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Hotel Recommendation: London

We will be a party of 5: three generations. My parents (agile and in their 70's), my two kids (aged 20) and me. It's all of our first time to London; my parents and my son's first trip to Europe... so I want to make a great impression - the pressure is on!

This May, we will spend 4 nights in London as our final city on our Europe tour that I've pulled together myself. Beforehand, we will be in Prague (the end of my daughter's semester abroad), Bayeux for Normandy touring (kids veer off to Amsterdam during this leg) ;), Paris and then London. I am having the hardest time choosing our hotel for London. My head's been spinning for two weeks now trying to figure the best location. We won't spend time lounging around enjoying the hotel services so it wouldn't make sense to get a 5 star, however, I would love to find a very clean hotel with a location close to tube and buses, eateries closeby, and safe area as my kids may choose to stay out later then we adults on some nights. To spend around 200GBP per night would be great. To find a family room to hold all 5 of us would be best, however, close to impossible. So two rooms interconnecting will suffice just fine. I'm not interested in an AirB&B.

So far I have reserved holds at Novotel London Blackfriers and the Park Plaza County Hall London - but I'm really not feeling sure about either of them. I'm not exactly sure what location in all of London would be best and I do want it to be pretty and not on a major highway type of street. Any weigh in's about the hotels I've mentioned or recommendations of other hotels?

Thanks for listening!

Posted by
2904 posts

Premier inn Waterloo or Premier Inn County Hall. Great location, clean , affordable.

Posted by
20 posts

We stayed at Park Plaza London Waterloo and liked it. Seemed like a good location, easy to get to stuff on foot or tube connections. Good selection of restaurants in the neighbourhood. Would stay again.

Posted by
5817 posts

You are almost certainly not going to find a family room for 5 adults and if you do I strongly advice you don’t book one.
5 adult members of the same family need some space! With a single room you all have to do the same thing at the same time, One of you wants to go to sleep, you all have to go to sleep. One of you snores, you are all awake. Also one bathroom between 5 is just going to slow you down in the morning.
With 5 adults I’m also not sure you really need interconnecting rooms but if you must they are very common in London hotels.

Of the 2 hotels I would choose the Park Plaza. It’s in a great location right in the centre of town across the river from Parliament. It’s right by the Southbank with lots of restaurants and things to see and do along the river. “Pretty” is subjective and it is in a busy area of town but the views along the river are great and you really will get that London feel.

The Premier Inn chain of hotels is regularly recommended on here. I certainly recommend them, but they are a budget chain so if your money will stretch to a Park Plaza I would definitely go for it.

Posted by
16603 posts

The County Hall area was very convenient for me--even more than I thought it would be after reading the positive comments on this forum. I would not, however, call the area at the front of the hotel "pretty". It's very near the Waterloo train station and has a lot of commercial development. The back of the building faces the river, and there's nice walking there. Still, if it's important to you to have the Olde England feel in your immediate surroundings, I fear you will be disappointed. I don't know that the Blackfriars location is better. It would probably be a good idea to go to Google Maps and use the Earth view to see what you think.

Posted by
11676 posts

It is probably not within your budget, but if you want a pretty hotel in a great location, it would be hard to beat St. Ermin's, an historic hotel very close to Westminster Abbey, but not on the busy street:

https://www.sterminshotel.co.uk

Lots of history---Winston Churchill set up the SOE (Special Operations Executive) there in 1940 and they had a floor in the hotel. MI6 was there as well:

https://www.sterminshotel.co.uk/about/our-history/

They have a family room that sleeps five, and has two bathrooms. But I agree with Emma that you really need two rooms to be comfortable.

Posted by
4 posts

We visited London in October 2019 and found the Sanctuary House hotel a wonderful place. It's actually around the corner from the St. Ermin's mentioned above, but a bit less expensive. It's located just a few blocks from Westminster Abbey and Parliament and two short blocks from the St. James tube stop (a two minute walk) and not far from the Westminster tube stop. Buckingham Palace is a short walk as is the Victoria Station. It's got an 18th century feel on the outside and in fact the first floor is a pub frequented by local workers before heading home - great place for the 20 somethings to hang out. The food in the pub is 'meh', but if you're tired and don't want to trudge around it's fine. There are also quite a few pubs nearby that seem to also cater to happy hour workers. I've stayed in several neighborhoods in London on previous trips and this was the best location for us.

Posted by
11676 posts

Sanctuary House is a good idea ( we have stayed there several times, once with our 2 daughters). The problem is all of their rooms have a 2-person maximum, so they would need to book three rooms.

Posted by
8 posts

Your responses have been very helpful. I took a piece of advice from each person who commented. Now a new question, what are you thought on the location of the Doubletree by Hilton at Hyde Park? I found a reasonable rate there.

