Admiral Hotel is located in Sussex Gardens, near Hyde Park London. With the Paddington station just a 3-5min walking distance, it offers easy access to transportation and central London areas. I've stayed there 2 times and I always try to get a room with them every time I travel to London. I'm the kind of traveller that doesn't require luxury but has certain standards that needs to be taken in consideration, specially in terms of location, staff, cleanness and of course the prices. In terms of location, like I mentioned before, this hotel is really well situated and the area is very pleasant. When it comes to the staff, they were very helpful every time I needed some information or ask anything so nothing to complain there. About the cleanness, I must say on the first time I decided to stay at this hotel I was a little worried because of some bad reviews I found on the web. Still, I didn't have much time to plan my trip and decided to give it a go. I was really impressed because although the room was not very big, it was very clean and tidy. The bed was comfortable, it had some coffee and tea goodies available, the bathroom was sparkling and I had a nice view to the street though the window. I paid £134 total for 2 nights and I have to be honest, this is a great price for a double room in London. I also got breakfast included. (Admiral hotel has a restaurant and bar). On the 2nd time I went to their website at www.admiral-hotel.com and I was able to get a better price for the room and book right away. This time I stayed for 4 nights and paid around £50 for a double. Again, I had a very pleasant stay and I was well treated. Too bad they have a lousy website, it really doesn't show the quality of their service and rooms. But the rates are more cheap there on their reservation system. I will definately be back on my next trips to London city! You can find more information at their official website http://www.admiral-hotel.com
I stayed up London a couple of nights ago and was searching for a hotel in a good location in central London and was relatively cheap. I came across The Gresham Hotel in London and thought I'd review it for you. Location: As far as locations go The Gresham Hotel is perfect. It is on Bloomsbury Street near Holborn tube so is about five minutes walk from Covent Garden and West End so you couldn't ask for much more of a prime location. Price: I paid £50 for a single room. The hotel has about 43 rooms split between two buidlings and room prices range from what I paid up to about £120 for a family room. When I checked in I wasn't in the main hotel but in the annex four doors long so had to be let into there and leave my key at reception to be let in later. Reception is 24 hour anyway so there was no problem with that when I headed back later Security: If you are in the main hotel they claim that there is no problem with security but if you are in the annex where I was then you have to leave items that are valuable with reception as there are no safes etc..as I'll come on to soon The rooms: Now I guess for £50 for a night in a hotel in central London you don't expect much nowadays but there is a basic room and then there is basic!! I'm not kidding my entire room was the size of a bathroom. There was one single bed squeezed into this box room and a tiny portable TV and bed side table. The room was actually en-suite but they had managed to fit a shower a toilet and a sink into a room the size you would get on a plane!. You could not move in it or shut the door... I slept okay as the bed was pretty comfortable at least which is all I wanted really, however don't expect to have a lie in as the noise from the traffic outside will wake you about 8am.. Entertainment: The hotel didn't appear to have a bar and did no food or breakfast for clients. There was no room service either For what I needed it for then it did it's job and for location I can't fault it, but if you want a bit more luxury then I wouldn't recommend this hotel. But it was clean and the bed was comfortable and the price for where it was was reasonable
I recently stayed at the Guoman Charing Cross hotel as part of a competition prize to see Jimmy Carr. The prize included overnight stay in a luxury hotel and this was the hotel we were booked into. The hotel itself is a very short distance from Trafalgar Square and is situated directly above Charing Cross station. There is no parking at the hotel, so we parked our car at the Trafalgar Car Park at Spring Gardens. It was a short walking distance from here and was quite manageable with our suitcases. It is a Grade II listed building and is ideally situated to explore the west end theatres and galleries. The hotel itself is very grand with large sweeping staircases and antique furnishings. Check in was swift and easy and despite arriving two hours early, our room was ready for us so they were more than happy to let us check in early. The lady who checked us in gave us clear directions to our room, and advised us of breakfast time and where the restaurant and bar were located. She was polite and welcoming and it was a nice start to our stay. The reception area is relatively large with several check in desks, obviously it can become quite crowded during the official check in time and check out, but there are a few members of staff on hand to help you out. They also have a luggage area where you can leave your suitcases should your room not be ready on arrival or should you want to still have a full day around London after check out, and then you can come back and pick your cases up later. Our room itself was a little disappointing and did not represent the charm and elegance that ran throughout the rest of the building. It was very similar to a Holiday Inn Express type room and whilst it was more than adequate for a one night stay, it was quite small and basic. It did have all the necessary amenities and also had an empty fridge which I always find a bonus, especially as there is a spar convenience store next to the hotel, so we purchased some drinks from here and placed them in our fridge. Much better than having to pay the usual mini bar prices. There is air conditioning in the rooms, tea and coffee making facilities, a large desk area and there is also Wifi internet access, though unfortunately this isnt free and comes at a cost of around £6 per half an hour. A television, hairdryer and stationary are also provided within the room. Our room was a standard double room and I believe that the hotel was going through a renovation process whilst we stayed as on their website it now states that the rooms have lcd televisions and the images provided are quite different to the room we stayed in so presumably ours was one which had not been renovated by that point. The bathroom was very large considering the small size of the bedroom and had plenty of space and a large dressing table area. The bathroom was nice, clean and modern and didnt match the bedroom at all. Luxury bathroom in a very basic bedroom! We didnt actually use the bar within the hotel, but had a sneaky peek whilst walking past and it did look lovely in there with plenty of room and seating for hotel guests. We also had a glance at the menu but it was way too pricey for my liking and with so many convenience stores, restaurants and cafes nearby we decided to grab a bite to eat elsewhere. We ate in the dining room in the morning for breakfast. The dining room is quite small considering the size of the hotel. We ate quite early on the Sunday morning and had no problem in obtaining seating quite quickly but when we came down to check out at peak breakfast time, there was a large queue which was operating on a one in one out basis due to there being insufficient space. I did hear of some people complaining at having waited over half an hour. Check out was just as easy as check in and simply involved just returning our keys and then we set off home with a long drive ahead. I believe that had we been paying customers that the room would have cost approximately £115 not including breakfast and I find this to be quite excessive given the standard of the room. They do have regular deals on their website and the location of the hotel is very good so I would consider staying here again. It is approximately a ten minute walk to the London Eye attraction and about five minutes to Leicester Square so it is ideally situated. Overall I would stay here again, but would probably try to seek out a discounted deal as opposed to paying the normal standard room rate.
