Last spring, Himself and Yours Truly took our eldest grandchild on his first trip abroad. The destination he selected, perhaps with a bit of coaxing from Grandma and Grandpa, was the UK. In planning our 2-week trip, we set aside 4 days for London. Once that was decided, I went off in search of a base of operations for those 4 important days. Acting as the family trip planner, I selected the New Linden, a small hotel straddling Bayswater and Notting Hill, not far north of Kensington Gardens. The location was handy for buses and the tube, easily facilitating our forays around and about London.
In the end, that choice came down to space and price. I wanted a space that would provide both our grandson and us with an opportunity for privacy, and I wanted to do so without paying the usual London prices for a 'suite'. Our room at the New Linden was billed as a quadruple, though effectively it was a suite. It consisted of two bedrooms, one with two twins and one with a double, a small sitting area, and a generous bath. The double bedroom was several steps down (just short of a full flight), connected by an attractive staircase complete with columns, built-in shelves, and a small landing about midway down. There was no door between the two sleeping areas, so the layout provided access as well as privacy--both of which were needed by an 11-year-old so far away from Mom and Dad. For a London hotel, this was an incredibly delightful space. Our grandson loved it, and so did we.
The lower-level bedroom with the double bed was cheerful and fully adequate in terms of floor space and amenities. It had a small flat-screen television on the wall opposite the bed, with a long narrow desk/bureau space along the wall beneath. The shelves near the upper end of the stairs to the main level were perfect for collecting cameras, shopping bags, guidebooks, and the miscellany that goes with sightseeing. They did a good deal to keep down the clutter of travel.
The upper level of our quad was long and narrow. The two twin beds were placed width-wise at one end, access to the stairs down and sitting room were in the middle space, and the separate bathroom was at the opposite end--next to the door to the hallway. The bedroom area included a fairly large flat-screen TV facing the beds and a desk area with Internet access. If there is a criticism to offer for our lodging, the bedroom end of this upper level felt a tad crowded in terms of space available near the foot of the twin beds. That space was perfectly adequate for young children but a bit tight for adults. Any closeness in floor space around the beds was at least partially compensated by a 15-foot Victorian metal ceiling, freshly coated with white paint.
The sitting area proved a godsend, just large enough to provide a space where we could all sit comfortably around a small lounge table. It was a good place for planning a day's outing or reflecting on the day's adventuress--not to mention writing postcards home. Desk space was available in each bedroom area, but the sitting room proved more inviting for most of our in-room activities.
Our quad had recently been refurbished, and it was clean and neat as a pin. The bathroom tiles sparkled, the paint was fresh, the linens might well have been new, and the carpets and furnishings were clean. There were no chips, scratches, or scuff marks visible anywhere. Maid service was careful, yet unintrusive. Towels and trash bins were kept fresh, but things were left where we put them. I liked that.
Breakfast was a generous continental buffet with a selection of cold cuts and cheeses, boiled eggs, soft yoghurt, fresh fruit (bananas and apples at a minimum), prepared fruit, sweet rolls, a choice of breads, cereals, and a range of beverages. We were always fully satisfied, and the quality of the offerings easily passed our personal sniff tests. The staff ensured freshness by putting out moderate quantities of food, then replenishing as needed, which I much prefer to putting everything out to sit for the entire breakfast period.
The hotel is set among a block of Victorian townhouses, and the neighborhood still retains its residential charm. The small lobby's décor is quietly East Asian, and the staff is polite and attentive. As might be expected for a townhouse conversion, hotel facilities were limited. We dropped our baggage off early in the day after our overnight transatlantic flight, and though there was no official baggage hold, the desk clerk volunteered to stow our belongings away under watchful eyes while we went off in search of a late breakfast. The elevator was small and located along a narrow hallway. Our party of three travelers with suitcases and carry-ons filled it completely. All public areas were clean and inviting, though perhaps not quite to the level of our quad.
The New Linden is listed on various hotel sites at 2, 3, or 4 stars. Take your pick. I venture to approximate 3 stars based on its lack of urban hotel facilities. In the final analysis, however, it's the experience that counts. Based on our experience, we would happily return to this charming hotel. It combines convenience with value for money, and we left with happy memories. Who could ask for more?