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A Sampling of London Hotels – Part 1

March 12, 2012

Lately I have had the dubious pleasure of having to spend week nights away from home as I am working on a project inLondonand I now live too far away for a daily commute to be possible.

Sadly, my expenses budget does not allow me to stay in top flight hotels so I am constrained to the sub £120 a night rooms. While that may sound like a lot, inLondonit can sometimes be a problem to actually find a room. This is because they are either already booked up, or their ability to provide a night of comfortable rest is questionable.

I client I’ve been working at is in Kensington and so for practicality purposes, the hotels are as close as possible to the client.

The Holiday Inn, Kensington

Everything you’d expect from with well known hotel chain. The staff are consistently trained and the hotel has a familiar standard of décor and quality. Everything is clean and comfortable. The only negative is that the pressure of the water from the shower wasn’t up to much.

Breakfast was decent with a good range of fresh fruit and cooked food. There was a decent range of fruit juices too! I judge a hotel’s breakfast by whether or not it includes Tomato Juice among its juices and unsurprisingly, it was among the choices and very nice it was too! The only negative was the scrambled egg looked more rubbery that I expected and so I gave it a miss. I did enjoy the coffee though, it was very nice and having someone wandering about topping up with fresh coffee is a nice touch and I certainly appreciated it.

Sadly, Holiday Inn adjust their prices according to demand and when the room rate rocketed to £210 for two of the nights the following week, I was forced to look elsewhere.

The Lancaster Gate Hotel

When I saw a deal offering a whopping 63% discount on the room rate for the week I jumped at it. The full price would have put it at considerably more than the Holiday Inn rate for the week so I was hopeful for a quality place. Unfortunately it didn’t match expectations.

The shower at least had decent pressure; however, shower too late, say after 8:30am and you struggle to get a hot one. This means having to suffer one of my pet hates, shaving with lukewarm water.

Further disappointment came with the discovery that the bed was on casters. Imagine my surprise when I put the pillow up and leaned back against the wall to have a good read and the bed slipped forward, almost dumping me backwards off it! Sleep was disturbed because the door in the corridor outside did not have a soft close. It is not at all acceptable to be woken up when adjacent residents are late in or early out simply because of a banging door.

Breakfast was acceptable but not up to the standard of the Holiday Inn, the biggest disappointment being the coffee. It was served to the table in a flask, rather than poured fresh and it was either poorly made, or artificially kept warm too long or simply made from cheap low quality beans; maybe all three. Either way, it wasn’t that nice and I wasn’t all that surprised when one morning I heard another guest ask for their flask to be replaced. The baked beans were another disappointment, looking consistently congealed every morning. There was also no Tomato Juice!

The Holiday Inn is a better choice of place to stay.

TheLondonElizabeth

The cheapest hotel so far and probably as cheap as I’ll dare go. The building itself is an old building with plenty of character. It felt very quaint being given a real key for my room rather than a keycard, I was also asked to ensure I hand it back at reception on leaving the hotel for the day. This wasn’t actually an inconvenience and meant that I engaged with the staff far more than the other hotels. This wasn’t a bad thing as they were all very pleasant and friendly.

Walking up the staircase to my 3rd floor bedroom reminded me of ascending the stairs in my Grandparents old house when I was a young lad. However all the decor looks old and tired; the carpets look worn and even dirty in places, much of the woodwork needs a new coat of paint with the worst areas looking like they need a spot of filler as well.

My front room overlooked a busy junction and sadly there was not enough sound proofing to shut out the noise sufficiently to guarantee a peaceful nights sleep.

The dining room was pleasant, but again looked very dated and in need of a refresh. Evening meals were disappointing with all the red meat I had being tough and chewy and all vegetables being underdone, which is not normally something I get as I like my veg al dente!

Breakfast however, was a very pleasant surprise, the cheapest one yet and cooked to order, making it the best quality breakfast so far. It was served at a decent temperature not having been kept warm in a catering style tray as per the other hotels. Not much choice in the fruit juice department though and certainly no Tomato.

Wigmore Court Hotel

Another step down in price, oops, I should pay attention to my own words of warning. The hotel is a similar style building to The London Elizabeth, but slightly smaller so fewer rooms on offer. A key was offered at reception, along with a key for the front door. This will be the first Hotel without a 24 hour front door so a key for that was provided too. My room was at the front overlooking the road outside. Thankfully the double glazed window shut out the noise sufficiently and a good night’s sleep was had.

The hotel does not offer evening meals, so in essence it’s a bed and breakfast. Breakfast was self-service from a hotplate, so a return to the stuff of averageness. This time with an extra ingredient so far not encountered, square slices of process cheese, who on earth has that with their cooked English breakfast?

The lack of evening meal facilities meant having to go outside and find an eating establishment each evening. This being London, there is no shortage of places to eat in the vicinity and so 3 blocks away I found a restaurant connected with a local Best Western and had the best evening meals so far.

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