Visiting London can be an expensive business but lets face it a visit to the Capital is worth it. I found, quite accidentally, that staying in student accommodation is a really good value way to have a holiday. Now you might be picturing a grotty bedsit in a not very salubrious area but believe me you might be pleasantly surprised. Imperial College The first time I booked student accommodation I stayed in Halls of residence belonging to Imperial College. To be precise I stayed in Beit Hall, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington pretty well nextdoor to the Royal Albert Hall, close to Hyde Park and the Science museum so a great location if you have children. We had breakfast in the Senior Common Room which was very pleasant. The halls are an attractive old building but with excellent facilities. The bedroom was quite spacious with a nice en suite and comfortable twin beds. Queen Mary Situated in the East End just off the Mile End Road the Queen Mary's campus is a contrast to Imperial College. It is very modern and we stayed in an en suite room in a student flat, I think there were five bedrooms and a shared kitchen, which means you can save some cash and cook a meal rather than using restaurants all the time. The kitchen looked over the canal which was lit up at night and really lovely. The area round the campus is a bit um............ downmarket but there are some good restaurants close by and Mile End tube station is only a few minutes walk away. I haven't tried any of the other student accommodation but there is a lot available, LSE and UCL halls are also available. One obvious drawback is that these facilities are only available during university holidays but if the dates are suitable they are a very good value option to hotels. My visits were in 2007 and I paid about £20 per person for bed and breakfast which I thought was really good value.
My family and I recently stayed at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury London from Wed 11th-Sun15th April 2007 on a three day advance deal with full breakfast included. We were two adults and two children and it cost £116 on the Wed and Thurs Nights and £107 the Frid and Sat nights. On arrival we were upgraded at no extra charge to an executive room on the top(6th) Floor. I am a Priority Club member (register free for this on www.priorityclub.com) so maybe this helped with the upgrade. Check in was 2pm and even though we arrived an hour earlier we were allocated the room straight way. Where this hotel wins hands down is its LOCATION in the Russell Square area just a couple of minutes from the tube(2stops + to the West End) and a pleasant 10-15 minute walk to the West End. The local surroundings were pleasant with a shopping centre including a Sushi Bar, Waitrose, Juice bar, Carluccios coffeebar/restaurant and clothes shops. Behind the hotel was a 24 hour Tesco stocking all the essentials at reasonable prices. Russell Square park was lovely with a cafe and fountains and good outdoor space. There was a busy pub opposite and the Hotel had its own Callaghans Irish pub which looked nice although I did not try it out. Apart from the traffic not too noisy for London. Back to the hotel which is set on six floors serviced by three lifts(talking ones!) which were quick, efficient and working for the whole of our stay. We did experience the stairs on our first night at about midnight when the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate to the front of the Hotel. Be under no illusion that when that alarm goes off you will know about it! We had just dropped off to sleep and to be honest it was so loud we had no option but to get out! There was no fire but the Fire brigade came quickly and we were soon allowed back in. The room was spacious with a queen bed and double sofa bed both with nice duvets and pillows all lovely and clean and crisp white. Inside the door was a large wardrobe with plenty of shelf and hanging space plus trouser press,ironing board and iron. TV with digital clock, mini bar(pricey and take care not to remove anything or you will be charged),complimentary tea/coffee/hot chocolate/bottle of mineral water and kitkat chunky. Two white towelling robes and a pair of slippers were for our use also. Inside the pocket of one of the towelling robes was a note saying that if you wished to purchase the robe at the end of your stay the extra on your bill would be £35.00!!! A spacious modern bathroom contained plenty of clean white fluffy towels(changed each day) and complimentary items of soap, shower gel, shampoo, body lotion, shoe shine, emery board, sewing kit and shower cap. The only problem was that although the basin taps had plenty of hot and cold water the flow through the bath taps was a pathetic trickle so you had to think in advance to fill the bath and of course the shower was not "power". May have been on low pressure to save water but didn't spoil our stay at all. The restaurant was on the ground floor and was open for breakfast, lunch Mon-Frid and dinner in the evenings. We only used it for Breakfast which was excellent and buffet style. Hot and cold items including many different boxes of cereals, croissants, mini danish(two kinds), fresh bread, sliced bread for toast(do it yourself), butter, preserves, fresh beautifully prepared fruits including oranges , grapefruits, melon, pineapple, mango, apple/pear compote, berry compote, yoghurt, bacon, sausages, baked beans, black pudding, hash browns, mushrooms, eggs scrambled or fried and tomatoes. All very very nice and hot drinks served at the table and topped up for you. Fruit juices were self serve. The restaurant was spacious, modern and comfortable. There was car parking below at I believe about £17 per day which we didn't use as we arrived by train. There was a Fitness first Gym that was free 8-12 noon outside the front of the hotel and down stairs or lift. Room service 24 hours. Hotel mostly air- conditioned (our room was but we had the window open instead). We really enjoyed our stay at this well positioned hotel which was clean, friendly and welcoming. Go for it. www.london-bloomsbury.holiday-inn.com
Usually, when I go away for a short break, I usually end up staying in Youth Hostels along with my husband. In most places they are just as good as low budget hotels, but not so in London. Last year we went to see Bon Jovi play in Hyde Park and stayed in this absolutely awful Youth Hostel, so when we discussed our latest trip to London, we both agreed that this time we would go with a "hotel". After much searching around online, it seemed that if you wanted to get a decent hotel in London, then you had to be willing to pay BIG money. Until I discovered TripAdvisor.com - they give reports on hotels from around the world, giving you personal experiences of the standards of the accommodation. To cut a long story short, we discovered The Admiral Hotel. After a name search on google, I discovered their website, and thought it looked great. One email to the owner later and we were given the price of £55 per night for a double room with a bathroom. Yay, no more shared toilets! It was simple to book online using a credit card - they take your details, but like most hotels, do not charge you anything on it, unless you fail to turn up. The Admiral hotel is situated on Sussex Gardens, which is just around the corner from Paddington Tube and Rail stations, therefore meaning that it is