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Despite positive reviews from Forum and great location, The Lime Tree was disappointing

After reading glowing descriptions of the Lime Tree Hotel in Belgravia, London on this forum, my husband booked 3 night there this May. Although we are accustomed to staying in smaller family run hotels we were quite disappointed. Yes, there are several positives. The hotel, much more a guest house than a hotel, is in a great area, close to Victoria Station, attractions, restaurants, etc. There is an attractive, sunny breakfast room, used only for that meal, which serves very good breakfasts.

However, our room was extremely small - basically a queen bed, 2 tiny end tables and a narrow desk, whose chair could not be pulled out more than 5-7 inches before hitting the foot of the bed. Little space between the bed and walls and with luggage plus two adults, there was no where to go An electric fan, tea supplies, and the safe took up half the armoire. The window did not open.
The bathroom had no electrical outlets and the sink was so narrow that even with the most careful use water to spilled onto the floor. The shower was adequate but not much more than lukewarm.

While there is a pretty garden for use in good weather which offers several chairs, there is no sitting room other than a small couch across from the computer in an anteroom to the garden. We found it a major negative having no place to relax and take a break during the day or early evening other than by climbing up to our room and sitting on the bed.

There is no lift. We knew this when booking but must admit did not expect 6 flights of narrow stairs to get to our 3rd floor room. Walls are thin, hallways very narrow.

In any case, while the Lime Tree offers solid location benefits and is clearly a much loved destination for many, we would choose differently the next time in London.

Posted by
166 posts

Thank you for the detailed review. It pointed out the positives and negatives and is the type of review I seek when trip planning.

Posted by
27709 posts

The bathroom had no electrical outlets

That's the law in the UK.

Posted by
5843 posts

Hotels like this are not for everyone, your input will likely help others decide if this place is for them.

The only detail I will point out:

The bathroom had no electrical outlets

Is more a UK thing, for safety reasons most bathrooms do not have outlets.

Posted by
901 posts

Much of what you said - small room size, water that gets everywhere in the bathroom, no elevator - is standard for a very large percent of the hotels in London. So when people are giving a hotel like that a good review, they are ignoring those things because it's the "norm." Does that makes sense? But yes, it is definitely a shock to the system the first time you encounter those things!

Posted by
2018 posts

I admit it, I enjoy the Lime Tree and everything you say it true. I think it's pretty typical of London and Europe. Electrical outlets already addressed so I will just say the overall experience there has suited my needs for several stays but I don't really plan on large rooms nor the American style amenities we have come to expect here. Not all B&Bs/Hotels have lifts and you can request a ground or lower floor room. I think it's all in what you are willing to trade off. But like every learning curve, now you know you won't want to stay there again. All that said, you have honestly expressed what you liked and didn't like about the hotel so anyone reading this can weigh this review against the others and make their own decisions. Seems fair to me!

Posted by
21709 posts

Would be interested to know if this was your first experience with European style hotels and B&Bs? The Lime Tree is very, very typical of these types of facilities. Small rooms and small bathrooms are very low on our priority list. You relax in the great wine bar around the corner. Perhaps an American style hotel would be better suited for you. Fortunately there are plenty to chose from.

Posted by
8277 posts

Thank you for your helpful review, i appreciate it.
I’ve stayed in lots of European style hotels that were better than this description, this one wouldn’t be my cup of tea.

Posted by
6620 posts

Its hard to boil down all the pros and cons of any hotel into a yes or no recommendation. I liked the Lime Tree as well and would stay there again, but always mention the 65 steps up to my room to anyone who asked about it. But I am familiar with that style of hotel and was not surprised at any of the other things.

Posted by
9682 posts

"If that hotel is converted from a Victorian property,"

Actually I think it may be slightly older than Victorian. End of Georgian period I think. Grade II listed. The website says "nearly 200 years old" but not sure when that text was written. Earliest Ebury Street buildings were 1815-ish except for the ones at the south end where Mozart stayed in 1764.

Carleen, I'm so sorry you were disappointed but happy that you took the chance to post a review here. It's not for everyone altho I feel very comfortable here. I travel solo and what I like is that the folks at Reception recognize you after a day or so. That's important to me as I travel on my own.

It also makes me realize that when I make a recommendation I need to do more to list what others might see as a "con" even though they don't particularly bother me.


