October 2011 – Palm hotel, London

Living in a hotel – I must admit, I never thought this would be a problem for me.

After being unimpressed by the temporary short term let options, our temporary solution was to stay at a local suburban hotel five minutes away from a friends place (i.e a short cab away instead of having to drag our long haul luggage London peak hour transport).

I don’t think I have stayed in a suburban hotel by choice. Usually reserved for boring work trips, paying money to stay in the suburbs has never been on the top of my to do list.

The reviews on tripadvisor were average, but you really have to think carefully before you read their advice. A few whining remarks about renovations, I was a bit hesitant but thought surely they won’t be making noise at night so all I need is a good sleep.  Upon our arrival, we were pleasantly surprised that the hotel seemed to look completely refurbished with only the exterior still being updated.

The rooms were small (average by budget London hotel standards), however they provided a clean and compact solution to our living dilemma. Double bed, big plasma tv, a work desk with free internet and a great little window with auto blinds makes you feel like you are in a cozy little top floor studio apartment.

Everything we need was there – it’s just a little smaller. Though the absence of a fridge is a little odd. Have they decided people will not drink a mini bar? As we were on the job hunt here in the UK and spending a lot of time in our room, a few bottles of ‘somethin somethin’ could have made my job applications that little more interesting.

The bathroom is quite small but oddly the shower had a giant rainfall showerhead. The tall man was in heaven, but I found it be an odd choice. The provision of shampoo but no conditioner also seems to be a continuing trend.

The breakfast was a sore point for some precious travellers and while by no means is it a luscious spread, they do cook an English breakfast on demand, which was a great option. Fresher and more personalized than a buffet breakfast – I don’t think I can eat eggs from a bain-marie ever again. To be honest I was surprised that a room rate as cheap as ours included a breakfast. A careful comparison of other last minute London hotels only provided us with a disgusting selection of bed bug ridden and poor quality establishments.

Due to the location I don’t think anyone would be rushing to book the Palm Hotel on their next London visit, however, it did challenge my preconceptions of suburban hotels. I was wrong. They can be nice.

Palm Hotel

64-76 Hendon Way

London, NW2 2NL

England, UK

http://www.palmhoteluk.com/

September 2011 – Best Western Mornington Hotel, London

We arrived in London on a bright summers day – a perfect introduction to a city that is more aligned with dark cloudy days.

Undergoing a recent facelift, the hotel fits in perfectly with the surrounding grand Victorian houses. The hotel windows and entrance are lined with sweet little hedges, and a flurry of bright flowers lining the building reminds me that we have in fact come to London in the spring.  The hotel lobby is decked out with a small library, bar and reception, accented with bright colours. There is something missing – a little soul perhaps? – but they are at least trying. After staying in some pretty sad hotels in London, this was nothing to be concerned about.

The room was small (as expected in London on a tight budget), but it was bright and clean, with quirky furniture and wallpaper. The bathroom was quite large with an impressive shower, however it was the toiletries that caught my attention. The only available toiletries were soap and shampoo? After a long dehydrating flight, I was hoping for some kind of conditioning treatments for hair or body.

 

The hotel is located in a great spot, perfect for a wander around Hyde Park and a short walk to the tube station. Our experience of the local fare was limited to a pub around the corner, however that was more down to jet lag and little patience.

 

I would definitely recommend this hotel as a short introduction into London, as it ticks all the boxes. The main box being a budget friendly hotel in Central London, close to Paddington station.

 

Best Western Mornington Hotel

Lancaster Gate, London

http://www.bw-morningtonhotel.co.uk/