Premier Inn Albert Dock Review: Changing Rooms in Liverpool

Is the Premier Inn Albert Dock the best cheap hotel in Liverpool? Find out in this Premier Inn Liverpool City Centre (Albert Dock) review.

The bubble had to burst sometime.

I’ve made no secret of my weakness for a good Premier Inn hotel, from a great budget hotel in Leeds to an affordable stay at Heathrow Airport. Most recently, I tried their newer brand, booking myself into the hub by Premier Inn in Edinburgh.

Sadly, their property at Liverpool’s Albert Dock is not a good Premier Inn.

Housed in a Grade 1 listed building that was formally a tobacco warehouse, the Premier Inn Albert Dock looks great from the outside. But appearances can be deceptive.

Get the lowdown in this Premier Inn Albert Dock review, and discover the valuable lessons learnt about booking a room in this budget hotel chain.

red brick exterior of premier inn albert dock hotel

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Premier Inn Albert Dock Review: Is This the Best Cheap Hotel in Liverpool?

Check-in

At this Premier Inn, there were no self-service check-in terminals. But, boy oh boy, could it do with them.

At peak check-in times, a long queue snaked along both sides of the crowd barrier. The sense of frustration of those queuing was almost palpable and travellers’ reviews report waiting times of up to one hour.

I was unimpressed with the email received from Premier Inn two weeks before my stay, informing me that they had pushed back the check-in time from 2 pm to 3 pm. That said, they did allow me to check-in early.

hotel reception area with chairs and reception desk
Premier Inn Albert Dock, Reception Area

Public areas

The reception area was home to a few comfortable armchairs and a sofa. Two vending machines near the reception desk sold cold drinks and snacks.

Room #1 (128)

On opening the door to my room, I realised that I had been allocated a dud.

To say that it was compact would be an understatement; I’ve had cruise ship cabins that have had more square footage. There was insufficient space to accommodate an armchair, let alone a sofa.

A pair of binoculars would have been helpful to watch tv from the bed.

double bed with white linen in hotel room
hotel bedroom showing foot of bed with desk and shelves
desk in hotel room with modern art hanging above and shelves with tv
hotel white bathroom suite

This was a basic room even by budget hotel standards. Although the exposed brickwork ceiling was a nice aesthetic touch, the lighting was poor. There were no overhead lights, just two dim bedside lights, a desk light and a large overhead light at the entrance to the room.

But a lack of space wasn’t the main issue.

As the room overlooked the hotel’s main entrance and that of The Beatles Story next door, there was considerable noise and zero privacy. High footfall across the exceptionally creaky floor of the outside corridor further put paid to a decent night’s sleep.

And if that wasn’t enough, I was awoken in the wee small hours of the morning by the urban dawn chorus of delivery vans.

I hightailed it down to reception and this is where the Premier Inn’s reception staff came up trumps (shout out to Ellie). As the hotel was fully booked, I wasn’t able to switch rooms until the second night of my stay but Ellie made an enormous effort to find a room that was quieter and larger.

Room #2 (422)

What a difference a change of room can make.

This was more what I have come to expect from a Premier Inn room. Decorated in the chain’s corporate grey and purple tones, this larger room had better lighting throughout with a mix of overhead lights and lamps. 

The Hypnos king-sized bed was comfortable and had decent linen and plump pillows.

hotel room with king-size bed and desk

From this room, there was a view of the city, including the Catholic Cathedral and the dock, albeit through an exceptionally grimy window.

view of city and dock through a grimy window
A Room With a View

Storage space was adequate for a short stay. There was an open space for hanging clothes and a set of deep shelves.

There was a comfortable armchair next to the window and a decent wall-mounted television above the desk.

A kettle with limited supplies for making hot drinks – two sachets of instant coffee, two tea bags, UHT milk and sugar/sweetener – was provided. Generous further supplies were available on request.

hotel room with shelving unit and desk
kettle mugs and tea and coffee sachets

Power points were not plentiful and there were no USB charging points. There was no safe, fridge, or iron and ironing board in the room.

The room had thermostatically controlled heating and air-conditioning.

Facing the entrance to the bathroom was a small vanity unit that housed a hairdryer.

Although the bathroom had seen better days, it was clean and functional with good lighting. There was a full-size bath with an overhead, non-adjustable shower head.

Don’t expect the fluffiest of towels but they were of reasonable quality. Hair and body gel in a wall-mounted dispenser was provided as was a soap dispenser by the sink.

bathroom in premier inn hotel albert dock

Wi-Fi

The good news is that complimentary Wi-Fi is available for all guests staying at Premier Inn Albert Dock. The bad news is that during my stay it was so slow as to render it unusable.

For a faster connection, you need to purchase Ultimate Wi-Fi costing £5 for 24-hour access.  

Eating and drinking

Food and drink were available from the Thyme Restaurant on the hotel’s first floor. Purely in the interests of research, I visited for a drink and am pleased to report that it was a relaxing space with good service and views over the Albert Dock.

For £9.50 (2021 price) you can have the Unlimited Premier Inn Breakfast. The menu offers healthy fruit and yoghurt, through to a full English Breakfast, pastries and pancakes.