easy to access, and is great for anyone going there for a short break. The street outside is quite busy, but we did not find it to be too noisy while we were there. The Admiral Hotel is a family run business, and is extremely friendly. From the outside it looks like all the other 19th Century townhouses that are adjacent to it, on the inside it is beautifully kept - so unlike other budget accommodation in London. We were greeted by Glor ia, who runs the hotel with her husband Frank. Our room was no. 11, which meant we had to walk up a lot of stairs to get to it - 4 flights, with the last set being particularly steep. There was no lift available - but believe me, this was the only downside of the hotel. The Admiral Hotel offers a variety of rooms, from singles to family rooms for up to 5 people. Our Double room was small, as you would expect, and the double bed was a touch on the small side, but every effort had been made to make the room comfortable - lovely soft carpets, mirrors to make the room look bigger, television, tea and coffee facilities, a direct dial telephone and a toilet and shower. The shower had warm water at all times of the day. I also noticed that there was a ceiling fan, which obviously would be very useful in the hot summer months, and for those visiting in the winter as we did, the heating is on so the rooms are nice an cozy. Everything was very clean and tidy, with someone coming in to clean the room each day. It does make a difference to see this being done, from various reports that I have heard of other London Hotels, it seems that such high standards are something of a rarity in cheaper hotels in London. Breakfast is included in the price of the room, and it is served in the basement of the house, which is just as lovely as the rest of it. You get the choice of either a full English breakfast, or a continental one, this is served by Gloria and another very pleasant girl between 8am and 9am. According to their web site, The Admiral Hotel can only provide parking facilities if you have requested them with your booking - from looking at the outside of the hotel, there never seemed to be much room to park.. I found this to be a lovely place, one that I would recommend to others, and somewhere which I s hall certainly return to. When we arrived, the sign said "No vacancies", and I'm not surprised, affordable but clean and comfortable accommodation is difficult to come across in some big cities, never mind the little personal touches that this place has that gives it character. For more information on the Admiral Hotel, their website is: http://www.admiral-hotel.com/index.html Hotel Address: 143 Sussex Gardens, Hyde Park London W2 2RY.
I was in London the week before last for a three day break. Picked the right week too, as the weather was clear and dry and relatively warm for the time of year. We stayed at this new hotel ? Twenty Nevern Square (hereafter referred to as 20NS). The hotel is in the Earl's Court area, just a couple ofminutes from the exhibition hall. I found the hotel on www.lastminute.com, which is actually a bit of a misnomer, as my trip was planned for over two months! The rate quoted was £89. I didn?t actually book with Last minute.com, but I handled it directly with the hotel and booked over the telephone. I was still able to get the £89 room rate, with flexibility on cancellation. The Hotel?s website is www.twentynevernsquare.co.uk, and when I saw it for the first time, I decided it was the place for me. We wanted to stay quite near to the Hammersmith Apollo, as we had booked tickets for Peter Kay for Monday 17 February. 20NS is just a few minutes from Earl?s Court Tube station, and proved to be a great location for us for our few days. Earl?s Court is served by the Piccadilly and District Lines, and one stop up the line gives you access to the Circle line too. The Hotel is a smart new hotel, overlooking Nevern Square. The Square itself is a private garden, for residents only. The properties in this area are all several storey high Georgian Townhouses, and are generally very attractive. On the short walk from the tube station I did see one or two other hotels offering rooms for about £40 each, but this close to Central London, I believe this is a little too cheap for my liking, and would not have dared venture in them. This is not the case with 20NS, and I believe the room rate we got was a great deal for a midweek stay. Checking In -------------- You are not likely to encounter any delays here as the hotel has only about twenty bedrooms, spread over five floors. The Reception area is smart, although quite compact. There is a sm all lift, which would hold about four persons. A porter appeared from nowhere to take our bags up to our room. Towards the back of the reception, there is a comfortable lounge area, and further back still is the hotel?s Brasserie restaurant, Café Twenty. Checking in and Checking out were friendly and efficient, and the receptionist was only too willing to assist in making reservations for taxis, restaurants, or to help with sightseeing plans. The Room ------------ The room we had was classed as a Luxury double room, although it was not that big. They also do a Small Double Room, but to be honest, I would try and avoid this unless you are on your own, as floor space must be at a premium. On the other side of the scale they have an extremely luxurious suite with private terrace and a 6? 5? bed, and this is currently available for about £170, which I think is a bargain if you feel like spoiling yourself. There are a number of other types of rooms, including Sleigh Bed suites, and Four Poster rooms. The furniture in our room was very elaborate and ornate, in hand carved wood. We had a TV and a CD player, which I always think is a nice touch in a hotel room, (although I forgot to bring any CD?s down with me). The TV package included some digital channels, and complimentary movies. The windows were dressed elaborately with wooden Venetian blinds and luxurious drapes. There were also a couple of chairs and a small table. We had a small but contemporary and luxurious en-suite shower room with sensor lighting; i.e. no light switch. In terms of refreshments, there were no tea and coffee facilities in the room itself ? but why would you want to drink coffee in your room anyway? There were a couple of bottles of spring water, and an apple was left for us each day ? meaning I only had to find four more pieces of fruit and/or vegetables to meet the daily recommendation! The bed was extremely comfortable too, with crisp clean Egyptian c otton bed-linen, and a sumptuous bedspread, which had the desired effect of pinning you to the bed each morning (or perhaps that was the alcohol consumption). The room also had a safe, adequate space for storage of clothes, the much loved trouser press, and a hairdryer. For the travelling business persons among you, the room is also equipped with a telephone point and ISDN lines, plus socket for laptops. In general, the décor had a strong Asian influence, yet there was also a European influence and a colonial feel to some of the furniture. Breakfast ----------- Breakfast is served in the Brasserie, and is included in the room rates. The breakfast was a modern continental style, with an ample selection of cereals, croissants and rolls, meats, cheeses and fruits, as well as fruit juices and tea/coffee. For those with a heartier appetite, a cooked