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Sticker Shock in London

We're in the preliminary stages of planning a trip to the UK for next May. Last night I went on tripadvisor.com to start looking for accomodations in London and was shocked at the prices of hotels. I mean, HUNDREDS of dollars for one night. We can't afford to stay in London if that's the norm. The cheapest rooms I found were two hotels at $150.00/night. We can't afford to stay there even at that price! Any suggestions on finding good deals, or maybe a neighborhood on the outskirts of London that's close to public transportation? Thanks!

Posted by
8959 posts

You may want to try priceline.com I've gotten good 4 star hotels for about $79USD. Having said that, $150 is a good rate for London. Some of my favorite economy budget hotels include Ibis Euston, Premiere Travel Inn Euston, Premiere Travel Inn County Hall, and the Copthorne Tara Hotel Kensington.

Posted by
79 posts

I have no idea what the contact information is because I didn't book it, but I stayed with some friends near the Kings Cross station, and it definitely wasn't that much. I think the single that I split (I know, for shame) was maybe 20-30 pounds, and the double the other girls split was probably on about 45-60 pounds. Not sure exactly, it was four years ago. But I guess I just wanted to let you know there are options. Good luck finding them! :)

Posted by
1455 posts

Amy, if you're looking for bargain but clean try easyhotel.com. They are part of the easyjet company and they have reasonable rates and in the heart of London.

Posted by
93 posts

First, quit looking at regular hotels. Go for the B&B. We found one (and not the cheapest ones we found, either - they were booked) for $110 a night. We have to come back to London for one night later in the trip - a Saturday night - not easy to find a cheap Sat. night stay. So, I went to Hotwire and got a room at the Hilton for $112.00. It would have been quite a bit less for all of our nights if we'd stayed outside of London, though.

Keep looking - B&B or even Hostels - you can find cheaper places.

Posted by
390 posts

Also look at hostels and see what booking a private room would cost - often they have doubles or twins available for around £50/room. Check out www.hostelworld.com

Posted by
7205 posts

I would agree with the Travel Lodges especially the one at Holborn (sp). Just be sure to check out the reviews of your particular travelodge BEFORE booking.

Another option would be the Premier Travel Inns. There is one fantastically located at the London Eye right on the Thames...the location is the London County Hall.

There are many cheaper places in London, but please check them out on Tripadvisor BEFORE booking. You can find some real rat-traps in London.

Posted by
45 posts

Definitely stop looking at hotels and check out the B&B's. Also, check out Rick's London guide book. I remember him mentioning some B&B's, they may be small but very reasonable for London standards and prices.

Posted by
991 posts

Amy, I can't say this often enuf. Premier Travel Inns. The one near the Eye is County Hall. Marriott shares the building (they have the river view) also the aquarium. There are several others in London, I like this one best. The tube, or the Heathrow Express take you to Waterloo Stn which is just a 5 minute walk away. Last October the price for the room was 89 GBP. If you book early you can ask for a "family" room which has another bed. We have even been known to ask for another bed to be brought in. All the room is all the hotels look the same but they are neat and clean and of course, have tea making facilities. Brekkers is not encluded, but there are restaurants in the hotel. You can walk to Big Ben, Trafalgar Sq, lots of places.

Posted by
932 posts

Wow, thanks for the overwhelming response! Are there any neighborhoods in London that I should AVOID? I'm not at all familiar with London (never been to the UK) and know that there are probably bad parts. That way if I see a really low rate, I know that I should note whether it's a low rate because of being in a bad neighborhood...
And our library only had Rick Steve's 2000 edition of the UK, so I'll check out the hotels/B&B's that he put in there and see if their still good. I didn't want to buy the book until we are positive that we're going and also I want the newest edition possible (2008)...

Posted by
970 posts

Amy, I suspect you'll be fine if you stay in any of the neighborhoods that are covered by any of the travel guides, They depend on repeat sales and would not recommend hotels in dangerous neighborhoods.

