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London Hotel with elderly Father

Ok so I have looked at a few options for hotels in London. And asked for information on one of them and it got mixed results at best.

So any idea on for a hotel in London?
There will be two of us. Myself (late 40s) and my Father (87). So we will need one room with two beds.
Next up we are looking for someplace with reasonable access to the underground. And preferably a station with an Escalator or elevator (lift). Dad is not bad at walking but going up stairs is hard on him.
We will be staying for about 6 days (Wednesday evening to Tuesday flight home) in early September.

We will be doing fairly standard tourist stuff. Hop on hop off, Tower of London, St Paul’s, the National galleries, and a couple Day trips by bus or train.

I would like to stay around or below £200 to £220 max. Ideally cheaper is better but I understand that you trade convince for money.

Last time we stayed in Bayswater. The issue was the access to the underground. The rooms where nice with a small fridge and the restaurants on the walk back was nice as we could pick something up and take it back with us and keep drinks cold.
But really we just expect to be sleeping in the place so we don’t need a pool or gym (we will walk enough to keep in shape)

Any suggestions will be a help.

Thanks
-Doug

Posted by Carol
Washington
1704 posts

Look at the Premeir Inn Hotel chain. They will have clean,comfortable rooms, moderate prices and elevators. You can get twin bed option rooms. Several locations in central London. One is a 5 minute walk from Victoria Station.

Posted by ramblin' on
Royaume-Uni
1239 posts

Premier Inns are comfortable, but the bathrooms typically come with the shower in the bath tub. It’s a deep tub and not easy to climb into. I wouldn’t recommend for an 87-year-old. Maybe they do accessible bathrooms, but you would have to check.

Climbing into the deep bath tub for a shower without a handrail is the one thing I don't like about Premier Inns.

Also don't rule out using buses rather than the tube with its long passageways.

Posted by emma
London
4002 posts

If your father has issues with stairs and walking I would try and avoid using the tube entirely. Despite efforts being made to improve access there are stairs and long walks everywhere.Even ifcthe stop near tour hotel has easy access it doesn't mean there will be good access at your destination.
Buses can get you all over town and are much easier to get on and off.

For hotels with easy access and accessible bathrooms I would look at areas where there has been alot of new hotel development and good transport infrastructure. Kings Croas and Waterloo would be worth looking at.
Premier Inn is a good chain and I think they have rooms with just showera as well as baths.

Posted by Nancy
Costa Mesa, CA, USA
396 posts

There are so many choices - here's a list of tube stations that don't require stairs. - http://content.tfl.gov.uk/avoiding-stairs-tube-guide.pdf
Thus you might try picking one of two stations and researching hotels in the area. If you google the station, you should be able to see photos of the interior to confirm that it will work for your father.

Posted by douglasjmeyer OP
40 posts

It is not so much the walking as the stairs. And even that he can do. We walked up and down stairs last year in London. But given the option I would rather minimize the walking to the station and the stairs so that he can better handle the rest of the walking.
So it is just a matter of if there are better options.

-Doug M

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
9738 posts

Emma has an excellent suggestion on using the buses instead of the Underground.

We were last in London for three weeks, one of them with kids and grandchildren who traveled with a stroller. We quickly learned that the buses were much more convenient, and pleasant. They may take a bit longer, but you are above ground enjoying the views of London.

Here is a schematic map of the central London bus routes:

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/bus-route-maps/key-bus-routes-in-central-london.pdf

Note that many of the lines converge at Aldrich, near the center of the map (look below and to the right of dead center). This would be an excellent place to stay. It is walking distance to the National Gallery and other attractions at Trafalgar Square, as well as Covent Garden. The Courtauld Gallery is right there.

The No. 15 bus runs east-west past there, taking you to St. Paul's and the Tower of London. The No. 11 will take you to Westminster Abbey and beyond, to Victoria Station area. See the map for lots more possibilities.