breakfast was also available at a supplement of £9. Restaurant Services ----------------------- Tea and Coffee were available 24 hours a day in the Brasserie, and they were complimentary. The restaurant menu was quite simple, with about four or five choice of main course, including vegetarian choices. It was competitively priced, and included pre theatre options at £10 for a two course meal. We did not sample dinner in the restaurant however, as we met up with friends and family each evening. Other Information --------------------- The hotel locks the front door at midnight each night, however there is a 24 hour concierge/porter, and if you arrive home after that time (and if not, why not?), then you simply show him your room key. Payment can be made by the usual credit cards, and also with Amex/Diners. The hotel is classed as a Four Star Townhouse Hotel by the English Tourism Council, and is recommended by Johansens, as well as appearances in Good Hotel Guides such as Which for 2002 and 2003. The hotel itself is relat ively new, perhaps a year or two old, and won an award last year for the best Newcomer to the London hotel scene. I believe the rates are competitive at the moment as they establish their customer base, and great rates can be enjoyed throughout March and April. Reservation requests can be made via the website. In summary, I think this hotel was a great place to rest our weary legs after a tough few days as tourists in London. Take a quick trip to the website, and I am quite sure you will want to stay here next time you need a bed in the capital. Recommended. Helen Bradshaw March 2003
The Chamberlain is the third Fullers Hotel in Central London, and the first that is 4 star and a hotel in its own right. The Mad Hatter Hotel near Blackfriars Bridge and Sanctuary House Hotel near St James Park, are really just rooms above Fullers Pubs, and although they offer great value for money and facilities far above expectations, I especially looked forward to visiting the Chamberlain. Our experiences at another 4 star Fullers Hotel, the Brigstowe in Bristol had been less than positive, but by contrast the Chamberlain appeared a much more traditional option that the trying-to-be-trendy Brigstowe, so we were optimistic that Fullers had probably got this 4 star style about right. The Chamberlain is situated on The Minories, a short walk away from either Aldgate or Tower Hill tube stations. We walked from the Aldgate stop, a relatively short tube ride away from Kings Cross. In this way, if you are travelling by train into Kings Cross, the Chamberlain offers the greatest convenience of all three Hotels, being the only one that does not require a change of tube line. The Hotel brochure states ?at weekends this is one of London?s most peaceful streets? and due to the offices in the City being closed at this time, this is hardly surprising. The street is very quiet, but not at any time during our stay totally deserted and therefore we did not feel at all threatened. Only a short walk away is the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the City. For shopping, theatres and other tourist attractions, you will need to catch the tube. This slight inconvenience in my opinion is outweighed by the peaceful location. The hotel?s façade, though obviously fairly modern, has a traditional feel, especially at ground level. The upper floors are in a light sandy coloured brick, with uninspiring white window frames, but the street level has dark wood windows with window boxes and light stone façade. Walking past the building you would be struck by the prese nce of a traditional and attractive looking pub, which is in a prominent position on the front. It fits in very nicely with its more modern surroundings and is aesthetically pleasing. You instantly feel that this is what tourists expect an English city pub to look like, and even if this is no novelty to you, it is still nice to avoid the featureless and bland international chain feeling. The entrance to the hotel is understated and leads to a reception area with a few comfy chairs and a wooden reception desk. This is the area that first sets the hotel apart from its two smaller sister hotels in London, it feel much more like a hotel, with a proper reception rather than a desk hidden away rather as an afterthought. We asked if we could leave our suitcase somewhere while we went out for the day, as it was only 11.30 in the morning. The receptionist helpfully said we could actually go straight to our room, as it was ready. My Husband is a member of the Fullers Fine Ale Club so we had secured a room at a 50% discount on the room rate, and on checking in, we wondered if this would be have been noted. Our reservation was quickly found and we were pleased to be charged the correct rate. Our room, the standard kind, would have cost £105 at the weekend (inclusive of continental breakfast) but we paid only £52.50. There are also superior and terrace rooms at a small supplement (and these include full English breakfast). During the week, the prices inflate slightly. The Receptionists in Fullers Hotels always appear to be Southern Europeans who do their job very well, with an efficiency and politeness that many English hotel staff could only aspire to. We were asked if we needed a newspaper or a wake up call the next day, and were given our key to our room on the 2nd floor. We decided to take the lift with its trendy touch sensitive panel, and quickly reached our floor. The public areas of the hotel including its corridors are all ve ry new looking, decorated in classic and tasteful tones, with everything very well presented. Our bedroom was large and happily not in the standard layout of most hotel rooms nowadays. Because Fullers Hotels are rarely purpose built hotels, the rooms vary in size and layout, and this only adds to the character. You entered straight into the main space of the room with a large built in wardrobe with mirrors on the dark wood doors directly on your left. Straight ahead was a large desk and TV unit, with built in cupboards for the tea and coffee making facilities and minibar. To the right of the double bed the room narrowed slightly, with a window and consisted of a small sitting area with sofa and coffee table ideal for relaxing with the newspapers. The bathroom was at one end of the room and was by far the largest I have had in a 4 star hotel. In fact the only bathrooms that have been larger have been in Suites at Rocco Forte hotels, where a great statement is made with the bathrooms anyway. The bathroom had a bath with hand held shower and a separate shower cubicle, a facility that is rare. The bathroom is sparkly and new with neutral tiles and classic chrome. Both showers are really powerful and the bath also has the added benefit of a plasma screen above, so you can watch TV. Surely Fullers Hotel are way ahead of their time here! These little touches are more than you would expect. The room was furnished in a soothing, classic style, with the impression of everything being very good quality. A burgundy carpet with checked burgundy bedcover and walls covered in neutral light peach wallpaper with subtle wide stripes. The furniture was in a dark cherry wood style and appeared good quality, and was well co-ordinated. As well as having a very pleasing appearance, the room contained practically all you would expect in the way of room facilities. The large wardrobe