That said, I've never been impressed with London hotels. They're expensive and small. If you are expecting something like an American Holiday Inn or Hampton Inn or even Comfort Inn at a comparable price, forget it.

Advice to try your luck at Priceline makes sense. If you haven't been there before, you might as well let Priceline pick a place.

Try to become familiar with the various neighborhoods, You will be balancing rapid access to the usual tourist haunts with hotel costs. If you are willing to spend an extra 30 minutes or so on the Tube, you can consider staying away from central London and the West End. Say, in Docklands.

Posted by
11450 posts

Two suggestions. First spend minimal time in London, you said your trip was to the UK , so I assume you are looking for other towns to stay in too, London is one the most expensive Europeon cities to stay in, the pound is so strong so that doesn't help much either.
Second read hotel reviews on tripadvisor.com very helpful . They are reader reviews.

Posted by
45 posts

Amy- try going online and go to www.visitbritain.com.
I had gone to this site when planning a trip to London pre- rick steves days. I was able to request a bunch of info pamphlets to be sent to me free on hotels, B&B's, day tours from London, etc. But, this was 2004- hopefully what I'm saying is still true.
Whatever you decide- HAVE FUN!

Posted by
10 posts

Hi Amy, Try londontown.com. The good part is you can cancel with no penalty if you find something better. It is also mentioned in the Rick Steves England guide book. London is expensive we are going next month.

Good Luck!!

Posted by
3551 posts

Try Cherry Court Hotel and Garden Court Hotel with share bathroom both in Ricks books. Remember brfast is included, they are nr sights so you can walk to rather than tube which is costly now. Museums are mostly free too. Picnic alot while in London and you can keep your costs mostly to lodging and not transit and museum entrances. I did it on $85 per day when 2 sharing in Nov 2006. And I ate at pubs and museums.

Posted by
74 posts

www.venere.com Sharing a bath down the hall and using a stairs place rather than an elevator takes off significant bucks. Just think of it as staying at Aunt Joyce's house. You'd go up the stairs and a bath down the hall there also. The other thing is just to try and let your mind go about what the dollar cost is. Most things in London are actually priced very reasonable if you take out the dollar and think in pounds. A McDonald's Value meal there is 6 pounds. A hotel room is 79 pounds. Admission to things is around 15 pounds. No different than home. Only the fact that American travlers are toast with the exchange rate. But if you get wrapped up in the exchange rate, it's easy to cheap out your vacation.

Posted by
4 posts

We just booked via a travel agent to London in May for 5 nights, staying at K&K Hotel George in the Earl's Court area. Including airfare, breakfast,one show ticket, Thames River cruise was about $1200.00 per person. I would suggest that you call some of your local travel agecies, somtime they can get a better deals than you doing your own research.

Posted by
932 posts

Nancy, I can appreciate your comments about trying not to dwell on the exchange rate, but to an extent, I HAVE to consider that. We don't have an unlimited amount of money, we're traveling on a budget. So if a hotel room costs $200/night, we can't afford it. It's that simple. When we went to Europe a few weeks ago, we did what you said when it came to eating out, because you HAVE to eat. And you just accept the fact that it costs more. But one thing I CAN control is how much we spend on lodging. That is pre-determined. And then we just make sure to have enough spending money to cover our meals/admission/souvenirs...

Posted by
7 posts

Amy,
Check with your airline website. Sometimes they package hotels at a cheaper rate than the online rate.

Posted by
4555 posts

George brings up an excellent idea. Many companies will do flight/hotel packages far cheaper than you could find separately, and many will allow you to "extend" your flight home. So you can spend a week in London, and the rest of your time touring the UK (or elsewhere) before heading back to London to fly home. Multi-city packages are also available if you want to sample more than one country. One we've used with great success in the past is go-today.com

Posted by
390 posts

Here's another website I found that has very central B&B's at super cheap prices - £40-50/night/room. Keep in mind, these are very basic rooms. www.londontoolkit.com

Also google Bakers Hotel in London (doubles/twin from $95/room/night near Victoria)

Posted by
29 posts

Please, before you make any reservations, check Trip Advisor for recent reviews. I checked the B&Bs and hotels recommended, and while cheap, most of them received horrid reviews. Any major city in the world is expensive these days. If you paid $125 for a hotel in New York, you would be sleeping in a rat trap. If you want really cheap and clean and safe, consider a good hostel like Meininger Hostel. I know some people that stayed there and liked it and it received really good reviews.

