I'm checking out hotels for our trip to London next spring. We stayed at Kensington Gardens Hotel this last February and liked it, but they've raised their rates considerably. Darlington Hyde Park was recommended last year, and we kept it as our fallback choice, but didn't visit it. Can anyone compare the two? Or suggest another budget hotel in Bayswater or thereabouts? Kensington Gardens does have a cheaper option without breakfast that we may go for, but I do like the idea of a good hotel breakfast. We'd like to pay 100 GBP or so. Thanks. Oh, someone else mentioned the Celtic; that's another possible. Any feedback?
We stayed at the Celtic last year. The location was very good for us, just a few blocks from the British Museum and close to Tube stops. We walked many places from there. It would qualify as a budget hotel as it is not fancy at all. The room was clean, and we weren't there to hang out. The breakfast was only OK and after 4 mornings of the hostess pleading for us to eat more (or so it seemed) I just wanted to go get coffee and a pastry somewhere else. But the price was right at the end of our 3-week trip.
I've stayed at The London Elizabeth Hotel a few times and have enjoyed it. It's a 2 minute walk to Lancaster Gate tube station, a cross the street from Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens and there is a great pub around the corner The Swan.
I stayed at the Darlington in '11 and found it adequate and a fine value.
Pros: Location (just a short walk to Paddington), staff (all friendly enough), clean, lift.
Cons: Had to go to basement to iron cloths, basement (including breakfast room) was hotter than the dickens (in September), room was small (but it is London, after all) and a bit stuffy, the breakfast was only OK, a little short on available electrical outlets.
Bottom line: Would I stay there again? Yes, but not as my first choice. During my last trip to London, I stayed at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum for about the same price. Much nicer, even if a bit more 'generic' and had a better than expected Pub in the hotel. Also, the Kensington Forum has better transportation options and is in a very walkable location.
My next trip to London, I plan on staying in a holiday apartment assuming the prices don't get out of hand.
I have an update on the prices at the Kensingon Gardens. If you go to the website, www.kensingtongardenshotel.co.uk, there are cheaper rates available. An en-suite double without breakfast is about 90 GBP a night; that rate allows changes up to 24 hours before the reservation date. If you lock in your dates, no changes or cancellations allowed, it's about 10% cheaper.
I emailed Rowshanak (firstname.lastname@example.org), and she told me breakfast can be purchased by the day at 6 GBP for the buffet or 7.5 for the full English breakfast. This brings the rate to just a bit over 100 pounds per day, if we both get breakfast. We enjoyed the generous buffet when we stayed there last February. Rowshanak also assured me that with the cheaper rate we would get the same quality room as if we paid the 120 GBP rate.
The Darlington was also about 120; I don't think the location, rather more convenient to Paddington, is worth the difference. The Kensington Gardens is in a great area, with lots of restaurants and two convenient Tube stations. I think that's where we'll stay next year.