Is the Travelodge Inverness City Centre the Best Cheap Hotel in Inverness, Scotland?

Is this Travelodge the best cheap hotel in Inverness, Scotland. Find out in this Travelodge Inverness City Centre review.

Up until this year, for no good reason, I have never stayed in a Travelodge. But a trip to Inverness in 2021 was the year was the time to put right that wrong.

Inverness, the ‘Capital of the Highlands’, is perfect base from which to explore Loch Ness, the Speyside whisky region and beyond, especially if you are visiting Scotland without a car. Moreover, its attractive riverside setting, rich history and friendly people, make it a great destination in its own right.

However, accommodation can be pricey, especially if you are visiting in high season. So which is the best cheap hotel in Inverness?

I have a soft spot for Travelodge’s UK budget hotel rival, Premier Inn, and have stayed in their hotels a number of times, including earlier in this Scotland trip at the Premier Inn at Fort William. However, at the time of booking this Inverness stay, the Travelodge Inverness City Centre considerably cheaper than its main competitor.

But is the Travelodge a good choice of cheap hotel in Inverness? Find out in this Travelodge Inverness City Centre review.

wide river in inverness in scotland with bridge and lined by buuildings
Inverness, Scotland

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Where is the Travelodge Inverness City Centre Located?

Travelodge Inverness City Centre is on Academy Street, a five-minute walk to the train station and closer still to the bus station. Perfect for taking those day trips!

There is a good selection of shops, cafes and restaurants close by and the river is a five-minute walk.

Travelodge Inverness City Centre Review: Is it the Best Cheap Hotel in Inverness?

Check-in

This Travelodge hasn’t gone down the road of self-service check in and a friendly human being did the deed efficiently.

What is the check-in time at Travelodge Inverness City Centre?

The earliest check-in time is 3 pm. Check out is by midday on your departure date. Earlier check-in or later check available for an additional charge, subject to availability.

Is luggage storage available at Travelodge hotels?

This is where the no-frills begins to creep in. Travelodge does not encourage luggage storage. Instead, it suggest that guests to purchase early check (or late check-out) if they anticipate an early arrival or late departure.

This is what their website has to say about it:

Most of our hotels are unable to offer a luggage service. However, our hotel teams may be able to recommend a local service provider. Why not make your stay with us more flexible with our early check in and late check out services? This will then allow you to check in from 12pm (normally 3pm), or check out late until 2pm (normally 12pm) for just £10 per service. With this flexibility, you can go off and explore quick after arriving, or take more time to relax in the comfort of your room or over breakfast before you leave. You can add this service to your booking online or you can call your chosen hotel directly.

Hmm.

Public areas

If you picture yourself curled up with a book in a comfortable hotel lobby, forget it. The public area in the Travelodge Inverness City Centre is functional and is not designed for lingering.

This cafe / bar area serves breakfast and dinner as well as light snacks and drinks.

cafe area with wooden tables and red chairs
Travelodge Inverness City Centre, cafe / bar area

The room

My room was quiet, at the end of the corridor on the top floor. No stomping feet overhead.

To say that it was compact is putting it mildly. I’ve had cruise ship cabins with more square footage. Decorated in the chain’s corporate red, blue and grey tones, it had good lighting throughout.

Storage space was minimal. There was a hanging rail with two lonely hangers and no shelves or drawers.

The king-sized bed was comfortable but had cheap linen and foam pillows. In lieu of bedside tables, there were two cubbyholes at either side of the bed.

room at Travelodge Inverness City Centre with bed and desk which may be the best cheap hotel in inverness

There were two vinyl armchairs and a small desk area. A kettle was provided along with limited supplies for making hot drinks: sachets of instant coffee, tea bags, UHT milk and sugar/sweetener. Further supplies were available on request. Cups were in the room but no glasses.

desk with red chair

Power points were plentiful and included USB charging points at either side of the bed (although one of these didn’t work during my stay. There was no safe, fridge, hairdryer, iron and ironing board in the room. Hairdryers and irons were available from reception, subject to availability.