The Strand Palace is one option right close to the bus stops ( just steps away from at least one). They have twin rooms with ensuite shower rooms, It the price varies depending on your dates of stay. There are more hotels within a couple of blocks, and no shortage of cafes and restaurants in the immediate vicinity.

Posted by douglasjmeyer OP
40 posts

Thanks I will look into the buses. I did not use them last year. As the seamed more confusing then the tube. But I suppose with the city mapper it should be doable. Mostly it is in the evening when tired after a day on the go and in that case time is not usually a factor.

Posted by Laurel
Lincoln City, OR
7454 posts

Premier Inns does have accessible rooms. You can search for available accessible rooms on their site and also specify twin beds. I concur on the buses. Great sightseeing!

Posted by douglasjmeyer OP
40 posts

Possible Hotel: London County Hall by Premier Inns.
It looks to be located close to the London Eye.

So it would use the Waterloo or Westminster underground stations.
Cost varies by day but comes in at £125 to 190 totaling about £895 (Wednesday-Tuesday)
City mapper says a 6min walk to either station. Last year we had an 8 to 10 min walk according to Citymapper not that we walk that fast but it gives an idea of relative distance. And walked farther then that for a place to eat (used a farther station that had a couple restaurants).

So what do you folks think?

Posted by emma
London
4002 posts

Its a good location.
Very central with lots of OK restaurants in the Royal Festival Hall complex nearby on the river.

I love the CityMapper App but take all the timings it gives with a large sack of salt.
Technically they are correct it is 6min walk to the station but they don't include the time it then takes to walk to the actual tube platform
For example, Waterloo is a big station and if you want to travel on the jubilee line it is easily another 6min walking through the station to get to the platform, further if you want to avoid the steps into the station.
Sorry if these seems negative, I'm not trying put you off! I use a walking stick and have mobility issues and just want to put across a slightly more realistic "locals" view. I am in that area a lot!
Despite this,this would be an excellent location to stay and also has good bus links across town ( not that I am obsessed with buses or anything...)

Posted by douglasjmeyer OP
40 posts

Based on last years experience I double the walk time and add about 5min for getting around the station. I am not in a rush (it is called a vacation) And while my father is in good shape for his age. His age is still 87. I watch how fast the locals walk and just kind of shrug. But the distance and speed probably explains why folks in London seam to be skinnier then folks in the States.

He walk 41 miles in 7 days and part of two days was spent on trains last year so hopefully he is up to it again this year.
The thing that surprised me a bit was that in the states we have made a HUGE issue about handicapped accessible public facilities and over in Europe not so much.

Once again I am lucky and my father can walk stairs if you don’t rush (more a breathing thing then anything else). But it is nicer on him if we can avoid them whenever possible.

Posted by Nigel
Northamptonshire, England
19485 posts

Good choice, good location, good services.

Posted by douglasjmeyer OP
40 posts

Another possible hotel is the Tower Hotel over near the Tower of London. A view of Tower Bridge is available in my price range (near the upper end).
The downside is the slightly longer walk to the Tower Hill station. And of course being on the far end of most of the tourist area.
On the plus side it is a very pretty area (from a tourist point of view).
And I absolutely LOVE Tower Bridge. It is my favorite structure in England and is only tied with the Eiffel Tower and Neuschwanstien for favorite structure. So being able to look out at that in the evening would be a heck of a thing.

Well thanks for the advice

Posted by emma
London
4002 posts

The problem with disabled access in the UK is that so much of it has to be retro-fitted into older buildings which isn't easy or cheap and often isn't even possible. New building will definitely take disability access into account. ( A minor point of terminology but "handicapped" is seen by some ,as a slightly offensive term over here. "Disabled" is more commonly used.)

Personally I would choose a hotel in Waterloo over one by the Tower, much more convenient but if the view of Tower Bridge wins you over go for it! :-)

Posted by Claudia
Land of La
4024 posts

Sent you a PM with hotel recommendation. Check it out before you book the ones you’ve mentioned.

