It's a shame that for my husband, the lovely birthday trip was somewhat overshadowed by the two mix-ups at check-in and check-out. We were assured that for an extra £85 we could arrange an early check-in and late check-out. Based on the email Booking.com sent us, quoting the email they received from the hotel, we booked an early train to get to Chester before the opening of Chester Zoo, so we could have a full day there. We got up at 5am and travelled by two trains only to arrive and be told we couldn't check in early after all, as the hotel had been full the night before (we could see there was a conference of some sort taking place) and the room wasn't ready. I stated that we had been assured of this and the hotel receptionist, whilst polite and curteous, said that I hadn't yet paid the £85 and that early check-in and late check-out weren't guaranteed anyway, and that it was the fault of Booking.com that they didn't tell us this! But nowhere on the email from the hotel to Booking.com did it say 'tell your client it's not guaranteed'. It simply said: "Yes, we can do this with a check-in at 10am and check-out at 4pm. The charge would be £85. Approved by Alyson - Reservations". As I am diabetic, I wanted to go into the room and rest my feet and test my blood sugars etc but this was not possible. They upgraded our Superior King Room to a Suite which was a nice gesture, and agreed to only charge us £42.50 for late check-out the next day, seeing as we couldn't check-in early. However a second embarrassing mix-up happened the second day when at 1pm, on return from Chester Zoo, with our feet in agony from a day's walking, our card keys stopped working despite us arranging late check-out.
The location is very handy for the station - I stay regularly at this hotel when I travel to Chester on business, but this was a leisure trip for my husband's 35th birthday. We were going to Chester Zoo, too. Very clean hotel, we love the decor, and themed rooms, the food is unparalleled, and especially the staff in the King's Grill Restaurant - many thanks to Kasia who served us - made us very welcome and almost like family - surprising us even with a glass of bubbly on learning it was my hubby's birthday. Excellent food - as the granddaughter of a chef I was impressed with the steak, and the gorgeous sweet potato wedges, whilst my 'carnivore' hubby loved his 16 oz rump steak done exactly as he wanted it. The Claudius Suite (room 1709) was absolutely beautiful - a work of art in itself, and the bed very comfortable, a bit firmer than other beds which was great for our back problems! The view from this 7th floor suite was delightful, too. Staff across the hotel are extremely friendly and welcoming, including the Concierge.