However, due to Covid-19, gone are the days when you could fill your face from the generous breakfast buffet. Instead, this has been replaced by table service.

A Continental Breakfast option was also available for £7.50.

Both breakfast options are served with unlimited drinks.

Seeing the long queue of people waiting for a table in the morning – at the time the hotel was not accepting reservations – I thanked my lucky stars that I hadn’t chosen the breakfast option.

Is Car Parking Available at Premier Inn Albert Dock?

There is no on-site parking available at this hotel.

If you are arriving by car, expensive off-site parking is available at Q-Park Liverpool ONE car park. Hotel guests receive a 20% discount (£14.40 per 24 hours).

Give your credit card a break and leave your car at home.

How Much Does It Cost to Stay at the Premier Inn Albert Dock?

Room rates in 2021/22 range from an extremely modest £34 to a staggering £199, depending on the day of the week, cancellation terms and season.

As Liverpool is a popular weekend city break destination, not to mention stag/hen party central, accommodation rates can shoot up at the weekend. If you are booking a weekend stay, it pays to book a room well in advance.

Premier Inn offers three room rates:

  • Flex: Pay upfront or on arrival. Fully refundable with free cancellation up to 1 pm on the day of arrival
  • Advance: Pay upfront. Fully refundable with free cancellation up to 28 days before arrival
  • Standard: Pay at the time of booking. Although this rate is non-refundable, you can change the check-in date at the same hotel up to 1 pm on the day of arrival.

Travel Lessons Learned from Staying at this Liverpool Premier Inn Hotel

Even as an experienced traveller, it’s never too late to learn travel lessons. I thank this stay at this Premier Stay for teaching me a few more tricks.

Lesson #1: If in doubt, call the hotel

If you think that my initial experience was not a great one, spare a thought for those guests who were allocated rooms that did not have any external light. It must have been like sleeping in a coffin.

If you have any questions about the hotel’s rooms that their website cannot answer, give them a call. Online comments suggest that calling the hotel to request a specific type of room can also yield positive results.

Lesson #2: Book a room for two people

Whilst this lesson cannot be applied to all hotels – some places offer a discount for a single person or dedicated single rooms – if the price is the same for one or two people, book a room for two.

Not all rooms were created equal at the Premier Inn Albert Dock and differential pricing is not applied. It’s a lottery as to which room you are allocated.

On quizzing reception staff, rooms were allocated on the basis of occupancy. Reading between the lines, if you were travelling on your own, you were allocated a smaller room; families or couples bagged a larger room.

This sucks.

Paying over the odds for accommodation is one of the downsides of solo travel that I grudgingly accept. But allocating rooms on the basis of occupancy when I have paid the same rate as any other guest is profoundly unfair.

Next time I make a Premier Inn reservation, I will be booking for two.

Lesson #3: Never be afraid to request a room change

I could have just sucked up this room allocation but I didn’t.

Typically, Brits aren’t good at complaining; stiff upper lip and all that.

I say that there are occasions when you do need to bring faults and concerns to the hotel management’s attention. Complaining about it on TripAdvisor after you leave may help other travellers but will not rectify any problems during your stay.

Just approach the situation calmly and politely. Don’t be that travelling arsehole.

The Bottom Line: Is the Premier Inn Albert Dock the Best Budget Hotel in Liverpool?

This Premier Inn hotel in Liverpool is in a good location, particularly if you are exploring the attractions around the dockside, and is within walking distance of Lime Street station. It is also a clean hotel, essential during a global viral pandemic.

Like most Premier Inns, this is a no-frills hotel. However, when you are visiting Liverpool, you are not likely to be spending very much time in your hotel and the Premier Inn does provide a comfortable bed for the night.

But does the Premier Inn Albert Dock offer good budget accommodation in Liverpool? Maybe.

By bagging one of the cheaper room rates, this hotel can be astonishingly cheap. If that’s the case, I say go for it but bear in mind its shortcomings. Caveat emptor.

Double-check the room that you are booking and don’t opt for breakfast (there are other places close by where you can fuel up for the day).

However, if you are presented with one of the more expensive room rates, think again. One thing that Liverpool is not short of is accommodation and my prediction is that you will find better value elsewhere.

Recommended Places to Stay in Liverpool

If you feel that the Premier Inn Albert Dock is not for you, take a look at these other Liverpool hotels.

SPLURGE

Titanic Hotel Liverpool

This stylish 4-star hotel, housed in a former warehouse at Stanley Dock has attracted superb reviews, especially for the levels of customer service. The downside is that its location is not as central as other accommodation options.

Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre

This 4-star hotel is a more centrally-located high-end alternative, located close to Lime Street Station. Reviews are similarly great.

MID-RANGE

Staybridge Suites Liverpool

I’m a huge fan of this IHG Hotel brand, having stayed at the Staybridge Suites during a visit to Newcastle. These self-catering suites are located close to Albert Dock.

BUDGET

The Z Hotel

Located close to The Cavern, rooms at this budget hotel offer city views, a comfortable bed and a 40” television.

>>> None of these places take your fancy? Discover other great accommodation choices in Liverpool