19 March 2015 Global Traveller 0Comment

Recently I was asked to write an article about hotels in London for a hotel company specialising in London hotels. Easy I thought! I mean, that’s one of the things I know most about!

And of course it is easy, but what bits of my knowledge would be most useful to someone looking to book a hotel in London? THAT I did not know.

So then I got to thinking, what would be the best things to know, whatever your requirements and then it hit me!

You already know the best hotels for you, it is just that you don’t know it yet!

What Do You look For in a Hotel?

The problem of choosing a hotel in London isn’t that you don’t know what you want; it is just that you don’t know their names! And that is why a good hotel site will have a selection of filters (look at www.London-Hotel-Rooms.com for a good example) so that you can choose the sort of hotel you need irrespective of what it is called!

London Marriott Hotel County Hall
London Marriott Hotel County Hall next to the London Eye – a well thought out hotel with a care for a guest’s experience far beyond just putting a roof over their head – you know that because it has a pool and good accessibility!

Some filters are self explanatory, but others actually convey more information than you might think… some not so.

For example: filtering on stars will tell you absolutely nothing if you don’t know the criteria or who is setting them, but filtering on whether pets are allowed or where there is free parking will tell you just what you need to know.

And then some filters will tell you a lot more than they first might seem:

Hotels with Business Centres

A hotel with a business centre, will tell you the hotel attracts business guests. It will also tell you that if you are looking for a cosy romantic retreat then being surrounded by suits may not add to the ambience.

It might also tell you that the hotel will be quieter at weekends and therefore may offer some good deals to fill rooms when business folk are not around!!

Hotels with Airport Shuttle Buses

A hotel with an Airport Shuttle may tell you that there is a lot of early morning activity: not good if you are trying to have a lay-in or a peaceful breakfast.

Hotels with Accessible Rooms and Swimming Pools

Another good filter to try is the one for Accessible Rooms. Here you will tend to find larger, modern hotels, with well thought out public areas.

My favourite box to tick is the Swimming Pool one. Let’s face it, however good our intensions are, we are unlikely to actually go for a swim! We are in the greatest city on earth and you want to waste an hour swimming? But again an hotel with a swimming pool will have generous public areas. It is not at these hotels that as many guests as possible are crowded under one roof. We are left to roam, relax and enjoy ourselves and isn’t that what we came to London to do?

Central Hotels

One final consideration is where a hotel is. If you are coming to London on a short break you don’t want to spend the whole weekend transferring between hotel and attraction and theatre and restaurant and museum etc.

So work out what you are going to do and see and then consider how close you want to be. Also from where you will be arriving and departing, especially departing: you don’t want to be slogging across town with briefcases full after a fun but tiring short break in London.

For London, as a general rule, I try to stick within Zone one, but if you are going to Excel or to The Greenwich Maritime Museum or Kew Gardens then maybe that is not so important.

Consider these things before you start booking and it will not matter what star rating the hotel is, because, for you, it will be five stars all the way!

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