Posted by
932 posts

Cat, YES. I agree. Actually, I went to Trip Advisor and checked reviews on some of the recommended B&B's from this website, and found some shocking stories from other travelers. I LOVE that website!

Posted by
3580 posts

I stayed at a B&B in Warwick last year for 25 GBP single. For several days it made a great home-base for exploring the area. I used local buses to Coventry, Stratford-upon-Avon, and the Northern Cotswalds. Day passes on the local buses are inexpensive. And the impressive Warwick Castle is there and worth a day's visit. You can look for other locations that are close to sites you are interested in. Even Bath has lodgings less expensive than London's. From Bath it is easy to day-trip to south Wales, Bristol, Wells, Glastonbury, and the southern Cotswalds. And Bath itself is well worth a few days visit. Train and bus depots are convenient to many lodgings.

Posted by
11450 posts

Yes, we loved Warwick and Bath, both good places to stay for a night or two, and much cheaper then London.

Posted by
3 posts

Amy.....it appears you receive a good value at the boutique hotels (B&Bs) which are in the Edwardian style mansions about a 10-minute walk behind Victoria Station. Despite comments to the contrary, we were satisfied with our stay at The Victoria Inn. The room (9x9) was immaculate and quiet (over the garden area), the bed was very comfortable, enoyable breakfast w/cappucino and helpful staff. We made sure we were among the first in the breakfast room each morning, and had no problems finding a good table. A phone and TV w/CNN, desk and comfortable chair were also in our room. We also had internet access in the lobby (2 pounds/hour). The shower was small, but doable. The cost was $140/night (search "cheap B&Bs near Victoria Station"). Bus #24 provided good (and cheap) service from Belgrave Road to tourist sites near Trafalgar Square.

Posted by
3580 posts

I found The Charlotte Guest House in West Hampstead on this Graffiti wall last year. I stayed there with a friend last fall and found it to be a good value--nothing fancy, but the twin room was large and had two big front windows. I have just made reservations for a single for next month and have been warned that the (share bath) room is "tiny." That's ok, since I will be paying only 25 GBP/night. West Hampstead is a straight shot on the Tube from Waterloo Station, which I consider a major asset. I'll be day-tripping from Waterloo, so it won't add much time to the train trip. We traveled by Tube to Heathrow from the Charlotte last fall and it was easy, with one transfer in central London. Google The Charlotte Guest House; expect a response within 24 hours.

Posted by
3580 posts

I wish I had discovered www.smoothhound.co.uk earlier in my planning process. There are hundreds of hotels, guesthouses, and B&Bs listed. Many can be reserved at the website. I requested one reservation and got a positive response within 24 hours. In London there are numerous listings for hotels, double rooms for less than $100. Just be sure to check with TripAdvisor before booking. Some of the least expensive lodgings have surprisingly high ratings. If you are ok with sharing a bathroom you will usually pay less.

Posted by
290 posts

You can find a reasonable priced hotel in London.
It depends on 1) your comfort level, 2) length of stay & 3) how hard you are willing to work for it.
The best rates are for 1 week and by making the reservation directly with the hotel online or by phone. As Rick says, you will pay more for things like elevators and private bath.
Focus on a particular neighborhood, like for instance, Victoria Stn. Then use websites like TripAdvisor to find hotels in that area. Google the hotel names to find their website or contact info to inquire of rates directly.
My husband, brother in law, & I are staying 1 week in December. Our comfort level is basic so anything better than a dismal room with many stairs and shared bath is a plus. After over 60 rate inquiries to all sorts of hotels and B&Bs, I found Hotel Sidney for 39 pounds a night for a single and 59 pounds for a double with full buffett english breakfast included. http://www.SidneyHotel.com . This is the advance rate. It works for us.

