Craig’s review… I don’t mind this hotel. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to anyone, but I wouldn’t complain if they gave me a week’s free stay (hint hint). I’d probably sum it up like this: if you book a room for yourself then you’ll be perfectly happy, but don’t take your missus here. Don’t take anybody that you want to impress. Just leave it for your solo trips.
I’ve only met one member of staff so far and that’s the pretty woman on reception, so straight away I’ve decided that I like the place. They could barricade the front door with dustbins and tip fag ash all over the carpet, but if the pretty receptionist smiles at me then all is forgiven. That’s how easily they can win me over.
She went through all the usual small talk like: “Did you have a nice journey?” (no, but I said yes), and “Are you here for business or leisure?”, to which I always want to reply: “Well actually, I’m sort of like a spy and I’m here to write about you”, but I always just blandly reply “business” – I suppose my job can technically be classed as business. I’ve got my smart trousers on and I had a shave a couple of days ago, so I can just about pass as a businessman.
Things only began to go downhill when I entered the room because it’s rather small – and when I say small what I actually mean is tiny. It’s one of the smallest rooms I’ve ever slept in. But it will just about do for a bloke. It has a bed and a TV and a teapot in it – what else do you need? It has a minibar as well, but of course the prices are all double what they are in the shops. If you don’t mind spending £3 quid on a can of Coke and £3.50 on a Kit-Kat then you’ll be all right. The little miniature bottles of whiskey are £6.75… so don’t plan on getting drunk.
Fortunately they’ve been quite generous with the teabags. You get six cups (but two of them are Chamomile, so they don’t count), four coffees, and enough sugar to make your teeth fall out. No biscuits, though, and you can’t have a cup of tea without a biscuit so I’m marking them down for that. You can also ring down for room service and order yourself a posh-sounding ‘Philly cheese steak roll’ (translation: a cheeseburger).
What else do you get in the room… let me see… let me open all of the drawers and cupboards and have a root around. There’s no desk (the room is too small for that), but you do get an iron, ironing board, and a safe to keep all of your valuables in. I always think that it would be quite nice if the safe came with some valuables already in it, but of course it never does (maybe I’ll suggest that on their comment card).
Here’s a weird thing: instead of having some black and white photographs of London on the wall, or some squiggly modern art, they’ve decided to decorate the room with daggers – paintings of actual daggers and knives. It’s like a Rambo fan room. So that’s nice. That’s just want you want to look at before you go to bed: some combat knives. I wonder what they’ve got in the other rooms… guns? Explosions?
The bathroom is very small. It’s so small you can probably have a shower, a shave and clean your teeth all at the same time. But it looks pleasant enough – and there’s a big pot of cotton wool balls on the side if you want a snowball fight. It also has one of those terrifying make-up mirrors that magnify your face about a trillion times. It’s a bit like peering into a microscope… you can see all of the microscopic bacteria and bugs crawling around on your skin.
They’ve got a little restaurant downstairs which is quite posh for a 3-star, but only so-so for a four (half of the websites online rate this place as a 3-star, and the other half say it’s a four). Breakfast is just a buffet with sausages, bacon, barbecue beans, scrambled eggs, a bit of toast, bowl of fruit, tea, coffee… all the usual stuff.
The best thing about the hotel is definitely its location. You’ll find it in a quiet little side road between Selfridges and Marble Arch. You can walk to Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square from here, and Hyde Park is only five minutes down the road. Parliament Square is just about walkable if you don’t mind the exercise, but it’s the kind of walk you’ll only try once – the following day you’ll be thinking ‘nah, I can’t be bothered to do that again’, and jump on a bus.
London: A Visitor’s Guide
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