contained an iron and ironing board and a safe. The fitted desk unit neatly hid the kettle with coffee, tea and hot chocolate, and a minibar that unfortunately was of the automatic kind, so to store any of your own items required some dexterity. Contained within the minibar area, was an ingenious storage area for the selection of glasses, and the thoughtful touches made for a clean uncluttered room. The room was well lit with spotlights and free standing, desk and bedside lamps. The dressing table/desk had a good-sized mirror in addition to the full-length mirrors on the wardrobe doors. The TV was of a good size, with various satellite channels, teletext and built in clock alarm. The only criticism of the room was the view, or lack of it. Because our room was in the centre of the building, the view was only of the interior with fire escapes etc. Obviously this is not an uncommon problem in London, and not one that bothered us. Maybe next time though, we would request a room on the front of the building. The hotel has a traditional pub and a slightly less informal restaurant, although this is closed at weekends. The pub is typical Fullers, with dark wood bar and tables without the sparkly newness that afflicts even the 'traditional style? pub chains. The pub offers a good selection of Fullers beer, London Pride, 1845, Chiswick and bottled Honey Dew and Honey Dew with Cranberry. A huge improvement on the pathetic selection at the Brigstowe in Bristol. I love these Fullers pubs as although I frequent Wetherspoons usually, there is something very appealing about the way Fullers fit out their properties. They appear much more genuine somehow and English, which is a mean feat in London where it is easy to forget which city you are in, in the many anonymous and identical trendy pubs. We kept to various Fullers ales during our visit, and it would be criminal not to really. We ordered a couple of bar meals, and although the menu is not particularly comprehensive, it offers traditional pub fare. My husband ordered the Fish and Chips a nd I decided to choose a sandwich ? Prawn with Lemon Mayonnaise and Rocket. Both were typical pub fare, superior to most. Most main courses were around the £7 price, so were reasonable for central London, if slightly more expensive than Wetherspoons. But then you can go to a Wetherspoons practically anywhere, but a Fullers pub at only select locations!! The service was good, although obviously you have to order your own food at the bar. Towards the end of our meal we were brought a complimentary bottle of Honeydew with Cranberry, and this was a nice touch. Of all the hotels and lodges I have stayed at in London, the Chamberlain is the one that I have enjoyed the most. It seems to have the best of both worlds ? on the one hand it has all the touches you expect from a family run company with the insight that Fullers appear to have, and has an atmosphere that is all too often lacking, with the added benefit of Fullers ale!! It also manages to hold its own against other 4 star properties, with good service, pleasing public areas and rooms with facilities far in excess of what you might expect. If health clubs and cocktail lounges are your thing, the Chamberlain might not be for you. Almost always I yearn for the pretentious hotel touches of turn-down, martinis and bell boys. In London though; hardly the most classless city in the World, it was lovely and refreshing to stay in a hotel that realises these touches are often wrongly given higher priority than the things that really matter. Fullers Hotels here demonstrate they really know which things matter to the average customer. For the price we paid, it was an amazing bargain, but even at the regular rate, it would seem reasonable. Considering you pay £75 to stay at a Travel Inn or similar, where you even have to take your own hairdryer, for £30 more, you feel as if you?re in a proper hotel, and go away refreshed and happy.
I have just returned from a most enjoyable stay at the Langham Hilton. One of the flagship hotels of the European branch of the Hilton group, I had read several reviews of this hotel and - these being fairly negative - entered the portals with my eyes wide open. I was expecting poor, arrogant service. Wrong - the service was helpful, friendly and efficient. I was expecting tiny rooms. Wrong, again! Read on! So - Why visit the Langham? There are several answers. Firstly, it benefits from a truly great location, conveniently located close to Oxford Street and Regent Street in London; it's extremely central. Secondly, it's a simply magnificent hotel which treats one like a real guest - and that is incredibly important to me; I've read some very poor reviews of this place and now - having actually stayed there in late 2002 - I see no great reason to criticise it. It's time to set the record straight. Opened in 1865 by the Prince of Wales, it was the first of London's "Grand Hotels"; the first hotel to feature hydraulic lifts (or ascending rooms, as they were quaintly called) and hot-and-cold running water (as it's still called) in guest rooms. People far more famous than I have stayed there and they are honoured by brass plaques outside the best suites, each of which are individually named. Badly bombed in World War II, it was used for office space by the BBC until being refurbished in 1991. I think it is now a very fine hotel. I have to say that we enjoyed our stay immensely. Our complaints are minor. Myths Myth: The staff are unfriendly. Reality: The staff were friendly to us, and very helpful. Some of the customers were unacceptably rude to the staff. There's a difference. Myth: The rooms are tiny. Reality: All London Hotel rooms are "small". Ours was fine. Very comfortable and very cosy. Myth: It's horribly haunted. Reality: Well, of course it isn't, and I regret mentioning this to Amanda in the first place. She retired early to our suite leaving myself and Josh's Godfather in the Chukka Bar. No ghosts - but she was unnecessarily "spooked". My fault entirely. You'll be quite safe! Arrival We arrived by taxi. Ignore what anyone else says - you won't be looked down upon for arriving by tube at Oxford Circus (5 mins away) and turning up on foot but, with baby Josh in a pram and a suitcase, the London Cab was the only practical way to travel. More expensive than a London Transport Travel Card, but also far more convenient. Splash out! You'll be greeted by a pair of very smart doormen. Resplendent in black uniforms, top hats and dripping in gold braid, they are friendly and will open the door of your taxi on arrival, welcome you without being obsequious, and competently arrange your cab on departure. No snobbery here - just very good - and very friendly service. Reception So you've arrived. I was a little disorientated. What I thought was South was North. What does it matter? You are greeted by a most spectacular, floodlit frontage with a polite, inobtrusive and friendly welcome from the staff. You enter via a few red-carpeted steps and are suddenly in a truly 5-star oasis. Turn right and you're at reception. Is it just me? ...or do rude people wind you up too? I'll digress, if I may. The last time I stayed in a top-class hotel, we were given a duplex-suite which was already booked out. We entered the room and Amanda - eagle-eyed girl that she is - noticed some baggage "in situ" in the room. I thought nothing of it, and climbed the stairs towards