Need to stay in London and just want a bed for the night…?

by Stephen Tall on September 16, 2012

A quick public service announcement for those who, like me, have occasional cause to visit that London overnight…

So (as, ahem, I may have mentioned) I loved London 2012 from start to finish, attending nine of the Olympic and Paralympic events. Working, but not living, in London it also meant a number of overnight stays.

As we simply wanted a bed for the night that’s what we booked, ending up ‘sampling’ three different easyHotels during the course of the Games. Like the airline, these are no-frills-what-you-see-is-what-you-get places: a room just about able to fit a bed, and a pod-like bathroom almost big enough for one person. If you want luxuries — windows, your room cleaned, a TV — you pay extra.

It’s all very clear, unashamed, transparent. The tariff means you pay for as much or as little of the ‘hotel experience’ as you want. And given we were getting back past midnight and usually needing to get moving before 7am all we wanted was a clean room, bed and bathroom somewhere central… for which we paid between £59-69 a night, a pretty good price for any location, let alone London in the summer.

So: recommended. But here are my three tips based on our experiences:

1) Pay the extra for a room with a window: first time I booked, I reckoned why pay an extra £10 for a window given we’ll be checking in and checking out while it’s still dark? Stingy, I know, and never again. I’ve never before experienced even the remotest sensation of claustrophobia until it came to trying to let sleep wash over me in a sensory-deprived cubicle. Ick.

2) Choose the Old Street / Barbican easyHotel if you can: we also stayed in the easyHotels at Earls Court and Victoria which are converted C.19th (?) houses with cramped rooms. By contrast, Old Street is a converted modern office building which meant floor-to-ceiling windows so the rooms feel bigger.

3) Check the powerpoints! Having said Old Street is best, it’s also the place where none of the sockets worked — not great if you’re looking to recharge phones/cameras/iPods etc (between us we had about 5 devices we needed to recharge). We reported it on the first night, but there were no other rooms available and it still wasn’t fixed for our second night’s stay. Wasn’t too impressed by that, but I’m going to assume this was an unfortunate one-off.