A wall-mounted TV hung opposite the bed.

There was no air-conditioning. This was an issue as the room did feel very stuffy, despite the less than tropical temperatures outside, and the small desk fan provided was ineffective.

The bathroom was clean and functional with good lighting. It had a shower cubicle with a nylon curtain. The shower was powerful.

Don’t expect to sink into the towels but they were of reasonable quality.

white bathroom with shower cubicle and sink

Hair and body gel in wall-mounted dispensers were provided as was a soap dispenser by the sink.

Wi-Fi

Complimentary Wi-Fi is very mean. You have 30 minutes free access per day. Alternatively, you can pay £3 for 24 hour access.

Eating and drinking at the Travelodge Inverness City Centre

Breakfast and dinner, as well as snacks and drinks, are served in the hotel’s cafe / bar area.

I had breakfast there on a Sunday when I struggled to find other places that were open. Once was enough.

Due to Covid safety measures, the Travelodge buffet breakfast has been ditched in favour of table service. For £8.75, their Unlimited Breakfast is yours. Here’s what they have to say about it:

Choose as much as you like from our cooked selection, including prime back bacon, Cumberland pork sausages, free range scrambled eggs, crispy hash browns, Quorn vegan sausages, fresh mushrooms, tomatoes and Heinz baked beans. Plus anything you like from our lighter breakfast selection including fruit salad, Yeo Valley organic yoghurts, all butter croissants and more.

Sounds good, yes? The reality was undercooked hash browns, cold mushrooms, rubbery scrambled eggs and limp toast. This was served with a cup of hot water and tea bag.

cooked breakfast with bowl of baked beans and mug of tea
Tragic breakfast at Travelodge Inverness City Centre

Travelodge also offers a ‘Breakfast To Go’. For £5.25 you get cornflakes, orange juice, a pain au chocolat and an oaty flapjack with orange juice, milk, spoon, napkin and bowl.

Not once during my five-night stay did I see anyone eating dinner at the Travelodge Inverness City Centre. Why would you?

Is Car Parking Available at the Travelodge Inverness City Centre?

There is no parking available at the hotel, free or otherwise..

If you are driving to Inverness, the nearest car park is Old Town Rose Street multi-storey car park. In 2021, this cost £7 for 24 hours.

How Much Does It Cost to Stay at the Travelodge Inverness City Centre?

Room rates in 2021/22 range from an extremely modest £25 to well over £200, depending on cancellation terms and season. Book well in advance for the best rates.

Travelodge offers two base room rates:

  • Saver: Non refundable. Arrival date can be amended subject to availability and change fee.
  • Flexible rate: Fully Refundable excluding WiFi. Free to amend or cancel up until noon on arrival date.

Payment is needed upfront for both room rates.

The Bottom Line: Is the Travelodge Inverness City Centre the Best Cheap Hotel in Inverness?

The Travelodge Inverness City Centre puts the “no” back into no-frills.

Whist clean and functional, the rooms are cosy, to say the least. Fine for single travellers like myself, but two people may struggle. Forcing guests into paying an extra tenner for early check-in / late check-out so that they can store their luggage is irksome, as is the complimentary mean Wi-Fi access.

That said, the Travelodge is in an excellent location, particularly if you are taking day trips out of town by bus or train. It is also a clean hotel, essential during a global viral pandemic. And let’s face it; when you are visiting Inverness, you are not likely to be spending very much time in your hotel or guest house.

But does the Travelodge Inverness City Centre offer good budget accommodation in Inverness? Maybe.

Price point won the day. When I booked a room for my July visit, at an average rate of £56 a night, it was considerably cheaper than other mid-range accommodation options in Inverness.

Prices being more or less equal, I would have opted for Inverness’s riverfront Premier Inn. Not having stayed there, in fairness I cannot directly compare the two hotels. However, I have always had good experiences with Premier Inn, their complimentary Wi-Fi access is more generous and they offer free luggage storage. The chain has also picked up multiple recent awards for their product, including Which.