Bloomsbury and the British Museum
The pleasant neighbourhood of Bloomsbury with its picturesque squares is known as the historic home of London’s literary and intellectual set. Situated immediately to the south of Saint Pancras station and just a ten-minute walk from the vibrant areas of Soho and Covent Garden, the area is also coveted for its calm atmosphere and its proximity to the British Museum. Bloomsbury hotels are generally good value for money, with rates for a double room fluctuating around £60 to £80. In this category, travellers should expect compact accommodation with somewhat dated décor or communal bathrooms but, according to those who have tried and tested the following hotels, the friendly staff, copious breakfast, central location and the low price enable you to look past such shortcomings. Our pick of the lot includes the Ruskin Hotel (from £??), located just behind the British Museum and the nearby Gower Hotel (from £??), which has its own garden. In the same league, the St Athans is the cheapest (around £50). Lastly, Arran House (from £55) is favoured for its cosy, typical décor and the full English breakfast.
Between Saint Pancras station and Camden Town
Move a little further away from the centre and hotels in the same price range become more upmarket, with three-star establishments that remain affordable. One such area is Camden Town. Lying north of Saint Pancras, efficient public transport links make the journey to the city centre in just ten minutes. In this neighbourhood, the Jesmond Dene Hotel (from £65) stands out for its modern style. Located in the same street and facing a charming park, the Montana Excel proposes doubles from just £55. And on the same block again, the Meridiana (from £65) enjoys the same practical location and also offers a baggage storage service.
Standing next door to one-another, the Fairway and the Alhambra (from £65 to £75) offer equivalent levels of comfort in a calm environment with friendly staff. The cleanliness and location of both hotels are other positive points highlighted by guests.
West London: Hyde Park et Victoria
Hyde Park and Victoria are largely residential areas, so while they are less lively in terms of shops, bars and restaurants, they remain very central and well connected. The Royal Court Apartments (around £75) are just a two-minute walk from Hyde Park, next to Lancaster Gate tube on Central Lane. Marble Arch and the Oxford Street shops are not far, and the major station of Paddington is only five minutes away. This kind of residential hotel concept is highly advantageous in London, where eating in can help to keep the budget low.
Behind Victoria station (served by the Gatwick Express), Surtees Hotel offers rooms from just £60. Major attractions including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Westminster are all within a twenty-minute walk.
As for the Lidos (from £70), while located a little further from Victoria station (ten minutes by foot), the 2013 renovation has left guests impressed by the fresh décor and modern facilities.
Lastly, the Eden Plaza (from £??), located in the upmarket area of South Kensington, is a big step up in terms of comfort and style compared to the other addresses in this selection. The only drawbacks cited by past guests are the small size of the rooms and the noise levels experienced on the lower floors.