London Calling
January 11, 2009 5:34 PM   Subscribe

London vacation help: specifically a place to stay!

I've checked previous threads, but to little avail. I'm going to be in London from March 14-21 and need recommendations on hotels. I know absolutely nothing about the area, but we're going to be doing touristy things (we're into museums, history, Shakespeare, etc.)

Here's the catch: I'm going to be traveling with my mom who's in her late fifties and is requiring a private bath. Yes, she cares. After reading reviews rife with bed bug horror stories, I'm turning to you guys to help me. Cheaper is always better, and this place is the current winner. We'd prefer a B&B over a big hotel, but honestly cost is going to be the deciding factor. I'd love to not spend more than US$120/ night.

Thanks all! If you have any other recommendations, I'd love to hear them! We're quite willing to do side trips outside the city, but we'll have no car. (And hey, if a side trip turns into an overnight and saves on expensive London hotels, even better!)
posted by veryhappyheidi to Travel & Transportation around London, England (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I had a good experience at the Garden Court Hotel, and it was very cheap. It's located right in Kensington Gardens Square (pretty!), very close to Notting Hill. I'd stay there again, definitely.

Here's their current listed price for rooms with a private bath (you can probably talk them into discounting it, I know I did):
• Twin with private bathroom (two single beds) from: £120.00
• Twin with shared bathroom (two single beds) from: £77.00
• Triple with private bathroom (one single bed + one double bed) from: £155.00
• Family room with private bathroom (one double bed + two single beds) from: £175.00


Otherwise, I'd also recommend checking out Can't hurt!
posted by miss lynnster at 5:49 PM on January 11, 2009

A few years ago my family stayed at The George Hotel in Bloomsbury. It was pretty decent, and while we didn't have en-suite bathrooms, it appears they do have rooms with them that start at £65-75 depending on how long you're staying.

It's walking distance from the British Museum and the Russell Square tube station. We had a good experience there, and my mother stayed there on business a year or so after our family trip and still had good things to say about it. It's a pretty basic but comfortable B&B.
posted by midatlanticwanderer at 6:05 PM on January 11, 2009

(BTW, I know the prices I quoted above for the Garden Court aren't *super* cheap, but that is mainly because of the in-room bathroom. When I stayed there, our room was about 60 quid.)
posted by miss lynnster at 6:09 PM on January 11, 2009

I have stayed at the Ridgemount Hotel in Bloomsbury three times now. They charge 75 quid for an ensuite twin or double room, but not all their rooms are ensuite. Their only shortcomings are the same ones you'll encounter with most London hotels; rooms are small, lots of stairs and no lift, etc.

The good things about it; cheap for London, walking distance to the British Museum, only 5 minutes walk from two tube stations (Goodge Street and Euston Square), clear communication, and helpful. The last time we were there one of our party pulled a back muscle and couldn't carry her pack to the station; the proprieter went out in his apron from serving breakfast and waved down a taxi for us. They'll often ask you where you're going as you come down to breakfast, and tell you which bus or line you need to get there.
posted by andraste at 6:16 PM on January 11, 2009

I've stayed here before - The Regency Hotel. Good prices. Great location. The rooms are laughably teeny by American standards, but they have a lovely, spacious lobby with fireplaces and chintz couches, a staggeringly huge breakfast spread and a cozy dark bar.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:34 PM on January 11, 2009

I've stayed at the Abbey Court Hotel. About $125 U.S./night a few years ago. Nice, comfy. Very British in a casual way. Great deep claw-bathtubs. Good size rooms. Huge complimentary breakfast spread (don't bother buying the upgrade.) Close to the tube. Definitely a nice place for a parent. Found it on expedia or travelocity for better room rates.
posted by typewriter at 7:09 PM on January 11, 2009

Not an hotel, fun nonetheless. Call in advance and they will do any/everything to accomodate you.
posted by emhutchinson at 7:54 PM on January 11, 2009

I stayed at the St. Margaret's Hotel a few years ago found it reasonable (as did my 50+ parents who visited me). It's close to the British Museum, a tube stop, and Russell Square.
posted by nothingsconstant at 8:14 PM on January 11, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks so far... the Ridgemount and the George seem to be about the right price, (the Regency Hotel is L119 +VAT and Abbey Court Hotel is running L135).

