Ibis London City Hotel review
The Ibis City Hotel lobby was packed solid when I arrived: it was like a Bethlehem census on Christmas Eve. They've situated the cafe and bar area right next-door to reception so everybody was sitting around eating and drinking and there were piles of bags and suitcases too. It was like a madhouse. Are they coming or going? Are they waiting for taxis or waiting to check-in? Can I bump in front of you, madam?--I hope you don't mind. Is it all right if I squeeze in here, sir, because I've got places I need to be and people I need to see.
Everything went smoothly though and my room is all right. And you get free Wi-Fi as well, so I'm happy.
The room is okay for a 3-star hotel... or is it? I've been staying at a lot of 4s and 5s recently, doing these reviews, so I have been spoiled and I'm not sure what to expect anymore. You get a shower (no bath), Freeview TV channels, a kettle and teabags, a hairdryer... what else... that's about it. There is no personal safe. No iron. No minibar. No butler. No masseuse. No limo service. (I told you I was spoiled.) I'm not sure that I trust the lock on the door either because I'm paranoid about my stuff getting stolen. I want a proper chain and padlock on the door, but all they've got is a piddly little double-latch. So I have to resort to that old 'chair wedged up against the door' routine.
Let's deal with the teabag situation... I always like to count up the number of teabags in my room because I believe that is a surefire way of gauging the quality of a hotel: by the number of tea bags and milk cartons they provide. This place has done okay: they give you two tea bags, four coffees and four milks. But they give you two flimsy little plastic spoons that look like tooth picks, which is a bit annoying. Have you ever tried to eat a Pot Noodle with a plastic spoon about four inches long? The tub is bigger than the bleedin' spoon! (So remember to pack you own spoons.)
The view outside the window isn't the best I've ever had... it's one of those interior views that looks out into a cube of windows. I'm on the eighth floor so there's probably about sixty-odd rooms to peer into. They've all got net curtains, of course, so there's nothing much to see: just a solid wall of windows and air vents with brown drip stains coming out.
After yesterday's madhouse at check-in I thought breakfast would be heaving with hundreds of people so I went down nice and early and it was just the cook, the waitress and me, plus a couple of Chinese ladies talking about their kids. The breakfast room doubles up as the restaurant (Fogg's) and has a strange collection of bar stools, sofa seats, office chairs and garden furniture — it's like they couldn't make up their mind about which chair to buy and just bought the whole damn shop. It's like a showcase suite at IKEA.
Oh wonderful... a load of Americans have just walked in so that's the end of the peace and quiet. Wherever Americans go, noise comes too. The whole room is listening to their conversation and by the time I leave I feel like I know them.
As for the hotel's location... well it's not too bad. It's a ten minute stroll to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, and you can get to the Gherkin in ten minutes too. But anywhere else is going to be a bus ride or a tube ride away. Luckily it's right nextdoor to Aldgate East tube station (District line straight to The City, Westminster and South Kensington) and the Hammersmith and City line (straight to Baker Street and Paddington). The area itself is quite ugly though -- but I'd still happily stay here again.
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