the bedroom. Half-way up, it became apparent that the owners of the baggage were also in the room and - shall we say - enjoying the delights of the King Size Bed. We retreated, made light of it and managed to get a room change with minimum fuss. Nobody was upset. It was a well-handled comedy moment. As we queued to check in at the Langham, I got a sense of deja vu. Almost. There was a long queue. I was about to be welcomed and then the rudest woman I have yet met claimed that she had been similarly double-booked and - wait for it - THREW the keys at the receptionist. OK - so this is a 5 star hotel and these things shouldn't happen, but hang on. Get a life! Accidents happen and it sure as hell wasn't this poor girl's fault. I'd simply say that the manners of the receptionist were impeccable in comparison to those of the "guest". Rude? I should say so! Everybody deserves respect and it would help if people took the time to apportion blame to those responsible rather than harangue unfortunate front-line staff. And NO - it is NOT their job. End of rant. We got to reception and our booking was acknowledged. The receptionist disappeared to the back office and returned with our key card. As an Hilton Hhonors Gold VIP Member, I get an upgraded room. The Hhonors scheme is well worth joining. We were given a keycard. We had room 844 written on it. Off we went to find a lift. There were several - remember, this was the first London hotel to feature hydraulic "Ascending rooms". Or elevators. And they're efficient. Onwards and Upwards We found a lift. I'm sufficiently experienced to know that if your room number is 844, you press "8" in the lift. In no time we were there, on the eighth floor. A sign indicated that we should turn left to find room 844. We did. An entertaining tour of the eighth floor brought us back to where we'd started from and then...there was a door. We passed through and there was room 844. It had a brass plaque outside. "Gosh!" I showed Amanda the plaque - the "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Suite". The suites are all named after famous people who have stayed here and - joy of joys - we had been upgraded. Does this explain the title of this review? Our suite I stuck my keycard in the door. It opened, revealing a staircase. We climbed up and on our left was a great bedroom. King size bed, later found to be very comfortable, with superb pillows, a warm and comforting duvet and an attractive bedspread matching the pastel wall decorations and Roman blinds. A proper cot (or "crib") for baby Josh was provided, as requested, and there were two armchairs, a table, a fruit bowl and an alchove with a wardrobe which lit up when the doors were opened. Minibar, SKY TV, trouser press, and - being a corner room - a pretty good view of London. On top of the fruit bowl was a personally-addressed welcome message from the Manager. A great welcome and a very nice touch. Turning right, a landing leading to a marble bathroom with monogrammed fluffy Langham Hilton bathrobes and slippers, an excellent bath and shower and fully supplied with lovely Penhaligon toiletries. And then more stairs, leading to a private drawing room with setee, table, another minibar, colour TV with SKY channels, and - up a few more steps - a writing desk with writing paper, envelopes, a high-speed internet connection and one of several telephones. Look hard enough and you'll find a Bose radio / CD player, and I was delighted to put this to the test. There was one thing missing. I couldn't quite believe that there were no tea / coffee making facilities in the room. Having spent UKP 21 in the bar, I fancied a hot drink in my room. I just didn't fancy spending UKP 13.00 on two hot chocolates. I'm not on a corporate account, and can quite happily boil a kettle. A small niggle. Rooms - the bottom line London hotel rooms are notoriously small. Ours (OK - we were upgraded) was more than adequate. Clean, very well presented, and extremely cosy and comfortable. Josh is now 14 m onths old and is getting pretty mobile. He loves opening cupboards and emptying them, which brings me onto my big terror..... The Minibar Which had three faults. It's expensive UKP 2.50 for a Mars Bar (guide price about UKP 0.37) gives you a taste, although this isn't an unusual situation, to be honest. Touch - pay If you so much as move anything in the minibar, you're likely to be charged for it, electronically. No, Josh, No.........D'oh" Josh, I love you, but will you please stay away from the expensive cupboard? It's NOT funny to open it and pull things out. With a great effort, we kept him away. Bars and Restaurants As you arrive, facing you is the "Palm Court". Famed for its high teas, this looked really lovely. A working water-fountain surrounded by tables and with live piano music, this seemed to be a real oasis. Tempted to take high tea here, but it was booked out for a Bah-Mitzvah. Ah well..... On your left is Tsars bar. Josh's Godmother is Russian and we know our Vodkas. This bar, apparently serves over 100 varieties, together with Caviar (Ack! Hate it!), oysters and various other Russian-themed delicacies. And then there's the "Chukka" bar. Pukka! We arrived back at the hotel, having eaten out. The food at the hotel's signature restaurant, Memories, is, I'm sure, superb. We just fancied an Indian and paid the same for three as we would have done for one at the hotel. You don't need me to point that out, I'm sure! Anyway - back to the "Chukka". We were delighted to find that well-behaved children were welcome and sat down to enjoy a few drinks in very comfortable surroundings. In true hotel style, the prices were hardly "reasonable", but this was a most enjoyable place to spend a few hours in good company, and the service was excellent. The fourth floor < br> Is half way up the building. Josh got a bit bored of the "Chukka" bar (he's got some learning to do). He ran out. Thankfully, he was followed by Amanda. The open door of an elevator looked welcoming. In he went. Thankfully, Amanda followed. Two Americans followed and hit the "4" button. Thus Josh and Amanda got an impromptu trip to the fourth floor. I understand it was as good as any other. Above all else, this was a most child-friendly top-class hotel at which we enjoyed staying. The Langham has had some pretty poor reviews and I was pretty worried about my visit. Rest assured; it's luxurious, impeccably well-run, child-friendly and you will - if you look hard enough - meet some famous people. Be nice to the staff and they will, I assure you, be nice to you. We had a superb time and I can highly recommend it. All the best! Andrew
When hunting for hotels for a weekend I noticed that some establishments were charging the same price as a week's holiday in Spain for a 2-night stay. Having decided to go for the cheaper option of a 3 diamond hotel - recommended to me by a friend, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the rooms in the Luna Simone Hotel were well above average, all new, clean and well designed. You got a real sense of family in the Hotel and the staff were really lovely and helpful. As I wanted to do some sightseeing/ shopping etc, it was ideally placed in Victoria, close to a tube. I would point out though that there isn't an elevator, which is a pain as there are quite few floors. All in all a real bargain –at £60.00 per night, for a double en-suite room (plus a tasty English Breakfast).
