Located directly next to junction 28 of the M6, the Preston Leyland hallmark hotel isn’t perhaps the first choice for those wanting a romantic weekend break or mid-week getaway, but despite it’s unusually unappealing setting, the hotel provides convenience, value for money, and is pleasantly welcoming. Amy Farnworth went to check it out.
A short drive from the exit slip road, I parked up in the spacious car park on a damp and dreary Wednesday night. After a tiring start to the week, I was ready for some relaxation, but wasn’t sure what to expect from Preston Leyland Hallmark.
Entering the vast foyer, I was overwhelmed by how different the hotel appeared on the inside compared to its exterior.
In all honesty, my expectations had been pretty low, the location hadn’t exactly garnered any excitement (what could a hotel next to a motorway possibly offer?), so I wasn’t hoping for much.
However, the Venetian decor, low level lighting and open comfortable-looking bar area gave me a warm glow inside, as my shoulders dropped and a smile spread across my face – it felt calming.
The hotel boasts 93 bedrooms over three floors, and can proudly shout about having had Jimmy ‘The Whirlwind’ White and Kyle Falconer (lead singer of The View) as hotel guests.
I wasn’t staying in either of the rooms those A-List celebs had previously bedded-down in, which would’ve been a treat, but seeing as I’d been upgraded to an exec suite by management, I couldn’t really complain.
All the executive suites, which had just undergone a major refurbishment, were situated on the ground floor, with the first floor housing smaller, classic rooms, and the lower ground floor providing guests with the hotel’s ‘history of Leyland’ wing, complete with Leyland Truck decor.
Sashaying into my room in need of a large glass of anything alcoholic, I found it to be clean and moderate in size, with a huge inviting double bed and spacious shower.
A large smart TV was mounted on the wall and a selection of chocolates and bottle Prosecco had been laid out on the desk, awaiting my arrival. Perfect.
Taking a peak out of the window, the view wasn’t much to write home about but I could see the leisure building, so that was a bonus, I suppose.
Speaking of leisure buildings, I decided to go and check out its facilities, figuring a little r&r would do me the world of good.
And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. With a heated pool big enough to do a few laps, there was a also a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna – which, after the day I’d had, I planned to make the most of.
Having made a reservation for dinner, I left the pool feeling suitably ‘zen’, and headed to the restaurant, which was vast in size and again, felt very calming.
And that’s where the hotel crept up a notch, for the food was excellent.
From the impressive menu with plenty of options to suit any diet, I chose the cheese tart to start and followed it with the lamb.
And suffice to say I was left with a fullness you only get when dining somewhere that serves huge portions of hearty grub.
Despite the belt on my jeans needing to be loosened slightly, I still managed to devour a sticky toffee pudding and a couple of glasses of wine, and as I sipped on my Chilean Sauv Blanc it didn’t feel like I was on the outskirts of Preston at all, more like a cosy Italian dining hall.
That night I slept like a log and although located right next to a motorway, I couldn’t hear a thing, and in the morning a paper was delivered to my room before I made my way down to a buffet style breakfast.
The breakfast offered a more than adequate choice; think full English, pastries, cereals, toast and juices, and more coffee than I could shake a stick at, however, I felt a little deflated at the quality of the food, as most of it had gone, and I couldn’t see any fresh items being brought out…maybe if I’d headed to the dining area earlier than just before breakfast was due to finish though, I might’ve had a better experience.
The only real downfall of my stay was the lack of gym facilities, as a tiny room akin to a broom closet with an ageing treadmill and archaic x-trainer wasn’t exactly what I’d expected.
But if you’re coming for business, are looking for somewhere to rest your head after a night in Preston, or are wanting to break up a lengthy motorway trip and explore some of the nearby attractions such as Hoghton Tower, or the Leyland Truck Museum, the Hallmark Preston Leyland is ideal.
Close enough to travel into the neighbouring cities yet far enough away from the hustle and bustle of everything, with a 24 hour bar for hotel guests, and conference and banqueting facilities, it’s perfect for weddings, business trips, or staff parties.
It may not be a lake side boutique, but’s fit for purpose, and I left the Leyland hotel feeling genuinely satisfied. My expectations surpassed and my demeanour de-stressed.
Double rooms, including breakfast, start from £70 per night, although prices may vary depending on the time of year and whether you have a promotional code to redeem online.
The hotel is located less than two minutes drive from junction 28 of the M6 and 800m from the nearest train station, which has regular services connecting Wigan and Preston.
For more information visit www.hallmarkhotels.co.uk/hotels/hallmark-hotel-preston-leyland or call 0330 028 3420