“ 1 Kings Cross Road, London, WC1X 9HX. Toll-Free: 0800 897121. Tel: (020) 7833 3900. „
Holiday Inn Kings Cross/Bloomsbury is located at 1 Kings Cross Road in London. [There's another nearby hotel on the same chain, the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury, so don't get them mixed up.]
The hotel is reasonably large, with 405 rooms. It didn't really seem to be that big, though, apart from having a very long queue for breakfast one morning [we didn't eat there that day, so weren't affected, fortunately].
We stayed as a family [with two boys, 11 and 8]; the room was billed as a family room, with two double beds.
The room had the usual facilities you might expect from a Holiday Inn: a kettle and tea and coffee facilities; a desk with TV and a comfy chair for [one of] us to relax in.
The bathroom was a generous size, and included a shower in the bath. There was a hairdryer in the room. The room looked as though it was relatively recently decorated, and all the staff were perfectly pleasant at all times.
There is a Leisure Centre with indoor pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi & multi gym. Unusually, this isn't free to guests: there's a charge of £3.50 per day for adults, which is not a situation I've seen before [but it is London, I suppose]. We didn't actually use the Leisure Centre, so can't comment on it directly, though it was refurbished in 2009.
Breakfast took the usual buffet form where you can choose from fruits, cereals and the traditional eggs, bacon, sausages etc. The choice was definitely poor compared with other Holiday Inns in which I've stayed, with even the selection of cereals a bit restricted. Those of you who've read some of my other reviews will be aware I'm partial to a spot of haddock for breakfast; alas it was not available here [and it took about three attempts just to find a waitress who knew what haddock was!].
There are two restaurants, one conventional [grills, steak, pasta etc (kids eat free)] and one Indian (have to pay for children).
The hotel is situated about 15 mins walk from King Cross station, and you can walk from it to Oxford Street in about half an hour. We arrived in London at Euston Station, which was a £7.00 taxi fare away.
We stayed for three nights during October half term and used the hotel as a base from which to explore London with the boys. The B&B rate was £175.30 for the four of us. [Aword of warning about the website: I thought I'd booked a room for £154.00. It was only after I'd paid that I realised that prices quoted don't include VAT. I've since found out that the Holiday Inn website includes VAT in the quoted price for hotels outside London, but excluded it for London hotels.] Holiday Inn run a loyalty scheme called Priority Club, and we'd used our pints to get two free night, so three nights in London for under £200 doesn't seem too bad.
The Boy and I have just been to London for 5 days for my friend's wedding (very beautiful, lots of crying!) and to go on a steam train (Steam dreams, review to come later). So, we spent two nights in Greenwich Holiday Inn (not nice, review to come later too!) and two nights in Kings Cross/ Bloomsbury Holiday Inn.
~ Getting there ~
Kings Cross/ Bloomsbury Holiday Inn, not to be confused with Bloomsbury Holiday Inn, is about 15 minutes away from Kings Cross St Pancreas station (roughly £5 in a taxi on tariff 1, i.e. non-peak time, during the day, not on a Sunday!). You can walk to the Kings Cross Holiday Inn (I'll refer to it as 'hotel' from now on) from the station, but I wouldn't advise this unless you have a map or you know the area well. If you are driving to the hotel then just head towards the Royal Mail sorting office on Farringdon Road as the hotel is directly opposite there. There are only 15 parking spaces at the hotel, and it will cost you a daily parking fee of £20 to park there. The spaces are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. The spaces were all full when I was staying there (Sat - Mon), so if you are driving down then I would advise finding somewhere else to park.
~ On Arrival ~
There's a well presented reception area as you walk through the doors, which was adequately staffed so you were only waiting a few minutes, if at all. The staff were courteous and helpful. The Boy had already paid for the room, so we were just given two key cards and directed to the lift. In the lobby there is a small newsagents-type shop, but there are free papers for customers by the concierge. I will warn you though, you can either have a complimentary Telegraph or Daily Mail, so I did end up buying The Times most days anyway!
To get to your room there are three lifts available. The lifts are quite large which eliminates the potential troubles of annoying families squashing all their annoying children and suitcases onto your feet. Throughout the hotel there is air conditioning which was especially nice on Saturday when it was swelteringly hot.
~ The Room ~
The Boy had just booked a double bedroom for the two nights, but because he is a Priority Club member (you get points for staying in Holiday Inns) we were allocated a King sized bed Suite on the top floor (very nice!).
As you walk in the room there is a bathroom on your right. In the bathroom there is a bath with shower, toilet, sink, shaving mirror, and the little stand of complimentary products including bottles of shampoo, shower/bath gel, body lotion, a nail file, shower cap, plus two flannels. The bathroom had tiled floor and walls and was very clean.
My one gripe about the hotel is that the bath is quite high up. Getting in the bath is fine as there's a little handle to hold on to. Getting out the baths is another matter altogether! I'm fairly fit and healthy, but the stretch from the bath to floor was quite big (I am only short though) and there was nothing to hold onto as the handle was on the other side of the wall. I nearly fell getting out of the bath, but if you sit on the side of the bath and swing round, the risk of slipping is less great!
The room was partitioned into two sections by a wooden trellis-style divide. There was a king sized bed to one side, with tables either side, and a sofa on the other side, with coffee table. There was also a desk with a mirror above, plus chair. In the desk cupboards was a mini fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, complimentary orange juice, water, and biscuits. There was also a trouser press, iron, hair dryer, phone, high speed internet access, colour TV with cable/ satellite (15 channels) and complimentary sewing kit and shoe shine.
