the river is more than a little scruffy, but perhaps that is as a consequence of the building work. But frankly, you do feel more than slightly underwhelmed given the potential of the place. The hotel staff were uniformly helpful and cheerful, so something good must be coming from Madrid.…
We arrived Friday afternoon and was met with a lovely receptionist at check in. Our room wasn't ready but we had arrived before 3pm🙂 was quite happy to sit in the bar area and wait. Eventually we got our room key for 168 the rooms at the Radisson are a nice size, view looked onto the side of the hotel onto a flat roof, but this didnt bother us. The room was clean plenty if coat hangers,toiletries and drawer space, plus iron and ironing board and hairdryer. Tea making facilities plenty of milk which is good. All our meals were excellent the waiting on staff were brilliant, considering there was 170 people in our group. Breakfast was a serve yourself buffet but things were replaced once they had run out. All in all a great time was had by all.
Excellent hotel, very well situated. Parking was cheaper if you are a member and there is plenty of space to park. The hotel staff are excellent, the breakfast fantastic and the pool and other facitiesbrilliant.
I had to wait an hour before my room was ready. The first member of staff was dismissive with me, which was not very professional. The second member of staff, Katie, treated me much better and was friendly and efficient.
The hotel was overall very good but we had booked a junior suite and were put in the wrong room to start with and then the next day didn’t have our room serviced. No water provided. We were given 2 different explanations from different staff as to why. However the staff were friendly, helpful and the hotel excellently situated.