Is St. John's Wood (where the B&B I linked is located) a good place to be? Or would locals know to run away screaming from this area?

Thanks again!
posted by veryhappyheidi at 8:17 PM on January 11, 2009

St John's Wood is an exclusive area. Sir Paul has a house in that neighborhood.
posted by droplet at 9:00 PM on January 11, 2009

The Hoxton is nice.
posted by Human Flesh at 11:56 PM on January 11, 2009

There's another Abbey Court Hotel on Sussex Street - that's where I always stop in London, combines relative cheapness with quality and location (it's a five min walk from Paddington Station). I think all the rooms have private bathrooms (well shower room, at least)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:02 AM on January 12, 2009

Is St. John's Wood (where the B&B I linked is located) a good place to be? Or would locals know to run away screaming from this area?

St. John's Wood is actually a nice part of town but...
1) There's not much to do there. At least not much that tourists usually come for (one exception I suppose is that Abbey Road is there)
2) Your nearest Tube stations are in Zone 2. This means it will cost you more (and take longer) to see things around Central London, most of which are in Zone 1.

Folks have pointed you to places in Kensington. Those are good because they're in Zone 1 and usually walking distance to the V&A, Natural History Museum, Science Museum etc. as well as Kensington

They've also pointed you to places in Bloomsbury which is walking distance to the British Museum, as well as Covent Garden and Soho. You'll also be near a Picadilly line tube station which is probably the best one for tourists (takes you to Heathrow and most of the major tourist attractions)

The other big cluster of budget hotels I know about is in Pimlico on Belgrave Rd. (near the Tate Britain) which is Zone 1 but kind of far from everything anyways.
posted by vacapinta at 2:36 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

The cheapest hotel I know that actually is clean and comfortable is the President (L95 for a twin). I've stayed there years ago and friends visiting stayed there recently. It's in Bloomsbury and one block away from the tube and loads of buses from Russell Square.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 2:40 AM on January 12, 2009

As an ex-patriate Londoner living in the US I can tell you that the two areas advised for you to stay are about right. To be close to the main Museums (Natural History, Victoria & Albert, etc., along Exhibition Road) you should be in the Kensington area. For the British Museum you should base yourself in the Bloomsbury area, ideally around Russell Square. As a resident I never used London Hotels, but the tourist responses should be reasonably OK, if maybe inaccurate on price unless recently visited. London is VERY expensive, and as the US$ is relatively weak it gets worse every week. Use a Credit Card as much as you can and avoid carrying too much cash. Public transport is good, but not that cheap, but get out of town if you can. Get to Kew Gardens, Runnymede/Windsor, and other areas along the River Thames. Enjoy the trip!
posted by lionele at 1:18 PM on January 13, 2009

London is VERY expensive, and as the US$ is relatively weak it gets worse every week. Use a Credit Card as much as you can and avoid carrying too much cash.

A note on the above comment. The pound is actually the weakest its been in over a year against the dollar. Against the euro too. These last few months euro tourists have been flocking to London for cheap deals.

Also note that you may have trouble using your American credit card at most places these days. Everyone seems to want cards with chips which American cards dont have. Your ATM/Debit card however should work just fine and central London has like an ATM on every corner. Central London is also extremely safe, especially Kensington and Bloomsbury. There are so many tourists in these areas that even the usual advice of "just don't look like a tourist" doesnt apply. Looking like a tourist means you'll fit in just fine.
posted by vacapinta at 5:43 AM on January 14, 2009

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