Posted by Alan
Folsom
1431 posts

Emma I respectfully disagree. Great Britain has come a long way in improving the lives of it’s disabled citizens, but still has a long way to go. It’s not a matter of buildings being too old, it’s a matter of priorities. See: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/being-disabled-in-britain.pdf
In the US the ADA is a strong law that mandates access for the disabled. Many buildings are very old (not quite as old as yours, granted) yet they are retrofitted. Easy? No. Costly? Yes. But when it’s the law of the land it gets done.

Posted by emma
London
4002 posts

As someone with a disability in Britain I am fully aware that equality needs improving!
To be honest EVERYWHERE could do with improving access and facilities for the disabled. I'm not sure anywhere can claim to be completely successful on this one.

Yes it is about priorities but when there is only finite funds difficult decisions have to be made to prioritise what can be done. I am very pleased that after living where I have for 20 years my nearest tube station Harrow on the Hill is getting lift access. At present there are 65 steps between the street and the platform. These lifts are going to cost £25 million, for one station! So even as someone who will really benefit from their installation I understand why it has taken so long.

Add the further complication of ancient buildings also protected by law and the situation is not quite as straight forward as it might first appear. It can be done, the lift access to the new gallery in Westminster Abbey is a good example but i'm not holding my breath or even wishing for similar access to other buildings.

Posted by Diane
New York, NY, USA
423 posts

Doug,
I also travel with my 86 yr old dad - who often leaves me in the dust. My dad travels with a golf cane/seat - it looks like a cane but opens to have a small seat . He got his in a golf store , but Ive seen them on the internet as well. its made life so much better- He can open it and perch while on line, at museums etc. it also has gotten him to the head of the line at times. Dont know if your dad has one. just a thought. ( and arent we blessed to have our dads!)

Posted by douglasjmeyer OP
40 posts

We have a little seat like that, that we take when walking in the woods. But I can just barely get him to carry a walking stick most of the time.
He is generally ok on level ground we walked over 3 miles in Paris one morning with only the occasional rest on a bench. But one flight of stairs carrying anything or two without and he gets winded and needs a (very) short rest.
He was a mechanic and I think all the asbestos, while not causing anything really nasty has caused his breathing to be a bit bad.
Otherwise he is go Go GO!.
And yes it is a blessing to have our fathers to share these things with.

Posted by douglasjmeyer OP
40 posts

Ok so we seam to be down to two options (well there are hundreds but I have to limit it at some point). Other options have gone away for various reasons many because of lack of availability. That seams a big issue with the smaller places.
Note I don’t have an issue with a nice older small place. Especially if it is oases charm. I am in England to visit England I don’t need generic but I can live with it if it gives me good value and good locations.

Option 1). the Tower Hotel right at Tower Bridge. It is about 20% more expensive (at the high end of my budget) but has a spectacular view of Tower Bridge (my personal favorite thing in London). It also is about 8 min walk to the tube station. The station is easy to access and the walk is basically around the Tower of London or on the return looking up at the Bridge so it is a great view during the walk.
Downside it is a bit off to one end of many tourist locations. But still reasonable. Looks to have a large selection of restaurants in various price ranges in the area.

Option 2). London County Hall by Premier Inns near the Eye.. Less then my budget by about 20 or 30 % so economical. About 6 minuet walk to two different Tupe stations. Both (relatively) accessible with out climbing a ton of stairs. Does not list an option to chose a “good view” so presumably the view is nothing to write home about. The walk to Westminster station has a reason view (would be great if BigBen was not wrapped up like a Christmas present) Restaurants are in the area but do not appear as plentiful/close as the Tower.

What I am unsure of is the areas. As far as I know both are reasonable and safe but not being from London.... who knows? Keep in mind I live outside of Detroit so I may be a a pit paranoid about safety in cities. But in my experience I tend to think EVERYTHING is safe because well it is not Detroit. That sometimes steers me wrong.

