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We're pleased to announce that the con will take place at the Hilton National Hotel, Basingstoke.

The hotel is situated 50 miles west of London, easily accessible via the M3 (junction 6) and M4 motorways. The train station is only 2 miles away, and Heathrow Airport is 35 miles away.

We will have a function room that seats 150, which will allow us plenty of flexibility in seating.

The room rate has been confirmed at 35 per person per night, in double or twin rooms. If you'd prefer to be on your own, single occupancy will be 45 per person per night.

Disabled access is good because the hotel has only two floors; all the meeting rooms and half the accommodation rooms are on the ground floor. Two rooms have been adapted for disabled needs, with grab-rails around the bath (though it's not a walk-in shower). When we send out the room-booking forms, we'll be asking if you have special needs.

The GKs have visited the hotel, and here's their report...

Our hotel is the Hilton National Basingstoke. It is a modern hotel on the outskirts of the town, about 15 minutes walk or a regular bus service from the centre. It is handy for the M3 for access by car, and trains run from Waterloo to Basingstoke regularly (every 15 minutes on a Friday evening).

There is only one problem getting to the hotel by car. It's called Newbury. Anyone who has tried to get through Newbury on the A34 on a Friday evening will understand why Swampy, the bane of the Newbury bypass, is not my friend! It took us about 40 minutes to get through - anyone driving down please note!

The hotel, when we got there, had additional signs saying 'Musical Extravaganza'. Funny, we thought, they're about 7 months too early. It turned out to be a keyboard and piano event arranged by the local music shop, and they had taken over the hotel function space. The hotel seemed remarkably unphased by this, and were obviously being very helpful to the event, which bodes well for us. The event also gave us a rather good excuse to wander round and check out the rooms for acoustics (generally good). Unfortunately, they took all the keyboards away again at the end of the day, rather than leaving them for us in a few months time. Spoilsports...

The bedrooms are modern and well-equipped, with all the usual features you would expect from a good business hotel. We have the main function room, the Winchester Suite, which can seat up to 150 and also includes our own bar. We already have a promise from the hotel that not only do we have a discount rate on soft drinks from that bar, but that there will be also a keg of real ale and a keg of cider on draught from there. Now all I have to do is convince them that that might not be enough...

The restaurant has a nice hot and cold buffet for evening meals, including a carvery for those who like that sort of thing. We have managed to get a flat meal rate for two courses and a drink, although there is an a la carte menu for those who want to be more adventurous. Breakfast gave a good choice, either hot or cold, and techies may enjoy the conveyor belt toaster!

For keep-fit filkers, the hotel does well. There is a swimming pool (not massive, but it gets you wet) with sauna and steam room, and a small gym. There is also a training course in the grounds of the hotel, for those who are REALLY keen! (be fair, we walked round and looked at each station - does that count?!)

Parents with young children seem to be proliferating at the moment in filkdom, so we are trying our best to cater for these. The restaurant has a kids menu, and also a kids area (with toys etc for the very smalls). The pool is quite warm, and the hotel also puts on a sort of mini-bouncy-castle thing in one of its function rooms (not one we are using) for kids on the Saturday. This is unsupervised, and for legal reasons the con committee cannot commit to any supervision, but it doesn't stop enterprising types arranging it themselves.

Andy and I stayed there for the weekend, and enjoyed ourselves. I would unhesitatingly go back there for a business hotel in Basingstoke now I have discovered it, and we will probably go back for a weekend before the con anyway - there seem to be some good cycle routes near there! I hope that it will be a good venue for XIlophone. We are working with a helpful hotel staff, and will try and fit everyone's needs as much as we can.

Some Basingstoke links...

  • The Borough of Basingstoke and Deane
  • Hampshire County Council's Basingstoke page
  • The Knowhere Guide to Basingstoke
    Some quotes from Knowhere's Basingstoke page:
    • The best thing about Basingstoke is the Basingstoke karate/kickboxing organisation. Work out to music, meet new people and hit them.
    • The best thing about Basingstoke is leaving. Even when you're bored, depressed etc. you can cheer yourself up by thinking, "Well, at least I don't live in Basingstoke any more."
    • The town is also known as Coffeecup City due to planners leaving cup stains on the plans and building roundabouts at each one.


WebMaster: Dan Bennett
This page last updated: 25th September 1998