Hotel blues
October 10, 2012 3:26 AM   Subscribe

Last minute London hotel booking on the cheap - is it even possible?

I'm heading into London for the big expo at the ExCel centre, and having been uncertain whether or not I'd be attending this year, bought my ticket yesterday. Now I'm in a quandary over where to stay as I have a relatively minor amount of cash to spend and have left it far too late to get any kind of early booking discount.

What I need from you, dear hive mind, is suggestions for cheap(ish) accommodation that isn't so far from the south east that I'm looking at hopping at four or five different tube lines to get within walking distance of the ExCel. I'm a midlands lass, never been to London on my own, and can get lost going out my front door - complicated travel routes just spell disaster... Maybe cheap and local isn't feasible now, maybe there's some gem only a Londoner would know about, maybe I'm out of luck and just have to bite the bullet. What ever the case, anything you guys can advise or suggest would be wonderful.
posted by Inner Universe to Travel & Transportation around London, England (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How cheap are we talking here?

You said you don't want to be too far from the conference centre, but if you really want to save some money I would suggest maybe looking into spending the night at a Travelodge/Premier Inn type place in Norwich or Cambridge, then getting the train into London in the morning. It's about an hour to get into the city, but you'll be paying around £60 per night for a decent room rather than £100+ for a spot in someone's shed in Lewisham.
posted by fight or flight at 3:39 AM on October 10, 2012

It looks like there's a Travelodge really close by in Docklands, with £80 rooms.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:48 AM on October 10, 2012

Looking through my London Bookmark folder, and I can mostly do super cheap but not quite as close as you would like:

Palmers Lodge

And Hostelworld is a good resource for finding cheap lodging, if you're okay with staying in a shared dorm. (They do B&Bs and such, too, but mostly they are what they say in the URL.)
posted by harujion at 3:49 AM on October 10, 2012

Laterooms has the Holiday Inn in Stratford at £89. It's in the new Westfield centre, so there's lots of things going on around there, places to eat, etc. and you can get the DLR from there to the Excel.
posted by essexjan at 3:49 AM on October 10, 2012

Also, check your MeMail.
posted by essexjan at 3:51 AM on October 10, 2012

Response by poster: Cheap is around £300 or less for four nights. Should've specified that I'm looking to stay down there from the 25th to the 29th, Thursday to Monday.
posted by Inner Universe at 4:05 AM on October 10, 2012

The travelodge out by the City Airport is good and cheap. (50 pounds a night for a double room). You can't hear air traffic at all. The rooms are clean. It's a couple of minutes walk from the tube station and looking at the map, you'd only have to change once at most. I think you could actually walk right to the expo centre easily enough.
posted by lollusc at 4:06 AM on October 10, 2012

Tablet hotels are good value
posted by zia at 4:07 AM on October 10, 2012

I certainly wouldn't travel from Norwich - the train journey to London alone takes the best part of two hours. Probably quicker from Stoke.
posted by Segundus at 4:07 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I certainly wouldn't travel from Norwich - the train journey to London alone takes the best part of two hours. Probably quicker from Stoke.

Ditto'd. And the hotels won't be that much cheaper.

London's a bit place and there will be lots of accomodation. Check your routes - best to be on the DLR, but you could be along the District line and change to the DLR. My knowledge is largely on the other side of town, buts there's a few Holiday Inns / Travelodges along the way which should get you in under the price point.
posted by outlier at 4:33 AM on October 10, 2012

If you want cheap, I'd go AirBnB. Loads are on the DLR or near Excel. Almost all are well within your price range.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:35 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by blue_beetle at 4:43 AM on October 10, 2012

The Travelodge in Stratford has availability. 4 nights on the dates you want is £266. Travel to Excel is fairly easy from there. Coming down from Stoke, getting to Stratford is also simple as you should come into Euston.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:51 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I stayed in the St Giorgio hotel in Ilford during the Olympics and it was about 60 pounds a night including breakfast, I think. It is literally the least exciting place you could ever stay so you're not going to want to hang out in your room and luxuriate (and read the reviews on tripadvisor which suggests some of the rooms are noisy so there's that to consider) but it's clean and there's a safeway express or whatever next door for grabbing bottles of water and toiletries or things and a couple of places you can grab a coffee on your way out within a few storefronts. I was pretty happy staying there. The hotel is right next to Gants Hill subway station, so it's a quick trip (five stops?) on the central line to Stratford, then DLR to excel, which is where I was spending much of my time. I would probably go Air Bnb as DarlingBri suggests though, if people weren't being ridiculous about prices during the Olympics I would have done so myself.
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:30 AM on October 10, 2012

I booked several places at reasonable prices in and around London less than 24 hours in advance via trip advisor, and it all worked out fine.
posted by Diag at 5:38 AM on October 10, 2012

I second using AirBnB. You'll definitely find something much cheaper than a normal hotel that way, and much more comfortable than a hostel!
posted by snoogles at 5:44 AM on October 10, 2012

I'd seriously caution against staying outside of London and getting a train in, mainly because of the often extortionate cost of train travel. Especially if you buy a ticket at short notice, or on the day. Train prices online can be a maze to negotiate; same at the ticket office (and they don't always give you the cheapest option, even if you ask for it). If you can get a - relatively - cheap ticket, there's usually non-refundable restrictions, such as you have to get a specific train there and back.

As many find out (to their cost) it's often cheaper just to stay in London. Add on the cost of connections at both ends, the hassle of getting tickets, and the vagueness of train travel, and it is not worth the hassle, figuratively or financially.
posted by Wordshore at 6:04 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thirding AirBnB, it's designed for situations like this.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:05 AM on October 10, 2012

There's a helpful Trip Advisor thread about bargain hotels in London, and the good thing about ExCel is that it's out east, and so are many of the cheaper hotel chains. I agree that staying outside of London and trying to come in will be not only annoying but could be very expensive in the end.
posted by lettezilla at 7:35 AM on October 10, 2012

Have you tried I just did a search for 4 nights next week at a hotel in Docklands and it came back with a 4 star hotel, 1km from the Excel centre for $131 per night. This link might show you the page I saw (but I'm not sure if it will still be there etc).

Hotwire doesn't tell you what hotel it is (that's how they get the discounted rates... or something), but they'll give you a rating and the distance from where you want to be.

Good luck.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 8:20 AM on October 10, 2012 is my go-to and always comes up with the goods as long as you're not too fussy.

There's a specific page with what you're after here.
posted by corvine at 8:31 AM on October 10, 2012 is great for UK and european hotel bookings, last-minute or otherwise. But you're on the DLR line (the Custom House stop) so you could take anywhere at Stratford, too.
posted by stevedawg at 4:46 PM on October 10, 2012

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