So opinions?

Posted by emma
London
4002 posts

Both areas are safe.
The area around Waterloo/Westminster is right in the middle of town and is never particularly quiet. Even in the middle of the night there will always be people about, traffic etc.
The area around the Tower is quieter. I was there around midnight a couple of weeks ago and it felt deserted, a little bit eerie but not particularly unsafe. Obviously use normal common sense but both areas are perfectly safe for the average visitor.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
3803 posts

Great Britain has come a long way in improving the lives of it’s disabled citizens, but still has a long way to go

The provisions of ADA and the UK Equalities Act (and its predecessor the Disability Discrimination Act aren't that dissimilar.

With respect to pre-existing buildings ADA only requires changes within a framework of what is "readily achievable" and the corresponding phrase in the UK legislation is "reasonable adjustments', which is also used by the United Nations.

Posted by Helen
Las Vegas, NV
54 posts

Just to add my own experience -- we had stayed several times in Bayswater and liked it, but also tried Kensington and Chelsea, also nice and close to various things. Then we stayed on the South Bank near the Globe Theatre at a Holiday Inn Express. It was a good hotel, but we found that nearly everything we wanted to do was on the other side of the Thames and this added a lot of walking to our day, which we are fine with, but there was also a lack of restaurants and grocery stores, so we also had to plan ahead so we didn't end up back at the hotel without dinner or snacks (very important!). In the end, we decided we would prefer to stay on the busier side of the river and pay a little more if necessary. Last time we stayed at a Premier Inn in Bloomsbury. The hotel was okay, nothing great and it had a wonky shower drain, but we love the neighborhood. So this time we are going to stay in Bloomsbury at the Arofsa and see how that goes. So, bottom line, check to see what's near your potential hotel as well as if it's near tube and train.

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
2139 posts

I would choose Tower Hotel (by Guoman hotels) by Tower Bridge.
Quiet location. Lots of good restaurants in the area.
Borough Market with its numerous food stalls is a short walk away.

The Tower Hill tube station is just steps away, giving you access to the Circle Line. See the yellow line on this tube map. It makes a circle around London, making it easy for you to access all the tourist hot spots. Use the plus sign at the top of the PDF page to enlarge the map:
http://content.tfl.gov.uk/standard-tube-map.pdf

You can pick up tube maps at any tube station.

Staying at Tower Hill you can access the Thames Clippers--the river boats--for transportation. There is a pier located at the Tower of London on the riverfront. Tap your Oyster card when you get on, tap your Oyster card when you get off. Just my opinion, but this is a much more pleasant way to get from Tower Hill to Westminster than the tube.

Likewise, you can board the boat at Tower Hill Pier and travel eastward to Greenwich. The National Maritime Museum is there. I would not walk all the way up the hill behind the museum to see the Greenwich Royal Observatory. The hill is too steep for your dad--he would be winded after the first 20 feet. However, there is a road that goes up the back of the Royal Observatory which is an easy grade walk, if he really wants to go up there.
https://www.rmg.co.uk/royal-observatory
You can see the Cutty Sark ship and tour it in Greenwich. There are great pubs on the main street in Greenwich, and the National Maritime Museum has a good lunch room.
https://www.rmg.co.uk/national-maritime-museum

If you stay at Tower Hill, take the Number 15 bus (as Emma said) westward to see St. Paul's Cathedral. Then hop back on the Number 15 bus, continue west to Trafalgar Square and its museums. Take the Number 15 bus back east to return to your hotel at the end of the day.

Thames Clipper river route map:
https://www.thamesclippers.com/assets/doc/TC_A3_Route_Map_APRIL2017-640222a9dc.pdf

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
2139 posts

If you do not choose Tower Hotel, I would definitely choose one of the Premier Inns. There are locations all over London. They are inexpensive, have good beds, elevators, and air conditioning. It could be a bit warm in early September. Or it could be cool or rainy!

