“ Address: 130-135 Minories / London / EC3N 1NU / England „
*Fallen from grace?*
Currently #91 of 1,162 hotels rated in London on www.tripadvisor.com, I can't help but feel that perhaps other hotels have overtaken this lovely little establishment, rather than it haven fallen from grace among tourists.
I visited the Chamberlain hotel in late 2007 and was pleasantly surprised to find this gem tucked away on an unassuming street near the Tower of London (Minories). At the time it was doing far better on the aforementioned Trip Advisor and we booked at the bargain rate of ~£70. Rates remain reasonable and various discount hotel websites can bring the price down further. It's still possible to pay less than £80 a night at the weekend and even the large chain hotels in London struggle to offer a decent service for this price. I can't really offer an average rate, but prices for the 'normal' rooms range from ~£75-£130 depending on the time of year.
*Location, location, location. It's not nearly as important as you might think*
Looking at this hotel on a map:
it might seem a little bit tucked away from central London. On the contrary, I've found that some of the best hotels in London are away from the very centre and with good public transport, there's really no need to splash out on overpriced locations just for a slight degree of convenience.
Westminster underground station to Tower Hill is five stops on the underground, making this a great location for business or leisure. There are good bus links to areas such as Covent Garden and a selection of river boats available nearby for further exploring.
There are a few bars and restaurants near the Chamberlain (including a Fuller's pub in the hotel). That said, sound insulation is good and from Saturday Morning through Thursday the area is deserted! I was never annoyed by noise from outside and I'm a *very* light sleeper.
We'd booked online and check in was efficient, friendly and caused no difficulties. The lobby is a little jaded, but I'm reliably informed that they've re-decorated of late.
All the rooms I've seen at the Chamberlain seem lovely, be it Club, Luxury or Executive. We were travelling on a budget, but our Club room seemed luxurious enough. It was well furnished (even if a little dated), with a large, very soft bed, plenty of storage space, a large TV in the bedroom, safe and minibar. There were blackout curtains that allowed for a good night's sleep and everything that you'd expect of a reasonable hotel. The minibar was very cheap for a hotel and we were able to enjoy a drink each and some snacks with change from £10 - a rare feat in London!
My favourite room was probably the bathroom - with it's large, soft and fluffy towels, powerful shower and.... plasma TV in the bath! Yup, set into the wall at the end of the bath was an 8" TV, absolutely perfect for watching the Simpsons while soaping up. There were also some good quality free toiletries provided, with citrus scents.
*I come for the room, I stay for the breakfast*
Most room rates I've seen include a continental breakfast, making the prices at the Chamberlain an even better deal. This consists of breads, croissants, cereals, cold meats and cheeses. There was also plenty of fresh fruit, tea, coffee and the usual juices. We found that with some sleight of hand it was quite possible to yoink a free light lunch from t-he breakfast room, too :D There is the option to upgrade to a cooked breakfast (non-buffet) for an additional £5 or so, but this wasn't nearly as enticing as the grand price of £0 we were paying for the continental option.
The dining room was quiet and staff were warm, attentive and polite. We didn't get a chance to dine in the restaurant during our time at the hotel, but the food is a reasonably priced mix of gastro pub favourites, some slightly more adventurous dishes and snacks. Rather than whack out a big list, details on the catering can be found here:
*Everyone's 'secret tip'*
Amusingly enough, I've mentioned this hotel to four or five other folk, two out of who have been tickled by the fact that this is their 'secret tip' for a budget hotel in London too! I'm trying to break the trend with this review, in the hopes that others will try out this cosy London hotel with its consistently high standards, reasonable rates and accessible location.