It’s a widely held belief that London hotels are overpriced, unfriendly places full of exploited tourists and moaning provincials. Yet while that image is certainly true of much of the accommodation in our capital city, and indeed much of the accommodation in any capital city, friendly, conveniently located and reasonably priced options abound if you know where to look. The following hotels may not be perfect, but they’re cheap and well situated for both transport links and tourist landmarks. THE KINGS HOTEL The Kings Hotel is situated in a lovely Victorian building just off Bayswater Road. The rooms are very clean and spacious and have air conditioning, central heating, tea and coffee making facilities, a hairdryer, a large wardrobe, colour TV and an en-suite shower, sink and lavatory. On the negative side, there are no lifts in the building, my TV didn’t work and the shower cubicle was barely large enough for me to fit into. The hotel has three floors and 27 rooms. There are two rooms on the ground floor if you don’t want to climb any stairs. The hotel’s website, www.kingshotel.net, has pictures of the rooms, a list of tariffs and an on-line booking facility. Breakfast is served from 7.30 until 9.30 (last orders 9.15) in the Tapas Bar adjoining the hotel. After being allocated a table by a rather surly waiter you are given 3 half slices of toast, 1 bread bun, 1 croissant, 1 glass of orange juice and the option of tea or coffee (refills fro hot drinks only). If you’re still hungry-a distinct possibility-there is a branch of the Deep Pan Pizza Co. on the way to Queensway tube station that does an excellent all-day pizza, pasta and salad buffet for £4.95. PRICES Singles cost £50 Doubles/Twins cost £60 Triples cost £70 I got a special rate of £52 for a double from Hotel Connect (www.go-fly.com). GETTING THERE The nearest tube station is Queens way. From the exit, turn right and take your first left onto Bayswater Road. Queensborough Road is the second turning on your left; the Kings Hotel is about 50 metres down on the left hand side. Alternatively, take the Number 12 bus, which stops at Waterloo, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Regent Street and Oxford Street, along Bayswater Road until you see a Shell petrol station and the Thistle Hotel. Get off, walk in the direction the bus was heading and take your first right. Address: 60-62 Queensborough Terrace London W2 3SH Contact Details: 0207 2296848 (Tel) 0207 2299970 (Fax) 0207 2291586 (Reservations) email@example.com www.kingshotel.net Nice building; quiet residential area but close to the tube, Hyde Park and Oxford Street; inexpensive; large rooms but tiny showers; not exactly a big breakfast. Three and a half stars. THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA The Hotel Howard Winchester had been recommended to me as a cheap hotel in the Kings Cross area. However, as they were full, I was directed back across Argyle Square to the Hotel California. Located in Belgrove Street, the California is a short walk from Kings Cross station (come out of the main exit, turn right and turn left into Belgrove Street at the corner where the Post Office is situated). Doubles cost £55 (cash only), the rooms are spacious, clean and have colour TVs, en-suite facilities and a wardrobe. Other positive points include friendly staff, a free luggage room and a decent breakfast (full English), which is served from 7am-9am down in the basement. Not the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in, not the best shower I’ve ever stood under and not the best quality breakfast I’ve ever eaten. For price and location I’ll give it three stars. ALSO RECOMMENDED The Imperial Hotel and The President Hotel are both owned by the Imperial Hotel group and located in Russell Square. I stayed in the latter before the 1998 FA Cup Final and found it to offer excellent value. The hotel has 523 rooms, its own shopping arcade, an underground (pay) garage and a couple of decent bars. Current rates are £66 for a single and £88 for double/twin. Call 0207 8378844 for more details.