I loved the looks and reviews and location for The Sanctuary House, however, sadly they do not have any availability left for my dates in May. They do offer a roll-in bed if you have a family of 3 - but can only do so in the Standard rooms. Hopefully this info helps someone.

I took your advice here and Google Earth'd the two hotels I have on hold. Not exactly what I was thinking and not neighborhoody at all. I will hold on to the reservation at the Park Plaza County Hall in case you fine folks tell me to forget about the Doubletree by Hyde Park.
Thank you also to the person or two who suggested we forgo the family room. After taking your thoughts into consideration, I do believe you are 100% right. This will be the final leg of a rather long trip and everyone will probably relish some extra space.

Thanks again!

Posted by
5817 posts

Central London isn't really "neighbourhoody". Its simply too expensive for many people to afford to live there.
An area worth looking at is Bloomsbury, which is the area around the British museum and north of Covent Garden. It's on a smaller scale and isn't hugely expensive. You could also look at Pimlico and Victoria?
I know a lot of people like the area north of the park where the Hilton is located. Personally I think it's not great. You have to travel to get to virtually every sight and it's not brilliant for restaurants etc ( I await the wrath of the Paddington/Bayswater lovers!)
If you are honest will your family notice the "pretty" and "neighbourhood"? Will they favour that over easy access to sights? Are you overthinking it? :-)
I think for convenience and facilities County Hall wins. It's also right on the pedestrianised Southbank which is lovely for evening walks. There is a reason why there is a song called Waterloo Sunset :-)

Posted by
11676 posts

OK, I know you said you did not want an Airbnb, and I understand that. But what about a service apartment in an “apartment hotel” with reception desk? The Marlin Apartments Queen Street has 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartments with sofa bed in the living room to sleep 5. The location is great—-a few blocks from St. Paul’s and the Millennium Bridge (with Globe Theater and Tate Modern across the river); tube stop at Mansion House is even closer. The building is on a quiet side street but offers easy access to the No. 15 bus which will take you past several iconic sights to Trafalgar Square, or to Tower of London in the other direction.

https://www.marlin.com/queen-street.html

We really like this location and will be staying there ourselves later this month (if we keep our trip plans).

Prices in May look to be 300-400 GBP most nights in May for this larger 2-bdr. Apartment. (There is a 10% off promotion going on right now, which might reduce that). You could make some meals “in” and save money on restaurants.

Posted by
506 posts

My mom and I just came back from several days at the Copthorne Tara hotel in Kensington. It was a nice hotel and the location was great, five minutes from High Street Kensington underground and lots of shops and restaurants on Kensington High Street.

Posted by
1436 posts

We’ve stayed in many parts of London and each has its pluses and minuses. We really like the area around the County Hall. We stayed at the Premier Inn section of what is a huge building. The Premier Inn side doesn’t have a view. I believe the Park Plaza is on the river side, which is just across from Parliment.

Please don’t drive yourself crazy trying the pick the “perfect” hotel. Wherever you pick will be close to some of the sights you want to see, and not so close to others. But, it’s a city with an excellent transportation system, an abundance of pubs and restaurants, and stays lively all nights for the 20 yr olds.

Posted by
16603 posts

Unless Google Maps is lying to me, the Park Plaza County Hall is not on the river and is not in the same building as the Premier Inn County Hall. It's across York Street to the east, sort of beyond the Premier Inn Waterloo. There are several buildings between it and the river, so I'm not sure it's going to afford river views.

Posted by
1436 posts

Acraven - you’re correct and my mistake for confusing it with the Marriott property. I still think it’s a great location.

Posted by
5817 posts

The Park Paza County Hall does have some good city views from its upper floors, particularly at night, although I'm not sure how much of the river you can see.

Posted by
3931 posts

I do think you may be overthinking this. Public transportation in London is wonderful; it's unlikely you'll be very far from a Tube or bus stop, unless you head out into the suburbs. And as you said, you're not likely to want to spend much time lounging around the hotel.

Clean, safe, and convenient would cover most, if not all, of the hotels mentioned here. We happen to like Bayswater, but I would think any area in London would have nice choices. Our favorite hotel is a bit, ummm, basic, for most tastes, but there are nicer hotels in the area. The Phoenix Hotel is just down the block from our cheapie; it's on Kensington Gardens Square just north of Hyde Park, and has a/c, an elevator, a good breakfast, and a comfortable lounge. (It's the sister hotel to the one we stay in, so we're familiar with the amenities. Love the breakfast!)

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you all! I am checking into each property suggested in the posts since I last responded. I am most certainly overthinking this!!

Posted by
12 posts

We stayed in Novotel Waterloo, the hotel is within walking distance of the Parliament and Westminster Abbey. We paid just 80GBP per night for a double room with a breakfast in January (Black Friday 40% off offer).