Travelling for business has gained a reputation for being unglamorous and rather inconvenient with whispers of pokey rooms, poor WiFi and bad food. But with a great range of hotels across the Thames Valley region that offer great travel connections, comfortable rooms and competitive rates, business travel doesn’t have to be a drag.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best hotels in the Thames Valley area that are well-located, are budget-friendly and won’t make you dread that meeting over-running.
Best for impressing with after-work drinks- Museum Hotel, Oxford
Location: Oxford City Centre
If you’re lucky enough to travel to this historic city for work, you may as well enjoy some culture whilst you’re there. Known for its quirky pubs and cobbled streets, the city of Oxford has a number of ‘old fashioned’ hotels to stay in, and is situated in one of the oldest buildings in Oxford, the Museum Hotel certainly fits the bill. Known as the UK’s first ‘keyless’, they offer a completely automated check-in service meaning you won't be hanging around the reception desk or trying to rush for that check-in deadline.
With just 10 rooms in this historic spot, the Museum Hotel is a home from home, with contemporary designed rooms, free WiFi and executive lounges available 24/7. Whether you’re hosting a dinner meeting or need to meet a client, the Museum hotel is the perfect place to impress your teams over drinks. The central location and laid back atmosphere make it the perfect place for business deals and with rooms starting from £109, the Museum Hotel is a winner all-round.
In their words: “The building dates back to 1594 & houses numerous unique features, from embracing the latest technology, to respecting its historic charm of old previous hidden fireplaces and a spiral staircase. We are the first hotel in the UK to offer a wholly automated check-in service and whilst our staff very much pride themselves on providing a warm welcome, guests benefit from having the option of being completely independent - allowing greater control and freedom for when they can come and go from the hotel.”
Best for its central location - Malmaison, Central Reading
Location: Central Reading, by the train station
If you’re looking for a well-located hotel, you’ll struggle to find something as well-connected as the Malmaison, in Reading. Situated opposite the train station and positioned on a main bus route through the town, this is the perfect place if you’re travelling for business without a car. Known for its more upmarket decor and popular cocktail bar, the Reading-based branch offers much more than just a place to stay for business with an onsite restaurant serving contemporary French cuisine, once you’ve checked in, there'll be no real reason to leave.
Why not enjoy the previous home to Great Western rail as a rejuvenated first-class meeting venue and host your next business call in the comfort of their designated meeting rooms with a range of catering options to choose from, should you need to cater for the calls too. WiFi, later check-in and 24-hour reception as standard, the Malmaison in Reading offers you a lot for a budget-friendly price of around £90 a night. Win, win.
In their words: “Enjoy style with substance’. Built in 1844, our Reading hotel is the oldest surviving station hotel in the world, perfectly retaining the style and decadence of the golden age of rail travel. Think luxe decor, roll-top baths, and gigantic, soft beds and you're on the right lines.”
Best for unwinding after a long day in the office - Marriott, Swindon
Location: Swindon City centre
Perfectly located off the M4 and within the centre of Swindon, the Marriott offers a quieter spot for unwinding after a busy day of meetings. With onsite gym and spa facilities, you'll forget you're on business when booking into this calming spot. Looking for somewhere to work during the day? There is plenty of desk space and seating located around the hotel, overlooking the bustling streets of Swindon. If you’re driving or taking the train, the Swindon branch is perfectly situated for all kinds of travel and will see you through those long days on the road.
Whether you’re hosting business drinks or just need a quiet space for a conference call, the Marriott Swindon is an ideal spot for all things business. Free WiFi, mobile check-in, discounts for longer stays and stylish garden suites are all within a very budget-friendly price. Next time you have to travel down the M4 or need somewhere within easy access of the South West, why not give it a try. Rooms start at £107 excluding breakfast.
In their words: “Our city centre hotel places guests conveniently close to historic Old Town, the Swindon train station, Swindon Designer Outlet and the Steam Museum, as well as popular destinations like Bath, Oxford and Stonehenge. Recharge in our spacious rooms and suites which feature plush bedding, flat-screen TVs, ample desks and Wi-Fi. The Marriott has everything you need to make your meeting perfect. At Swindon Marriott Hotel we don’t hold meetings – we make them.”
Best for getting a quiet’s night sleep (and for parking) - Norton Park Hotel, Winchester
Location: Norton Park, Hampshire
Perfectly located just off the M3 in the Hampshire countryside, the Norton Park Hotel is a quiet spot outside the hustle and bustle of the historic city of Winchester. This calm, elegant manor house is the perfect spot for a host of business meetings- or simply for an overnight stay when travelling. Boasting ample parking and acres of parkland, if you want to unwind after a busy day at the office or need to find somewhere that packs an impressive view for the next meeting, Norton Park hotel is the perfect spot.
There’s an onsite spa, sprawling conference spaces and meeting rooms as well as a choice of rooms depending on whether you want one in the old manor house or a more contemporary feel. There’s an on-site reception, WiFi and stylish bedding as standard. Prices are business expense-friendly too, starting from £94 which is a steal for a quiet nights’ sleep.
In their words: “We’re conveniently located too, just off the A34 and a 10-minute drive from the M3. Southampton Airport is around 20 miles away if you have guests flying in from overseas. Our eco-friendly credentials mean that electric car drivers can refuel using our EV charge points and Tesla superchargers.
Bring character to your meetings in our Hampshire idyll. Whether you’re looking for a distraction-free workspace for the day or an out-of-the-ordinary room for a product launch, our historic setting offers something a little different.”
Best for views at breakfast - Crowne Plaza, Marlow
Location: Just off the Marlow bypass, Marlow, Bucks
If calm surroundings and idyllic views of greenery and lakes is more important than a stylish meeting room, the Crowne Plaza in Marlow could be the place for you. Located just off the Marlow bypass and well-connected to the M40, A4 and M25, the hotel even has its own helipad should you need it. The Crowne Plaza is a plush spot for a business lunch, hosting a meeting or simply unwinding after a long day as it’s just outside the beautiful market town of Marlow.
The comfortable rooms are well-equipped with phone points, USB charging and desks so those out of hours emails can be done in the comfort of your room, whilst the reception and dining space is available during the day should you want to work from there. The AA Rosette restaurant and onsite spa will make it nearly impossible for you to leave for your next meeting. The room rates start from £100 too which is certainly worth every penny with this quiet, stylish hotel.
In their words: “When looking for luxurious hotels in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, look no further than Crowne Plaza Marlow. The stunning lakeside location of our hotel in Marlow, set in 5 acres of beautiful countryside, makes it an ideally placed conference destination, within easy reach of Maidenhead, High Wycombe and the Heathrow Airport. Crowne Plaza Marlow is the ideal conference venue for training, seminars, product launches, boardroom meetings, interviews, team building, and brainstorming events as well as small exhibitions. All of our meeting rooms offer everything you would expect from a luxurious and contemporary hotel with attentive staff to make your event a success.”