A couple of weeks ago we went down to London on a weekend coach trip to see My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The overnight stay was in the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Heathrow Airport. This hotel has 458 bedrooms, including some deluxe rooms and some suites, so it is a huge place, and there were numerous coach trips using the hotel whilst we were there. This meant that organisation was of paramount importance. We arrived at the hotel and were greeted by a representative who boarded the coach to explain the checking in procedure to us. We were to collect our room key from the check in desk and our theatre tickets from a table set up in the reception foyer. This all went very smoothly and we were told that we had to be back downstairs for our 'early bird' evening meal by 5pm and it was 4.15pm at the time. We were a bit disappointed as we had intended to go for a swim or at least for a laze in the Jacuzzi but there was clearly no time for this. The hotel has a health club with a swimming pool, children's pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, plunge pool, beauty therapy room, solarium, gymnasium, children?s play area and golf course. The room was very well appointed with king sized bed, plenty of hanging and drawer space, television, two easy chairs and a coffee table, a desk with a modem connection, direct dial telephone, trouser press and a mini bar. We couldn't actually open the mini bar, but that didn't really matter, as we wouldn't have wanted to pay hotel room prices anyway! The bathroom contained a bath with a power shower over it, a toilet and a hand basin. There were containers of Dove shower gel and liquid soap so I was happy as you can guess! There were glass sliding doors opening out to a view over the front of the hotel and the car park. I was hoping that we would be in one of the rooms facing in the opposite direction so that I could watch the aeroplanes coming in - I 9;m sad like that! The meal that we had pre booked as part of our weekend trip only cost us £10 for two courses and was a carvery meal with a buffet sweet to follow. There was plenty of choice and it was very well cooked and presented if a little rushed. It was served in the Concha Bar and Grill which is usually the main dining area. The hotel also serves food in the bar called Dr O'Driscoll's but not having been in a position to try this I can't comment. We did have a drink from the bar and the service was quick and friendly. We were told that breakfast would be served in the French restaurant area called Simply Nico's and we were told to be there at 8.45am prompt. Because of the large numbers of people on coach trips staying in the hotel we were allotted time slots for breakfast, which had to be strictly observed! The breakfast was a continental one and we considered trying to sneak into the Concha Bar where the other guests had got their cooked breakfasts but we thought better of it! Our breakfast consisted of cereals, fruit juice, toast and croissants with butter, jam and marmalade. There were also two urns with (allegedly) tea in one and coffee in the other. We both like tea in the morning but the tea from the urn tasted as though it had originally contained coffee and they had then put tea into it without first washing it out. YUK! The price of our weekend was £119 per person and that included all our transport plus tickets in the front row of the circle at the theatre. Dave was interested in the price of the hotel in case he was that way on business so we enquired before leaving. The cost of a single, twin or double room is from £91 per room on a room only basis! The deluxe rooms and suites start from £131. The hotel is very nice and was refurbished in 1998, but I don't think it warrants that sort of price! We have stayed in much better hotels for much less than the p rices that they were quoting. The details of the hotel are as follows: The Crowne Plaza Hotel Stockley Road West Drayton Middlesex UB7 9NA 01895 445555 firstname.lastname@example.org www.london-heathrow.crowneplaza.com They also provide a shuttle bus service to terminal 1,2 and 3 of London Heathrow Airport.
The five star Marriott County hall hotel is situated in the heart of London opposite the Houses of Parliament. Situated in the old Greater London Council building the hotel has kept many of the period features from its former use. The entrance is quite easy to miss and on the left hand side immediately after crossing Westminster Bridge. The archway leads to the front entrance where a doorman is ready to help you with your luggage. The hotel offers valet parking which is extremely useful in central London. A small shop is located at the entrance for essential purchases of forgotten items.Reception is found to the left past the old voting lobby and the oak panelled entrance immediately tells you that you have chosen an impressive hotel. On the ground floor you can find the members bar , library tea room and County Hall restaurant the latter two having unrivelled views across the Thames to Big Ben and Parliament. Take my advice though and do not order afternoon tea in the library , £19/head for what amounted to three small sandwiches a cake and a cream scone seems excessive. Buffet breakfast is served in the restaurant each morning with a good choice of traditional English and lighter continental fare. The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner and opens early for those crossing the river for a West End show. Our standard room was well equipped and larger than most chain hotels normally offer , probably due to the change of use of the building and previous room sizes. There is a high speed internet access line in each room with a cable to connect. You can also arrange IT loan from business services through the week.Sound insulation is excellent , we had an opera singer practising in the adjoining room and didn't realise until we left the room and stood in the corridor! Room service is reasonable but the mini bar prices excessive. A gin and tonic would cost over £8 from your in room fridge. There is an excellent small store five minu tes away across Westminster Bridge which sells all you would want including alcohol at a fraction of the price. There is a fifth floor Spa centre which offers a variety of treatments at prices which are more reasonable than the afternoon tea and a sixth floor 25m swimming pool and fitness centre which is complimentary for guests. You should remember however that entrance times to the swimming pool for under 18's is limited. The hotel is right next to the London Eye and shares the building with the London Aquarium , a games centre and a McDonalds (useful for those on a strict budget)although you could not tell this once you were inside the hotel. Westminster is a five minute walk away across the bridge , the West End and Covent Garden market with its chique restaurants is a 15 minute walk away and Tate Modern is a 20 minute riverside walk away. The position and quality of this hotel would be hard to fault and despite its five star rating it seemed to be child friendly and relaxed. Don't be afraid to haggle to get a good deal though , the cost of our room fell by 50% as a late availability deal booked direct with Marriott and was excellent value for money.
I have stayed in a few hotels in London and I must say that they do not match neither the comfort nor the service levels of those in other countries, and yet they charge much much more! The rooms are always too small and stuffy. The bathroom does not have adequate ventilation and the hotel itself usually should have been renovated about 40 years ago! 3 star hotels will charge you £60 per night (including breakfast). The room will be small (yes, I know I mentioned that earlier). About big enough to fit one double bed and you'll have trouble moving around the room. The bathroom is actually not a bathroom because it doesn't have a bath but a small shower with an old shower curtain. You will usually get a small TV with in-house movies. Forget about an airconditioner and the heating will be on when it is on and off when the hotel manager decides to turn it off. The thing that really gets to me is the stuffiness. The windows are not big enough to air the room and as you'll guess the years of use are definately showing. If you are late to return to your hotel, the doors are locked and you'll have to ring a bell for someone to let you in. The 4 star & 5 star ones are obviously better in service but the price really jumps. A 4-star will normally cost about £150/night and I have not even asked about the cost of the 5-star one (although I have stayed in one). The rooms though, are still small compared to what you would find in other countries. I am not saying that the hotels in most other European countries are not just as small. But they are usually not as stuffy and much less expensive. I must admit, people that have been born and raised in the UK may not find them so bad. I am comapring them to what I am used to, Australian and American style hotels where "Holiday Inn" will provide you with a huge room with airconditioning, TV, minibar, tea & coffee making facilities, a huge ba throom with a bath & a separate shower (a jacuzzi is only a little extra) and is new and modern. The price of all that in the land Down Under? About $80 AU - which makes about £35. As you can understand, I am NOT impressed!