Posted by
3789 posts

Thanks for the review. I learned after staying in a 2star hostal in Cordoba, Spain that a narrow single bed and no seating area is not for me. I use my room, so I want a padded chair to read in, or at least a bed that isn't so hard I can't sleep on it, let alone sit up and read on it. Travel weary hips and bad ankles require some sort of 'cush' factor. It was uncomfortable enough that when I had a similar lodging planned for Toledo, I emailed and requested an much better for the extra 25euro.
That being said, I was introduced to Premier Inns in the UK this December. They are rather stark with no personality, but tick the boxes for elevator, space, very quiet and a good 'cush' factor. Price is right too.

Posted by
4654 posts

Much of what you said - small room size, water that gets everywhere in the bathroom, no elevator - is standard for a very large percent of the hotels in London.

Not really. Certainly not by my, admittedly limited, experience of staying in hotels in London which have ranged from high end luxury hotels, American chain hotels and Premier Inns. I've never had what I would describe as a very small room, the smallest room I've ever stayed in was ironically in the US, the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. I would never opt for a small B&B or guest house accommodation as the service, quality, comfort etc are so variable it's not worth the disappointment so I have no shame in staying in a Marriott or a Hilton whilst in London, we have high loyalty status so end up with upgrades, often to suites, access to the executive lounges providing free food and drinks, I know exactly how the beds are going to feel and the bathroom and, most importantly, the shower is going to be of a good standard. For me there is nothing more disappointing than a crap shower, I don't feel properly clean and refreshed so I don't havethe confidence that these small, quaint, family run hotels are going to guarantee such expectations. And besides, if I want to stay in a 100 year old building I'll simply stay at home.

Posted by
592 posts

U.S. posters will be gettng a good impression here about U.K. tastes in accommodation. Recent years have seen a big move away from family-run B & Bs in converted houses into chain hotels like Premier Inn, Travelodge and their imitators. Purpose built accommodation is easier to manage, can be configured in an economic size, and can provide the facilities that older properties cannot. In addition, property prices have risen so that it is just not worth it financially to buy a large house and run it as a business. This is especially true in London, and in attractive cities like Bath and York where tourists want to go.

I am always intrigued that visitors want to stay somewhere they see as quaint or authentic, and are then disappointed by the facilities and quality. On this site we see the same accommodation and restaurants recommended time after time, when it appears that is the poster's only real experience of the country, and they have not compared it with what else is available. I have seen Bill's recommended as a good restaurant. We have eaten at Bill's several times, but I would not go out of my way to dine there.

Have all those visitors to Bath tried fish and chips anywhere else than at The Scallop Shell, or was it just conveniently on the way back to Brooks Guesthouse?

Posted by
7205 posts

I’ve learned that when visiting London hotels (the ones I can afford) it’s best to keep expectations at an all time low!

Posted by
16883 posts

Any one else thinking of staying at the hotel will probably want to review photos on their web site. However, they say that each room is a different size and shape and the photos are for categories, rather than specific rooms. Carleen's room may have been similar to that shown for a Regular Double, or maybe it was a little smaller, given her description.

Posted by
4654 posts

I have seen Bill's recommended as a good restaurant. We have eaten at Bill's several times, but I would not go out of my way to dine there.

I'm one of those who often recommends Bill's as a safe option. As a chain I've found it to be better than most and as tastes are so subjective it's usually a safe option to recommend. Would I dine there on a night out with my wife? Absolutely not but for a quick lunch with thd kids in tow then yes.

Posted by
3491 posts

I stayed at the Lime Tree several times as a single traveler. I have also stayed at other similar properties in the same neighborhood. I think the Lime Tree is superior to most of them. It is not a cookie cutter chain hotel, the rooms are small and quirky, there is no elevator, but I usually spend so little time in my hotel when in Europe that those things don't bother me. I have stayed in highly rated hotels in New York City that had smaller less comfortable rooms (and were a lot more expensive!). I have also stayed at several of the cookie cutter international chains in and near London. I will pick the Lime Tree any day over those. But, I realize that others will have differing opinions.

Posted by
1175 posts

I will put in my two cents. I stayed at the Lime Tree in 2005 and found it tired and worn, it was a RS week long London tour. I see by the website it has been redone and it looks very nice now. A friend stayed at the Lime tree and said she would stay there again but only if she could stay on a lower floor, too many stairs.

That said, I have a friend who stayed at the Astor House Hotel which is another hotel/B&B and that looks really nice and he enjoyed his stay there. It was out of my price range as was the Lime Tree ( going solo). But I would have liked to stay there.

I am staying at the Luna Simone Hotel and it looks nice but may not be what you are looking for. I did ask for a lower floor and a double room for just me and they are going put me on a lower floor and wrote me to tell me that. I am staying a while and don't want to deal with a ton of stairs and no lift.

You may like the Premier Hotels for your next visti.