More Hotels Than Portugal and We’ve Found the Best: North Ocean Hotel!
It is claimed that Blackpool has more hotel bedrooms than Portugal and whilst we won’t be counting either, we think we may well have found the best hotel in Blackpool, the North Ocean Hotel.
Blackpool has a range of accommodation options from the most basic and small of B and Bs through to the aging Hilton, the imposing Imperial and newer chain options like the Travelodge, IBIS Styles and Premier Inn. As well as those there are a host of medium sized independent hotels that range from the cheap and not necessarily cheerful at one end to, well, the North Ocean Hotel at the other.
The first thing to highlight is that as soon as you make contact with the North Ocean, it’s clear that the people who run it and all of the staff care. That may sound like a small thing but it makes all the difference and that impression is maintained as soon as you arrive.
The hotel is spotlessly clean throughout, has a nice feel and offers bright, good-sized rooms – many with an unspoilt sea view – at a decent rate. All rooms are en-suite, have tea and coffee making facilities and include an excellent and hearty breakfast. Those are the basics but it’s the little things, things that SHOULD be basics but that are so often overlooked, that really make this hotel shine.
They don’t accept hen and stag dos which is totally appropriate for their target market and location slightly north of the main action. They have a number of house rules which we sometimes find a little irritating but here are fair and underpinned by common sense and aimed, essentially, at making the hotel as good as possible for all guests.
Anyway, back to those seemingly obvious and simple touches. The showers are spacious and have a shelf for toiletries, room doors close quickly yet don’t slam, the curtains fit well and are thick, meaning dark rooms and pleasant dreams, the bed are comfortable and the bedding better than you would find in many more expensive hotels, there are plenty of well-placed plug sockets … we could go on.
As much as these things, what really makes the North Ocean Hotel stand out is the staff. Everyone we encountered from first booking to departure was friendly, chatty – but not TOO chatty! – and, most importantly of all, seemed well-trained and knew exactly what they were doing.
Again, simple things really: the restaurant staff know what the specials are, what the soup and pies of the day are, they explain how things work, ask if you are eating cereal so your delicious full English comes at the right time. They know about the local area and attractions, including tram and bus details and, best of all, they work really well as a team. I include the kitchen staff in this latter point especially, as at dinner and breakfast everything was so smoothly organised that both could be enjoyed at just the right pace.
With regards dinner, if you follow our advice and that of Tripadvisor (the hotel is number one in Blackpool at the time of writing) and choose to stay at the North Ocean, be sure to book your table in the popular Stone Grill. There is a range of hearty, tasty and well prepared pub grub but the main reason for the popularity of the restaurant are the stone grills. These fiercely hot slabs of stone allow guests to finish cooking their steaks or seafood themselves at the table. Something of a novelty that may not appeal to all but well worth a try at least once, although both our steaks were delicious and we’d gladly go back.
In conclusion, North Ocean is number one on Tripadvisor and number one with us so if you fancy a warm welcome, a good night’s sleep and a hotel that works as hotels should, make it your choice when you visit Blackpool.