Raleigh Park - Student Halls (Review)

I shared a review of my private student accommodation in London and a lot of people have found it useful over the years so now that I have moved out of my Nottingham student accommodation, I thought I would share my thoughts, having lived there for 2 years and 8 months!

Raleigh Park is a private student accommodation halls in Nottingham, however it is also one of the accommodation options available for first years to book directly through the University of Nottingham. In first year, you don't actually get to select the provider, but can rank the halls on offer in order of preference and catering options etc.

The complex is split into multiple blocks. In first year, I stayed at Roddice Court. This was known as the postgraduate block or semester stay location, but as a January student starter, as I was only there for 7 months, it was also the place for us to be put. From there, we moved into Madison Gardens because the majority of student houses had been rented before Christmas and after looking at a couple of rental opportunities, it was easier to stay on the premises. In third year, we then just extended the contract because the house was torn between private rental or staying due to the cheap rent and the fact it could accommodate 5 cars.
First year was great. The accommodation was in a flat set up. There were 5 rooms in each, along a corridor, with two shared shower bathrooms and a kitchen with an open plan dining room and lounge area. The lounge was small but it worked. The block was apart from the others so it was very quiet and the cleaners were amazing. The kitchen and bathroom would be spotless every other week and it was nice to reset. Despite the small communal area it worked perfectly and it was fun.

Moving into the house felt like a step up. Because we got a returners discount, that meant it was the same price as the first year, for a bigger property. In third year, it did increase slightly due to inflation but it felt amazing not to have to move house for the first time in 7 years. I hate moving! The downside of the flat was that it was a single bed, whereas the house was a double (or rather a three-quarter size).

Like the flat, the house had 2 shared bathrooms but 6 bedrooms. It was three floors, with three bedrooms and a shower bathroom on the top two floors. On the ground floor was a lovely modern kitchen with dining table and a large separate lounge, plus a separate downstairs toilet. The toilet downstairs was a great area and the lounge was super spacious. It genuinely felt really spacious.

Unfortunately, the house had massive downsides. Sadly, it was right next to reception and had a bench outside, as well as the bins. This meant that it was really noisy during the nights with parties, during the mornings with bin men and during the days with cleaners talking and smoking loudly. It was not fun and I am defintely not going to miss the noise. Similarly, the floors seemed to be so much thinner than the flat and my room was underneath another bedroom and above the kitchen, aka loud.

The other thing was that the cleaners were terrible. They never did a thorough job despite paying extra for them and because our cleaning day was on a Monday, we always seemed to miss cleans during bank holidays and what not. It just always felt filthy. It didn't help that they obviously didn't clean over coronavirus so for over 6 months there was no cleaning at all.

I think the biggest negative from the experience was that the complex of Raleigh Park is owned by two different landlords. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we were told fundamentally to move out. The university had already implied students would be let out of contracts and I had pretty much moved all my stuff out the week before lockdown officially started, when I was in quarantine. From there, every University of Nottingham halls allowed students free rent, despite belongings still in accommodation. Other private accommodation halls quickly followed suit and we expected the same from Raleigh but our battle was met with conflict. Eventually, half of Raleigh got let out of their contracts but sadly, we did not fall into this half and it made us so angry. I think to pay full rent and not being allowed to live there was terrible. I also think that even if they couldn't let us out of the contracts, no cleaners were being paid and no water/electricity/gas was being used so ultimately they saved a heck of a lot of money. All in all, very unfair and I personally feel it was and still is outrageous.

I didn't have a car in first year but in second year I was based in Chesterfield so I needed a car to travel too and from placement. Despite this being essential and lots of parking available, we had to pay £250 a year for the privilege. Again, I felt this was extortionate and with 5 of us using the facilities, there was still no discount.

The last thing I want to comment on is the staff (bar the cleaning staff). The security team were all lovely (bar one who caused problems beyond and ended up getting fired) and we made great friends with most of them. The reception staff were friendly and always helpful. I never personally had much interaction with the manager but the other's all thought he was also amazing. They were always quick to resolve issues and respected us. Especially with maintainence. This process was simple and involved filling in a form, which they got dealt with in a timely manner.

Overall, I think the accommodation was great for us because it was cheap, had car parking facilities, included bills and self-catered. Sadly, the cleaning service was abysmal and the location of the property meant it was very loud constantly, with little respect for our day and night shift schedules. Sadly, the experience will always be tarred by the lack of justice during the pandemic and that will therefore shade my experience and the review.