Posted by
18 posts

Our first trip to the UK is over Christmas and while not tight, I refused to pay a lot of money for some things. We got our roundtrip airfare for 491.00 (Open Jaw from Chicago to London and from Vienna to Chicago). We got into the new Travelodge hotel on City Road for 26.00 lbs/2 nights and 49./1 night. It might not be as comfortable as home, but I figure since it's new it will be nicer than other budget hotels. And I won't have to deal with the crusty fixatures that I saw in many of the B&B's websites. Tripadvisor is to die for!

My friend and I decided that we could spend an extra 50.00 in other cities and get a nicer room. It seems like you could spend 200.00/ night in London and still get crusty bathrooms. I'd rather save money and spend it on tours and food.

For airfare, I figured out our dates and literally stalked kayak for 3 weeks until they had a mid day price cut. The same ticket on United's site was 300 more at the exact same time. Patience can be rewarded.

Posted by
932 posts

Wow. This is so overwhelming! London is so large, and I'm completely unfamiliar with it, so I don't know which neighborhood to pick. I have a feeling that I'm going to LOVE London, and I would like to be able to stay for at least 4 nights. We are insistent on a private bath. I feel completely uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with a stranger. I usually get up during the night to use the bathroom, and I don't feel comfortable leaving the privacy of our room to do that. (I have a teeny bladder!) I could care less about an elevator... I will look at Bath and Warwick. But aren't those over an hour from London? I wouldn't mind staying outside of London, but not an hour away. I will start looking at the websites and hotels that you all have suggested... THANKS!

Posted by
932 posts

Jennifer, thanks for the www.londontoolkit.com. It answered my question about neighborhoods! Now I know what's near each hotel or B&B that I look at...

Posted by
390 posts

You're welcome! I hope you adore London as much as I do - only two more months until I go back!! Let us know where you end up staying and how it is!

Posted by
3 posts

Amy - transportation into and out of London from beyond zones 1 and 2 would eat up your budget and time. So try to stay in a B&B within those zones. In September, we used a 7-day Oyster travel card and saved alot. Buses are about half the price of the tube but much slower; however we did use them occasionally. The Oyster travel card can also be used for bus travel.

We flew into Gatwick Airport instead of Heathrow and had no problems. Then we took the Southern Railway train from Gatwick to Victoria Station. We saved about $20/pperson roundtrip and the riding time is within 5 minutes of the Gatwick Express.

Posted by
3580 posts

Hampstead and West Hampstead are within the zones 1-2. I've travelled by tube from central London to both with regular fares. If you are staying outside those zones, you can buy day passes for one-day-at-a-time travel. Personally, I think London is best "done" in short spurts. Another scheme is to buy a daypass for zones 1-4 and hit several places that are farther out. I bought one once and visited Richmond and a few other places. Kew Gardens is on zone 4 (at least that's how it appears on my Tube map). Heathrow is in zone 6. On one occasion I took a daytrip into London from Bath, bought a day ticket from Paddington and toured around the City. I managed to see quite a lot of London in those few hours.

Posted by
19 posts

I would check hotels.com you may have to go through a lot of listings, but we found a "motel"
outside of Paris with a family room "4" for $58/night
total, with a cont. breakfast.

Posted by
12 posts

We've had friends use Premier Travel Inn and it's usually been pretty good prices. I saw a couple of your posts about traveling on a budget and I completely understand your concern about the exchange rate. What we do is we just eat at the supermarkets. Tesco is a big store here and if you go at night, they always mark things down on clearance. We've picked up many sandwiches, yogurts and things for usually less than 1 or 2 pounds.

