Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Graham Clark
Features Writer
4:21 PM 23rd September 2019

Blackpool - An Illuminating Prospect

The tram stop just outside the Best Western Carlton Hotel on the North shore in Blackpool is aptly named Pleasant Street which sums up perfectly a pleasant experience you can expect when staying at this homely retreat in the north's premier seaside resort, which is not far from Yorkshire.

Recently refurbished to a high modern standard the decor downstairs has been tastefully designed. You know you have arrived in Blackpool when your eyes cast upwards to the large photographs on the walls that depict various scenes, such as the Tower, North pier, the Winter Gardens and the donkeys on the beach.

There is free parking at the front of the hotel for guests and the Best Western Carlton is dog friendly too.

Check in was friendly, fast and welcoming. First impressions I think count a lot and it felt straight away that this was a homely place to stay. There are only 3 floors to the hotel but if you want a stylish modern room with a sea view then you really need to stay in one of the suites that come with a glorious view of the Irish Sea.

The large suites come with a stand alone bath that sits snugly but not obtrusively down the side of the room. There is a rain shower too in the bathroom. Above the large king size double bed sits a large photo of the North pier, but why look at that when you can see the real thing from your bedroom window.

It is a 3 star hotel so there is no fridge in the room (though you can get ice from the bar and Harrogate bottled water) and no air conditioning, but you can open all the windows. I counted at least 10 plug in points in the room and there were plenty of USB ports to charge up your phone or tablet if you wanted to use the fast free WiFi.

The bedding was clean and the bed very comfortable, though watch out for the bottle of Blackpool rock that might have been left on the bed!

I looked in some of the other rooms around the back of the hotel, whilst there is no sea view and the rooms are smaller they are still modern in design.

Retreat Bar
Retreat Bar
Meals are taken in The Retreat Bar and Grill which also has a sunny Terrace which catches the afternoon sun. We were fortunate to stay when the country was experiencing an Indian summer. Watching the sun set over the sea under a cloudless sky, which soon turned into a blazing red, you could have been in the Balearics, not Blackpool!

Sunset in Blackpool
Sunset in Blackpool
The evening menu has an a la carte section and also serves classics such as burgers, fish and chips, pasta, chicken curry and mixed grills.

We have stayed in 5 star hotels that have been over run with staff who were so disorganised and lack lasture, but at the Carlton although they might have had one person taking orders and attending the bar they managed to serve 6 tables with ease, and speed. All the staff we encountered were professional and well trained and were a credit to the hotel.

Pasta verde
Pasta verde
The food is cooked to a high quality: my 8oz Sirloin steak offered versatility and tenderness with a thick peppercorn sauce, whilst my partner's pasta verde with roasted vegetables served with Parmesan shavings came in a plentiful serving, cooked just like the Italians cook pasta.

Sticky Toffee Pudding served with vanilla ice cream was a delight though the Ploughman's Cheese Board lacked a tangy Stilton as apparently guests thought the Stilton was an acquired taste!

Breakfast is buffet style in the Retreat with a full cooked tasty English breakfast, if you wanted a continental breakfast though you might be limited to cereals, yogurt, croissants and fresh fruit salad.

The hustle and bustle of Blackpool is only 5 minutes walk away from the hotel but the North shore is quieter which ensures a good nights sleep.

They call them the greatest free light show on earth and the Blackpool illuminations are just that. Running until 3 November the lights this year even had Sooty, Sweep and Soo included. This is all due to the fact that Harry Corbett bought his first Sooty puppet in the town.

Many visitors miss the free standing placards that are at the end of the illuminations on the North shore which feature the Madhatters Tea Party and the Four Seasons amongst others.

I just wonder how much the electricity bill must be to put on this spectacular display!

We left wanting to return again. The hotel might only be 3 star but with the new refit, obliging staff and a quality stay they have 5 star aspirations and worth taking a trip out of Yorkshire.

Best Western Carlton Hotel, 282 North Promenade, Blackpool FY1 2EZ
Telephone 01253 628966