How to find a place to stay in London

There are many areas to stay in London, but I always choose one based on how easy it is to get to the Tube or underground.  There is so much walking to be done when visiting London, it seems pointless to add to it by choosing a hotel inconveniently located far from the Tube.

The Olympics did lead to a much improved selection of new chain hotels and many others had to up their game.  It used to be like hotel roulette, where the rooms looked perfectly acceptable on the internet, but on arrival, they would be hard pressed to reach a one star rating.  Especially in Earls Court and Bayswater area.

Another important thing is to make sure you are not out on some 40 min tube journey by the airport, or way out near Canary Wharf/ Tower of London, and best to be on the side of the river with the palace and parliament.

Just be aware that most buildings are old, and even if updated, they can have small rooms and poor ventilation, noise and no air conditioning.  If you look on a review site to choose a hotel, you can be looking for a very long time, so best to choose area, price and so-so ratings and don’t expect too much.  If you want to spend a few hundred pounds per night, then you will find a plethora of grand rooms.

A typical mid-range London Hotel Room. Please excuse the mess. I was working.

A typical mid-range London Hotel Room. Please excuse the mess. I was working.

Practical Advice

One of my favourite hotels is the Travelodge Covent Garden. With Travelodge, there is a strict check in and out time, and they don’t have luggage storage, so if you need to check out at 10 am, but your flight or train isn’t until later, you can be cheeky and use the luggage storage at some of the bigger hotels. I would tell them I was checking into their hotel later and my room wasn’t ready.

Other hotels I have used are the Tavistock or Imperial in Russell Square.  They are all basic, clean and not too expensive by London standards.

I don’t mind rooms with the bathroom down the hall, as there is always a wash basin and you can save a lot of money if that is a consideration.  The County Hotel in Russell Square is a good choice.

If you use one of those hotel search engines, if the price is low, do check if it has an en suite or not.  It is not always apparent.

*I hold no responsibility for anyone booking mentioned hotels, nor do I have any affiliation with any of them.  I do know how daunting it is trying to figure out where to stay as a first time visitor.

Suitcase security 

Be very careful with your belongings in the hotel lobbies and breakfast rooms.  One girl put her knapsack down by her feet and was checking in, when someone came up beside her and ran away with her bag, passport, money, etc.

Don’t leave your case near the door of the hotel and turn your back on it while checking in.  Thieves wait in larger lobbies for unattended bags and just roll them out the door while you’re not looking.

Another time, an American tourist left her purse hanging over the back of her chair when she went to get more toast at breakfast.  Even though there were others at her table, a thief was able to walk away with her purse unnoticed.

I carry a bike lock and if I have to leave my case in a free for all storage room, I lock my case handle to a railing.