Travelodge a welcome haven after travelling
After traversing eastern Europe for two weeks Andrew Foley needed somewhere to overnight, following a late flight from the Ukranian capital Kiev.
The irony wasn't lost on me. I was leaving a country that once took pride in everything being the same, to stay in a hotel chain where a key selling point is that everything is the same.
And there's nothing wrong in the comfort of familiarity.
Except the policy has shifted slightly, for Travelodge have gone a bit funky with their 'Plus' hotels, offering 'budget chic' atop the tried and tested formula.
Their SuperRooms up the game further. This 'premium economy' option features Hansgrohe Raindance showers, Lavazza coffee pod machines, irons and ironing boards, larger desks and USB power points.
The hotel is a convenient, short shuttle-bus ride from the airport and reception had me on my way with the minimum of fuss.
Thought has gone into the design of these rooms. They are modern, trendy and stylish. The calming blue and beige colour palette is, they tell me, 'Tranquil Zen'. I had no reason to dispute.
After needy hot chocolate and Kit-Kat, the shower washed and pummelled to scrub away the rigours of a tiresome flight.
The lights were, I confess, too complex for this weary traveller. With practice I could have mastered the dimmers and multiple ambient options. But, late at night, I merely wanted on and off.
The ceiling seemed to fade to stars and I drifted away, just as they appeared to join me.
Next morning I noticed a small sign, informing of soft top pillows and firm bottom ones, while inviting me to 'sleep on it'.
I realised I had. Very well, in a king-size, dream-inducing bed.
After a lazy start, I ambled down for breakfast in the brightly-coloured Bar Cafe, that is divided into different zones to suit business and leisure. The full-English was the kind you appreciate in hotels but never do at home.
Carly Simon's Nobody Does It Better was playing over the sound system.
'Now, there's a challenge...' I thought to myself.
Travelodge have more than 500 hotels across the UK.
Room prices start from Â£29, Â£39 in London. SuperRooms attract a typical premium of approximately Â£10-20 per night.
SuperRooms also include armchair, swivel chair, blackout curtains, dressing stand and hairdryer, iron and ironing board, full length mirror, flat-screen TV.
Travelodge have 170 Bar Cafés. Unlimited breakfast costs Â£8.25, with unlimited lighter breakfast Â£5.95.
Visit Travelodge.co.uk or call 0871 984 8484.