Posted by douglasjmeyer OP
40 posts

I am leaning towards the Tower for various reasons. But it will depend on budget constraints. It is in my projected budget but I need to see if the budget holds for everything else.

Posted by jane
609 posts

The Tower Hotel is huge, has lots of conferences and feels like a bit of a bed factory.

Also, although it’s near Tower Hill tube station, it’s a bit of an uphill walk.

I much prefer the South Bank location of County Hall, and there are more bus routes right on your doorstep.

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
2139 posts

douglas, the sooner you make your hotel reservations, the cheaper they will be, most likely.
You might check hotel prices at three different times, and get three different results.

I booked a Tower Hill hotel for our stay in April, and the price was 125 pounds per night. I checked it after that, just out of curiosity, and the price had gone up to 249 pounds per night. Checked prices again right before we left to fly to London, the price was $550. per night. The longer you wait, the more expensive it can be.

So for your chosen dates, Tower Hotel could be 125 pounds now, today and tomorrow, and 250 pounds by next week.

Check prices often and when you find a good price on your chosen hotel, and decide to book, pounce on it.

Posted by Alison
New Hampshire, USA
206 posts

This is a great resource to search different places for their accessibility there in the UK.
https://www.disabledgo.com/
So if there's a specific theatre or museum or anything you're wondering about visiting, you could look it up for the review and information. Their Twitter feed is good too.

This gives some helpful bus hints:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-p7iDpHyQA
and this too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEqlzp2I3BQ
I've found Google Maps was great when I was plotting my bus adventures when I lived and worked there for 2 months. Click the public transportation bus icon at the top of the directions screen, and it makes it easy.

I'm in pain most of the time while traveling (scoliosis was severe as a kid, metal rod in back, collagen damage/pain) and the buses were WAY better and easier than the Tube for me. I also have double vision from eye operation, with the escallators being twice as fast and twice as steep in the Tube, I wanted to avoid them. Plus I find no logic to the idea of traveling in a dark tunnel when I can see and explore the city on a bus. The only tricky part was looking at the top of the bus stop, to see specifically which stop it was, and to match that stop's letter to the route map. if they were crowded, it was easy to wait 10 min for the next one. The rest was just about connecting the routes and counting the number of stops so I'd be ready to get off when I needed to. :)

And these kinds of trips with your 87 yr old Dad are massively valuable in your long-term pile o' memories, Go for the hotel you WANT by Tower Bridge !!!! (my 2 pence. :) Night time view could be great photo ops. Valuable stuff.

I also found that Travelodge.co.uk has many options at good prices, have stayed in the Southwark one not too far from the Tower Bridge (not visible tho) and also the one in Windsor. They have accessible rooms with showers (not tubs) that were good. They were basic, but clean, good breakfasts, twin beds were too narrow, but otherwise good. I've stayed in Premier Inn too, the beds were better in those but the service and location was better with Travelodge. That one in City Hall building with Premier Inn can be comfy, but that side of Waterloo station has a constant stream of people, it will be at least somewhat noisy (tho I did read somewhere that they were getting their windows soundproofed, don't know how much that helps when you may need window open sometimes). The bus stops at Waterloo are only on the hotel side going one way out, then they are on the whole other side of Waterloo station coming in. Transport for London's web site's great for bus plotting too, of course. Google maps can show you which stop is near your hotel, when you zoom in on the street map, then that info is helpful on tfl's site.

It can be very helpful for your airport travels to request a wheelchair for your Dad if he's willing to give it a try. It can zoom you through lots of the lines :) Usually the only requirement is to have some difficulty navigating the whole airport without one. I overheard a stewardess saying that if anyone requests one, they HAVE to give it to them, no questions asked. I used to work for a wheelchair company, so I know people have varying opinions about them. In the case of airports, they can be a great help, though.

Have a great time! Do whatever is the most fun for you guys. :)
-Alison