London is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, with literally hundreds of attractions, assorted nightlife and shopping experiences. Unfortunately, a trip to London can come at quite a high cost, especially when it comes to booking accommodation close to the hub of the city and not everyone can afford the luxury hotels dominate the central area. While there are lots of London budget hotels to choose from, deciding which one will offer both the convenience and comfort you require, without breaking the bank, can be tricky so we’ve put together a few ideas to help you find the best accommodation at a reasonable rate.
Location is always one of the most important things to consider, especially in London. If you end up in a hotel far from the heart of the city, you’ll end up spending a lot of time and money on transport, defeating the object of getting a reduced rate on your accommodation in the first place. The more pre-planning you can do before setting off on your trip, the better as this will give you an idea of the areas that you want to spend most of your time. Consider the main attractions you want to see and any restaurants, bars of clubs that are a must on your to-do list. Obviously, if your trip is business-related, then make sure you are in the vicinity of any corporate offices or meeting places, limiting the chance of getting stuck in the rush hour and missing the beginning of any important meetings.
Most hotels have informative websites giving details of their location and the best way of getting to them, whether by London Underground, over ground trains or bus. Of course, you’ll want to avoid accommodation establishments situated in less appealing areas and those that offer a view only of the neighbouring buildings or a dingy alley across the road. One of the best ways to ensure you’re making the right choice is to check out guest reviews, either on the establishment’s own website or on travel advice sites such as the internationally popular TripAdvisor. Be sure to check the dates of the reviews as well, as hotels often change along with their management so what was accurate a couple of years ago may not be relevant by the time you check in.
Look out for special deals advertised online before you book the dates of your trip as changing your days might mean a big saving on your accommodation. The Hyde Park Hotel, for example, offers early bird specials as well as 50% off if you stay on a Sunday night, meaning you wake up on a Monday morning with thoughts of work far from your mind and the chance to enjoy the city while others are back in the office. Accessibility is also crucial and it’s not just about getting to Madame Tussauds or the Science Museum – the practicality of where you are situated will also effect how much you enjoy your stay. For instance, if you wake up one morning with a terrible stomach bug and yet must travel five miles to reach the nearest pharmacy, you’ll feel that selecting a hotel close to your favourite tourist attraction wasn’t such a great idea after all.
While cost is important, so is comfort, and visitors need to weigh up the importance of one against another. If the room is really cheap, the chances are it’s going to be pretty small and may not have the best amenities. The trick is to find an affordable room that still offers the facilities you need to enjoy your stay. Similarly, it’s important to know exactly what you are paying for. Will you be sharing common bathroom and, if so, is this acceptable to you? What are the in-room facilities available, such as a television, proper storage provision for your clothes, laundry services and so on? If you are driving to your hotel, you need to ensure there is plenty of on-site parking or a space nearby so your car doesn’t end up on another street costing you high parking fees.
Even if one hotel has caught your eye, it’s worth comparing it to others that might not appeal at first sight but, after a closer look, may offer more than you initially thought. Contacting several hotels in the area of your choice is helpful as their clever reservations systems will often produce dynamic pricing rates for dates that are anticipated to be comparatively quiet. Hotel booking websites are useful in terms of research but, to get the best prices, it’s advisable to book direct with the establishment and avoid the extra commission on booking sites. Some bargaining is worthwhile as well, especially if you’re planning to stay several nights in one establishment. You can also find out if there is a cash discount available as well.
If you’re travelling to London just to see the city, rather than for a specific event or festival, then you can enjoy off-season prices, rather than the higher rates that are usually applicable in the height of the tourist season, between July and August. Size also matters and larger hotels usually have higher and less flexible pricing schemes than smaller establishments. Also browse the rooms available as these can vary greatly depending on the location of the room, how close it is to the reception area, and the view from the room itself.
Overall, in-depth research can mean a considerable saving on your accommodation, which relates to more money to spend enjoying your time in the city, without compromising on either comfort or convenience.