Have you ever stayed at a hotel that’s actually built within a football stadium before? And I don’t just mean attached to the stadium, but actually surrounding the seating and pitch? This hotel is located at the home of the MK Dons football club, which certainly gives it a unique selling point, which appeals not only to football-loving kids and adults.
What’s it like?
DoubleTree is the famous hotel chain’s budget option. But, that doesn’t mean it’s cheap (£100-£130 at the weekend), or lacking refinement. Opened just 10 years ago, it is modern and stylish throughout. The reception staff are friendly and professional, and are even bearing gifts, as I’m handed a chocolate cookie while checking in.
A nice touch, if a little unusual. This really sums up the experience in general, typified by the way the hotel is built. Once I exit the lift, of which there are two on either side of the stadium, we are met with a view down onto the pitch, which is great. The downside of building a hotel around the perimeter of a football pitch is that you could be faced with a long walk to your hotel room – it takes us around 15 minutes, so I’m grateful there’s something interesting to look at along the way.
The room is stylish, if a little on the small side. The bed is very comfortable, there’s tea and coffee making facilities, an iron and board, hairdryer, a safe, and a small desk if you require somewhere to work. It also has up-to-date tech, with a neat touchpad to control the temperature, a large wall-mounted flatscreen TV, and USB sockets. There’s a dry cleaning service available, and the room service is fairly extensive, with hot meals (£10.50) available during the day and through the night.
The restaurants and bar
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Milton Keynes, has two restaurants to choose from, positioned on either side of the stadium. The Pitchside Restaurant and Bar has, you guessed it, views out over the pitch and stadium, while the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse is probably the better choice of the two, and on weekends especially, gets busy, so it’s best to book ahead.
If you fancy a drink before or after your meal, there is a bar on the groundfloor, close to reception, and another next to the Pitchside Restaurant. But, forget these, head straight to the Terrace Bar, which is altogether more intimate and atmospheric, and includes an outdoor heated seating area. The drinks menu is fairly extensive, with a good range of spirits, but the wine and beers are more limited, especially on draft.
The two obvious drawbacks are the design, which can mean a long walk to and from the room, and the lack of a spa or pool. The hotel is certainly more functional than luxury, but you’ll have everything you need, the staff are polite and professional, and that unique view adds a little wow factor. Free parking is included, too, which is not always a given. Certainly worth a stay, but our top tip would be to ask for a room closer to the lifts, especially if you have mobility issues.
More hotel information.