The room had an air-con unit which was situated away from the bed and at the top of the wall, perfect for sleeping as you don't have it blowing on you all night (you'll understand how important this is when I write the Greenwich Holiday Inn review!). It had a fairly consistent sound, so after a few minutes you forgot it was even there. The unit was controlled by a box on the wall so you could switch the air-con off if you liked, choose how strong the fan would blow, and choose the temperature of the 'blowing'!
The bed was very comfortable. It had a cover (the only purpose of which seemed to be to make the bed look pretty when it was made!), two medium-soft pillows (spares available in the closet) and a medium-thick duvet. You are provided with a small booklet on the types of pillows available if you would like to swap your pillows for say duck-down pillows, or allergenic pillows, or goose-feather pillows... quite.
The room overlooked the Royal Mail Sorting Office. The window couldn't be opened due to health and safety reasons, but with the air-con, it's not like you really need to open the window. The windows were quite thick and there was very little noise that could be hear from outside.
You could opt to have breakfast in bed if you filled in the little form that was left for you, but there was a charge for this.
~ Room Cleaning ~
The bed linen is changed every three days, but you are provided with a door hanging, so you can indicate that you would like your linen changed more frequently. The bed is still made everyday, regardless of if the sheets are changed, and is left turned down. The towels are replaced every day unless you hang them back on the rails in the bathroom, and then there are just refolded. This is to save on water and the environment.
I have a real hatred of people touching my things and I get a little agitated in hotels because they clean your rooms everyday. However, everything was left as it was, even the half eaten sandwich!, and the room was just cleaned and used items (such as the orange juice, tea cups etc.) were replaced. Also, a little chocolate was left on each of our pillows!
~ Room Service ~
The room service menu is EXPENSIVE! It was something like £15 for a chicken burger. However, we ordered a hoisin duck wrap with spring onion for me, and a chicken Caesar wrap for The Boy. Both came with a generous portion of chips and a dollop of coleslaw. The order was swiftly brought up, maybe 10-15minutes, and came to £16. Having already paid for the room by card we hadn't left any details with reception, so we had to pay for the order by cash (or you could give him your card), though why he didn't bring any change with him (or a card reader) is beyond me!
The food was delicious. I wouldn't say it was exactly worth the £8, but it was still lovely. The pieces of duck were quite big and not fatty, same with the chicken, the coleslaw was tasty, and the chips were hot and crispy.
We left the tray outside the room after we'd finished, though this wasn't collected until about 10.30am the next day.
~ Breakfast ~
Breakfast was included in the price of the room and there was a large variety of foods to choose from. There was hot food - bacon, sausage, eggs (scrambled and fried), tomatoes, hash browns, mushrooms, beans..., cold food - cereal, fruit, yoghurts, ham, cheese..., croissants, toast, bread, rolls, marmalade, jam, drinks - tea/ coffee, apple juice, grapefruit juice, water, milk, orange juice, tropical juice...
The food was delicious! There's something for everybody there. There was never any waiting around for a table either, you just went down to the restaurant, were allocated a seat, and then helped yourself.
~ Amenities ~
There's a restaurant there, an Indian, which we didn't eat at as neither of us like spicy food, which was reasonably priced (about £5-6 a curry).
Sauna, whirl pool, swimming pool, leisure centre, beauty salon, florist, PC's available... you can see their full list of amenities online.
The Boy and I didn't use any of the facilities, so I can't comment on what they're like. I'm presuming they would be up to the same standard as the hotel, so I'd imagine they would be well kept and very nice.
~ Location ~
The hotel is well situated with easy access to Kings Cross station and tube line. There's a lovely collection of shops, including Waitrose, New Look, FCUK, Chocolate Chocolate (the most quaint and delicious chocolate shop!), in Bloomsbury (Brunswick Centre) which is about a 10 minute walk (almost opposite the Bloomsbury Holiday Inn). There is a Strada restaurant which serves delicious Italian food, and a Gourmet Burger Kitchen which sells the best burgers I have ever eaten in my life (expensive, but oh so worth it!).
The hotel is well situated for the West End, Oxford Street, Covent Garden.
~ Overall ~
I liked this hotel a lot. The little touches, like the chocolates on the pillow, really made you feel welcome. The hotel itself was kept spotless, and the staff were helpful and polite. I have nothing bad to say about this hotel at all.
There are taxis which pull up outside the hotel quite frequently, so transportation isn't a problem.
It cost us, well The Boy, £120 per night for two nights stay, so about £240 overall including breakfast. It is on the more expensive side, but then it is London and the hotel was kept to a very high standard.
I would definitely recommend this hotel.
~ Everything else ~
- Check in: 2pm
- Check out: 1pm (though can be extended)
- Guide dogs allowed, but no other pets
- Seemed wheelchair accessible
- The staff speak lots of languages!
~ Useful (maybe!) links/ info ~
- Directions on how to get to the hotel: http://tinyurl.com/59xaw6
- About Priority Club, how to apply and rewards: http://tinyurl.com/636nx4
- Channels available on TV (incase that's important to you... or if you don't want to be sat watching the football you could hide the remote): BBC 1 & 2, ITV, Channel 4 & 5, Sky One, Sky Sports 1-3. Sky Sports News, a few more sports channels, including a golf channel!, Jetix, a few foreign channels (we watched a bit of German Popstars!). There were also movies (and um... adult movies) available on a Pay-Per-Go service.
- Amenities: http://tinyurl.com/5pyqs9
- GBK (go find one and eat there!): http://www.gbkinfo.com/index.php