By Nina Derham in London—
When I scoured the streets of London hunting down the best affordable hotels, B&B’s and hostels for EuroCheapo’s London hotel guide, I was constantly amazed by many of their brilliant locations. Most people expect to pay dearly to stay in central London, but if you know where to look, there is no reason why we Cheapos can’t also demand “Location, Location, Location!”
Here’s my pick for three cheap London hotels with truly special locations:
YHA Holland Park
Holland Walk, London
While not as modern or funky as many of the other YHA hostels in London, what the Holland Park branch lacks in trendy design, it makes up for with location. It is difficult to find, because as you make your way down Holland Walk you start doubting yourself, as all the signs point you into the park. I did a few laps through the pretty green spaces, passing by happy couples strolling and groups of friends picnicking in the sunshine, all the while convinced that I was headed in the wrong direction because, well, how could the hostel actually be in the park?
And then I found it. There it was, the best-kept secret on the London hostel scene, right in the middle of Holland Park, dishing out beds to visitors from around the world from just $26 per night! Genius.
The hostel itself is basic and could do with updating, but it offers dorms and private rooms, and a communal kitchen, dining room, living room, and a lovely little terrace.
This is definitely the place to stay if you want to escape the bustle of the city without actually leaving London. The hostel is a stone’s throw from Notting Hill and the vibrant Portobello Market, as well as being just a couple of stops on the tube into central London.
Places like the YHA Holland Park always leave me thinking that budget travelers actually have the last laugh–after all, I didn’t stumble across any five-star hotels while exploring Holland Park!
Read more and see additional photos on our review of the YHA Holland Park
The Seven Dials Hotel is really is the place to stay if you want all of central London at your doorstep. London’s best bars, shops, cafes, restaurants and theaters are all within easy reach.
Monmouth Street, one of my favorites, is a pretty, old-fashioned street lined with boutiques and cafes that straddles Soho and Covent Garden. It is one of seven streets which lead up to a column bearing six sun dials. The column itself serves as the seventh sun dial as it casts its shadow over the point where the seven streets converge (hence the name of the area and the hotel).
The hotel is fairly basic, with a somewhat rickety, steep staircase, but rooms are clean and breakfast is included in the price (starting at $166 for a double room). In all honesty, you are paying for the prime location more than anything else here. And with so much going on outside the front door, you probably won’t be spending too much time in your room, anyhow.
Read more and see additional photos on our review of the Seven Dials Hotel
It’s hard to believe that this beautiful and peaceful crescent-shaped square is slap bang in the center of London. As soon as you turn off noisy Euston Road and approach Cartwright Gardens, the car fumes and fast city pace fade away and you feel like you’ve stumbled upon something special.
The Mentone boasts an ideal location for exploring central London, perfectly placed for the British Museum and the British Library, as well as the lively Brunswick Centre in Russell Square (an obligatory stop off for dinner during your trip!). You can reach central London’s shops and theaters by foot, and Kings Cross Station, just a few minutes away, makes it easy to escape the city on a day trip.
The Mentone Hotel is not the only hotel on Cartwright Gardens. In fact, the gorgeous line-up of Georgian houses is home to about 10 B&B’s, all of which boast views of the communal gardens and tennis courts. However, The Mentone stands out as the friendly manager, Dale, really makes you feel welcome and offers his guests great advice for exploring the city. The hotel also offers generously sized rooms (doubles costing from $152) and a sumptuous communal living room. (Some singles, however, are a bit tight.)
Read more and see additional photos on our review of the Mentone Hotel