I’ve had the (often dis)pleasure of staying in various budget accommodation in London this year and have stories to tell and advice to give which you should certainly keep in mind if you are coming here for the olympics in a few weeks time.
The first place we stayed straight off the plane in London.
The Good: Some nights of the week are around the 50 pound mark if you book early enough in advance. The room was really really nice and the airport noise was blocked out by double glazing. Downstairs there were vending machines, a restaurant and a Costa Coffee which were much needed as other than a McDonald’s and garage next door, there were no other food places in the vicinity.
The Bad: This is really designed for a one night stay on your way to/from Heathrow as there is little in the way of food or entertainment within walking distance and the restaurant downstairs is pricey. We’d booked and pre-paid for breakfast but being jet-lagged we missed it and it cost more than breakfast should.
We also attempted to check in to the wrong hotel as there is another Premier Inn further down Bath Road and our bus driver kindly dropped us at the wrong one. The doctor my boyfriend required a visit from also made the same mistake and wasn’t very impressed with my directions.
Another budget accommodation option near Heathrow Airport.
The Good: Again fairly soundproof from the Heathrow noise, and a courtesy shuttle was available (though we did not use it).
The Bad: The en suite bathroom was smaller than those normally found on aeroplanes and once the shower was used water was everywhere for the remainder of the day and our room was not cleaned at the weekend – we were told this was due to the fact they had only one cleaner working.
The Wifi cost 4 pounds per day and only worked in the common area downstairs. This was a hot sunroom which also doubled as a staffroom so we had to put up with a group of cleaners having a gossip and a cup of tea most of the time we were in there.
A J Lodge – Slough.
It’s not quite in London but Slough is not far from Heathrow and offers a few close attractions such as Windsor Castle, Legoland, Thorpe Park and the Mars Bars Factory. It is also where The Office UK was set.
The Good: If you’re after something out of London or wanting to go to any of the above attractions. Their breakfast was excellent – eggs cooked any style, mushrooms, baked beans, hash browns, bacon and sausages as well as toast, coffee and juice. It was cooked on order and from memory available until 8.30am each day.
The Bad: The cleaner didn’t knock before entering, downstairs smelt musty and of ants and the room needed a good vacuum. The shared toilets were missing hand towels and soap much of the time.
I really wondered what the hotel manager was doing working there! He seemed a lovely, intelligent guy and shouldn’t have had any problem getting a good job in a decent hotel.
Vegas Hotel – Victoria
The Good: Location, Location, Location! A short walk from Victoria Station, The Tate Gallery, The Thames (perfect for watching the Diamond Jubilee Flotilla). And the price was excellent for the area.
The Bad: We had to walk through the shower to get into the bedroom which was seriously short on space. Breakfast was basic – cornflakes, juice, tea or coffee and white toast with jam. Cleaning was below standard and there seemed to be only one key to our room – we had to leave it at reception every time we went out. On one occasion the cleaner took it home with him and we were locked out and confused for some time before he reappeared.
Wi-fi again cost much more than it should have as it only worked downstairs in the breakfast room.
Travelodge – Heathrow Terminal 5 and Church Street, Gatwick
The Good: Around 40 pounds per room per night, clean, quiet and tidy and the rooms are nice. Wifi is free on the ground floor (but that fact is not well advertised) but you can pay to use a faster speed internet in your room. Buses to and from the airports swing by regularly and from an early hour.
The Bad: I really have no gripes except that the fish and chips I ordered in the restaurant of the Gatwick hotel were really truly awful and overpriced. And there was nowhere else to eat in the area.