Family vacation stay in Central London
March 23, 2014 10:50 AM   Subscribe

My husband will be at the ICANN conference in late June of this year, which is being held at the Hilton London Metropale. I think the kids and I might join him towards the end of his time, but since we're a family of 5, we're probably going to need something other than a hotel. I've been looking at VRBO a bit, and will check out Air BnB, but could use some recommendations of specific areas to go for or avoid-leads on specific rentals would be fabulous!

Kids will be almost 5, 8, and 17 at the time. We're probably looking at four or five days. Keeping it around 200 pounds a night would be fabulous, but we have some flexibility. Thanks!
posted by purenitrous to Travel & Transportation around London, England (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've had great luck with, for many, many years in many, many places. I wholly recommend them.

I tried airbnb and was pretty quickly turned off by their heavy-handed security requirements. I can see that having some security makes sense, particularly for those places where people are sharing homes they're currently living in, but the things they asked me to do were so totally over the top that I refuse to do business with them. Also, their software sucks.

I've also tried, and never had any luck with them, because my dates and destinations are always highly restrictive, and I don't live in an area people consider visiting often. But if you live some place like NYC or SF, it's probably a super site for finding free accommodations.

I totally recommend staying in a vacation rental if you're a family. Our family of three almost universally rents a home, and the savings and convenience are soooooo worth it. Eating all three meals out every day with the kids is expensive, unpleasant for the kids, and wasteful. Having laundry saves so much luggage space and hassle. Having room to spread out is fabulous.

You can often get a cheaper rate if you stay longer, and most of the prices are somewhat negotiable, and you can, e.g., offer a larger deposit to get a lower price, or just ask for it. I always assure the owner that my family is experienced with vacation rentals, and our daughter and we are respectful of the owner's property and belongings. And then we are always very careful and respectful, and write a good review when we're done (and send complaints directly to the owner, so they have a chance to fix things).
posted by Capri at 12:12 PM on March 23, 2014

VRBO is decent but lacks the host/guest protection - it basically is just an online classified ad, you need to be careful as a renter as well as a host to be sure to protect yourself, your stuff, and your money. That said I rent on VRBO frequently.

I like Airbnb for exactly the same reasons Capri dislikes it - I don't have to worry about protecting myself as either the host or the guest because airbnb totally has my back. I use airbnb extensively as a host and even though I lose a significant portion of the income by using it, I don't have to deal with making sure people's checks don't bounce, etc., etc. Airbnb takes care of all of that - and they don't share YOUR info with the host. And they don't pay the host until after you are staying in the place, so if it turns out it is a fake/fraud you're not out any money.
posted by arnicae at 12:56 PM on March 23, 2014 is another option for family-friendly rentals.
posted by judith at 1:49 PM on March 23, 2014

Family rooms in Youth Hostels are a possibility.
posted by Jabberwocky at 3:28 PM on March 23, 2014

You should check out whether university accommodation would suit you. London has a lot of HE institutions and many will have their own residences and will rent out rooms for summer, some starting from early June, as with Westminster. Try looking for Imperial, UCL, LSE, and any other major London university.
posted by biffa at 4:41 PM on March 23, 2014

I will second biffa's recommendation for university accommodation, especially LSE. I've stayed there a few times--I prefer the option that includes the hot breakfast.

HomeAway might have options that suit your needs.

The Hilton London Metropole is not far from a place called Stylotel. It's a small boutique hotel close to Paddington Station and Edgware Road (where the Metropole is). Prices are reasonable for the location, staff friendly, and they serve a hot breakfast.

Incidentally, London has a lot of things for kids to do (depending on their ages). The Natural History Museum is just south of Kensington Gardens, which is a long-ish walk from the Metropole but it's via a lovely park. Just hope the weather cooperates!
posted by Quaversalis at 5:42 PM on March 23, 2014

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