My wife and I are planning to go to London next sept 1-6th....Has anyone stayed at one of the LSE vacation student dorms? and what are your thoughts on them. Are they a good value? It looks like the price is right and the locations are pretty good.
I stayed at LSE's Northumberland House for several weeks during one trip and really liked it a lot. It was a terrific location (about a block from Trafalgar Square) and easily walkable to many, many major sights, the theater district, shopping, multiple public transit options (bus and tube) and lots of places to eat or drink. Don't expect "hotel" type concierge service from the front desk - it's manned by students during the day and a security guard in the evening - but someone is at the desk 24/7 if you just have a basic question about how to get from Point A to B. I had a single room, but it was really spacious and I loved that the rooms were ensuite so no sharing a bathroom. Northumberland provided maid service every day and in the basement level they had coin-op laundry facilities as well as a business center. Northumberland did not provide breakfast like some of the other LSE locations do, but it really was a non-issue as there were lots of cafes and some bakeries nearby to get something on the go, as well as a Tesco market which was handy for snacks and drinks. Given its extremely central location, it's probably not the quietest area - but I was never kept awake by any noise and actually the foot traffic on the street made it feel very safe even late at night. If you are a light sleeper, you might want to request a room towards the back of the building or pick another LSE dorm that is in a more residential area. I would absolutely consider staying at an LSE property again. Do note that the website often shows they have no availability even if you book months in advance. If you encounter this, I would suggest you email them directly to inquire about availability during September. It may take them a few days to respond, but they will get back to you. Or you could call during their regular business hours if you want an immediate answer.
I have used them 3x so far, but i usually stay near Kings X since I took the train from there.
Are they a good value?
To me they are, but that would depend on how you define "value". I think of my lodging as some place to: Sleep, shower and use the crapper. Its not a reflection of my status in life and I'm not trying to impress anyone saying i stayed at the most expensive place or fancy place. Im trying to spend my $$$ on places to go/see than on a room where i may spend 8 hours or less. Some people want to be pampered and have nice things in their room, i dont.
To me i like the fact that i can usually find a place in CENTRAL London for < 100 USD/night. i havent tried any other places in that price range other than the EasyHotel near Victoria Station. Note that the EasyHotels are not a bad place either, but they are more cramped in terms of room space since they install/use bathroom PODS and plan/design their room to maximize the quantity of rooms. All of the rooms are suppose to have Queensize beds, but i haven't used every room in every hotel so i cant say, but i will assume they have done so. The one drawback of EasyHotels is that they will nickel and dime you for anything extras - daily replacement of towels, window, remote...ect. But again, i dont need those things and for the $$$ and location i think they are great. Since they have hotels in other cities and countries, i will usually look for them first since i assume the quality will be the same and i know what i will be getting in terms of space an $$$.
So far the LSE places i have stayed were clean and quite. Just an fyi, breakfast was included in the ones i used and the food was decent/good for an english type of breakfast. You can fill up on the food if you want to. Mind you they are DORMs so if you want an ensuite room, you will probably pay more, i have. If you dont mind using a shared shower/toilet rooms then your room will probably be less expensive. The one i stayed at had several shower/toilets rooms on the wing/floor so i never had any issue with a full house when nature called.
One comment/note, i fly solo, so i always try to get a "single" room and so far that is what i have got. Im not sure if they have any double/queen/king rooms since it wasnt important to me to look/book one.
another note is that the LSE offers "apartments" too. They are not everywhere the dorms are, but they have several around London. I havent had a chance to try one since I'm usually there just overnight or passing through, so far, but once i decide to spend more time, I'm going to try one.