Posted by
1 posts

I'm looking for a cheap decent hotel myself in London for January, and as with the original poster $150/nt is right out of my budget. I found some places that were well rated in Tripadvisor right near the King's Cross Underground station. Hotel Meridiana , and the Wardonia have decent reviews and are quite cheap for london ($70/nt for the Meridiana), but the rooms are rather small, and you share a bathroom down the hall with other people on the same floor (but you do that at home anyways). So if you're just going to be in the room for sleeping, then you can get by. If you don't have to be in Central London, I imagine there's cheaper items out towards the ends of the Tube (London Underground public Transit) as well, but I haven't researched that yet.

Posted by
11 posts

Just keep searching. We recently got back and I stayed at a b and b (they only had 2 rooms actually, so it was more like renting a room in someones home) in an awesome central neighbourhood, a 2 minute walk from the tube, for 300 pounds. I was alone for the first 3 nights, and my partner was there for the last 3. It included a self serve continental breakfast. A bargain that I eventually found through perseverance.

Posted by
932 posts

Jay, did you stay for 6 nights total for 300 pounds? That IS a good deal. Was there a private bath? And lastly, is the name of the B&B a secret? : )

Posted by
4 posts

Amy-Have you thought about renting an apartment? I've rented one in Chelsea this January for a week for about $120 per night. I like it because there's a kitchen in the apartment. So, we're hoping to save some money by eating breakfast in and packing a lunch every day from our apartment. Try vacationsinparis.com. It's where we rented the Chelsea apartment and we've rented from them before. It was fabulous.

Have fun!

Posted by
2 posts

Check out Vancouver Suites in Baywater. We are staying there for 2 weeks at Christmas. What we like about it is that we can fix our own breakfasts and with the price of London restaurant pick up an easy put together or a take-away at a nearby Sainsbury or other grocer. They are listed in both Rick's London and Great Britain book. Suggest that you book early. And yes, it is over what you want to pay, but if you want to stay in London it is expensive. The only other alternative is to stay outside and use the Tube. If you use the pass system that can be economical as well. It just takes longer and your flat or hotel is not very convenient if you want to go back during the day.

Posted by
3580 posts

I stayed at Morgan Guest House on Ebury St. in London last week. Up and down Ebury were "vacancy" signs. You may be able to bargain with hotel owners if you wait until you get there before finding a room. I paid 52 GBP per night (single) and shared a bath. The place was nice, breakfast was quite good, and the managers were nice. I bought a one-week travel pass and had it loaded on my Oyster Card. It was very convenient for both Tube and buses. In the Victoria area are buses to many parts of the city and they are often more convenient than the Tube. IMO the easiest way to save money on lodgings is to "share bath." If you can concentrate your visits in London to two or three days, you can move outside the city to less expensive digs and visit the rest of the country. I stayed at a bnb in Warwick last year for 25GBP (single) and travelled by bus to other places in the region: the Cotswalds and Stratford. In Bath you can find relatively inexpensive bnbs.

Posted by
1455 posts

Laurel
Premier Travel Inns is inexpensive but at 86 POUNDS thats over $170 a night...and thats without VAT.

I think Amy is looking for super budget.

Posted by
1 posts

Don't fret, even as a born Londoner i am often intimidated by the truly shocking prices, and i can tell you straight up that even the cheapest hotels are crazy. Booking hotels at the last minute, even turning up on the night can open paths to very reasonable reductions, though <$150 maybe a little ambitious.

I can maybe suggest that you don't actually stay in london-bear with me- although i am at university in Norwich (thats 2 hours away and irrelevant) i used to live in a town called Hemel Hempstead, this is on a railway line to london that takes around 30 minutes to get to (the trains are safe but a little tardy btw!). Better even than that is the next stop on the line closer to london by 10 minutes called WATFORD junction, the city being Watford. Its not as glamorous as London but it'll get you there by train in around 20 minutes to Euston station (this is great station to get into town from). I suggest checking to see if the hotels around these areas are any cheaper!