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“Nightmare” hotel stays and how to avoid them.

by Rajul on July 29, 2009

Hotel “nightmares” are all too common in London if you don’t do proper research

Hotel “nightmares” are all too common in London if you don’t do proper research

It is hard to find value for money in an intrinsically expensive city like London.  But however tempted you are, you may regret blindly choosing the cheapest hotel!

To illustrate the pitfalls, check out the darkly humorous “Worst 10 hotels” on TripAdvisor.  As you’ll see, 7 of the worst 10 UK hotels are in London!

Why do people end up staying in such nightmarish hotels?  It can often be due to a lack of research or being forced into a costly “walk-in” booking.

Some unscrupulous hoteliers at the lower end of the market may even lull you into a false sense of security by maintaining a nice-looking reception.

Whatever you do, always ask to see the room first.  Book from an internet café if you can (sometimes just threatening to may bag the online rate).

Rather than going blindly for the cheapest hotel, it’s often better to target a specific category (e.g. hostel, mid–range, luxury, etc.), budget and location.

Then ask yourself which aspect you’re most willing to compromise on and pick the best-value option within the category you’re interested in.

Another value booster is to plan your trip well in advance.  You can also try to contact the hotel directly to see if they’ll negotiate an upgrade.

Travelodge provides clean, functional accommodation in London for an excellent price-quality trade-off

Travelodge provides clean, functional accommodation for a good price-quality trade-off

For example, for “no-frills accommodation” I’ve found Travelodge to offer some of the best deals in London.

Check the best rate for Travelodge in London from 30+ hotel booking sites

They often offer £19 rooms through their email promotions – perfectly adequate and often spacious rooms, all over London.

Good value is found even outside its promotions.  We’ve already featured a decent centrally-located Travelodge in Covent Garden on this blog.

For no-fuss value you could also try Holiday Inn Express.  It’s a step up in price from Travelodge but may offer more in terms of services and facilities.

A good Holiday Inn Express with a solid TripAdvisor ranking near lovely Hampstead Heath has been mentioned on London Hotels Insight before.

Check the best rate for Holiday Inn Express Swiss Cottage from 30+ hotel booking sites

A further example of value is offered in London’s so-called “luxury budget” hotels including the well-regarded Base2stay among others.

Check the best rate for Base2stay from 30+ hotel booking sites

Base2stay offers decent service and rooms often at under £100 a night

Base2stay offers decent service and rooms often at under £100 a night

Since almost all hotels on this blog are pre-screened via TripAdvisor guest reviews, they’re especially worth grabbing during sales.

Again the secret is in the timing, for example you can stay at the highly-rated Hoxton Hotel for £1 or £29 during its flash sales.

Check the best rate for the Hoxton Hotel from 30+ hotel booking sites

You could also try to secure a 4 or 5 star “secret hotel” in London at an unbelievable price.

Above all, please make sure you shop around.  Rates on London hotels vary wildly.  It’s often worth contacting the hotel directly to negotiate.

Don’t be fooled by claims of “the best online rate”.  Almost all hotel booking sites make this claim but they cannot all be right.  Check it out for yourself.

The best way to make sure you get top value is to use our meta-search engine to instantly compare 30+ booking sites without bias.

Get the best-value London hotel deal from 30+ booking sites in 1 click

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