Craig’s review… I’ve just checked into The Kingsley Hotel and it’s quite posh. Or maybe it’s not posh, because I don’t really go anywhere that’s posh. But by my lowly standards it’s posh. When you step inside there’s a little desk beside the door and a bloke who smiles and says hello… I think he’s the concierge. He’s all dressed up in a suit like he’s about to go out for the night. Even the cleaner I bumped into is nice and polite and posh. Every time you pass a member of staff they smile and say hello like they’ve met you ten times before.
Unfortunately the room is pretty pokey. Are all 4-star hotels this pokey? It’s no bigger than some of the 3-stars I’ve stayed at. It has all the usual stuff inside: TV, Wi-Fi, kettle for a cup of tea… but this always winds me up… this is my number one pet hate in a hotel… they give you a bazillion tea bags and coffees and sugars, but only two milks! How are you supposed to use all of those other tea bags when you’ve only got two milks? If I ever own a hotel then that’s the first thing I’ll do – I’ll supply a load of extra milks to the rooms. They give you a piddly little biscuit as well. It’s like a fun-size biscuit. Have you ever seen those little fun-size cans of Coke, which are about as much fun as a gun? Well, I never knew before today that it was possible to buy a fun-size biscuit, but here it is… the crumbs are bigger than the biscuit.
The view out of the window isn’t the greatest… let me describe it to you. It’s basically a fire escape and a big brick wall, with some black netting all over the place to stop the birds cr*pping on the windowsill.
Okay, now I’m in the bathroom. This is a good example of how posh this place is – they have some green tea and ginger soap on the sink. Green tea soap? What is that all about? I might try and melt it in the teapot once I’ve used up all the milks. They even provide you with a flannel. I’ve never been to a hotel that gives you a flannel before. Usually you get two towels that are about the same size as a flannel, but this place gives you a few towels plus a flannel. Luxury!
You get a proper ironing board as well (I’m a bloke, so that’s a complete waste of time) and a snazzy white dressing gown. When you open the wardrobe a little light comes on, like it does in the fridge. That’s what separates the working class from the upper class… the working class light up their food, whilst the upper class light up their clothes. You also get a pair of flip-flop slippers and… look at this! The hairdryer hasn’t even been bolted to the wall. Normally you need a screwdriver to get it off but this one can be sneaked into your suitcase nice and easy.
I’m sitting in the downstairs bar now. The kind of pubs that I normally frequent have a bowl of peanuts on the bar, but in here it’s a bowl of bananas and soft jazz in the background. I asked for a “cup of coffee” but I can’t have that apparently. I’ve got to have an espresso or an Americano or a mocha-choca-latte or some other foreign sounding concoction that everyone knows is basically just a coffee with more bubbles in it. And she doesn’t want my money either. I have to sit down and then she’ll bring it over and then she’ll take the money at some indeterminate time in the future. Jesus Christ what a palaver! I suppose they must trust the customers that come in here. The kind of people who stay at The Kingsley don’t run off without paying their bill. At the Premier Inn they want the money up front. No money, no coffee! But at the Kingsley everyone is very friendly and very trusting. And then when she finally takes my money she brings me the change on a little silver platter like she’s serving up a slice of cake. My little 5p piece has never felt so important. I take the 5p and give her the tray back. Then she takes it out the back and probably has to put it in the dishwasher.
Breakfast is a self-serve affair with baked beans, scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, hash browns, toast, muesli, cereal, fruit… whatever you want.
The location is pretty great. If you walk along the road then it will take you all the way down Shaftesbury Avenue to Piccadilly Circus (12-15 min walk). Leicester Square is equally close and Covent Garden is within stagger distance. St. Paul’s and Big Ben are probably at the absolute limit of where I’d want to walk to (30 mins at my pace)… any further than that and I’d have to get the bus.
London: A Visitor’s Guide
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