London: The rise of the extreme cheapo hotel

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easyHotel London
easyHotel has several central London hotels. Above, the South Kensington location, which we inspected in August 2013. Photo: Tom Meyers

EuroCheapo prides itself on sniffing out the best value accommodation options in a city, while more often than not, keeping the emphasis on family-run properties with character that add something to your stay.

That said, the emergence of a different breed of cheap no-frills accommodation in Europe cannot be ignored, as these properties offer the ideal combination for Cheapos looking to rest their heads in a central location while spending as little as possible.

In Europe, London has seen the biggest surge in this kind of accommodation, where you pay for a private room with a bed, and any other amenity (including a window), is a costly add-on.

But would these super cheapo sleeps work for your trip? Below we explore two of the cheapest hotel chains in London. We’ll let you decide for yourself!

Orange you glad you paid less than £50 for your windowless room? Photo: Tom Meyers

Orange you glad you paid less than £40 for your windowless room? Photo: Tom Meyers

easyHotel: A window will cost you

easyHotel opened its first hotel in 2005 in London and since then has opened six more properties across the capital, as well as 13 properties in Europe and beyond, from Edinburgh, Berlin, Zurich and Porto, to Budapest, Dubai and Johannesburg. Owned by self-professed “serial entrepreneur” Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the brains behind low-cost airline easyJet, the hotels follow a similar business model.

The cheapest properties are based a short drive to Luton and Heathrow airports, with room rates starting from £26 and £27 respectively, making them a good option for early morning or late evening flights, where transport to and from the city centre could be expensive and slow. The Old Street property starts at £29 per night, while rates at Paddington, South Kensington (read our review) and Earl’s Court start from £34 or £35 a night, and a night at the Victoria station hotel starts from £39 per night.

The rooms are small (between 6-15 square meters) and they all have en-suite bathrooms. Anything additional, such as using the TV or wi-fi, changing the linen in the room, extra towels etc. will incur additional charges, except at the airport hotels, where a few more amenities are included in the price. A room with a window will cost around £5 more than one without.

Tune Hotels extra charges

“Fine Tune” your stay with these extra charges from Tune Hotels. Photo: LondonHotelsInsights

Enter: Tune Hotels

The easyHotel’s monopoly on this “no frills” accommodation concept has begun to be rivaled over the last couple of years with the launch of Tune Hotels. This Asian brand has the same investors behind it as low-cost airline, AirAsia, and while it is booming in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, in Europe the group has just four properties in London and one in Edinburgh.

The London properties are all very centrally located close to major train stations in Paddington, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street and Waterloo. Windows are a bit more of a common feature and the room sizes are a bit larger than the easyHotels, between 10-15 square meters on average, all with private bathrooms.

That said, prices are also a little bit higher, with windowless rooms starting from £35 per room per night, and rooms with windows from £55 per room per night. Tune Hotels will also charge you for any extras, be it wi-fi and TV, towels and toiletries, or room cleaning – but the price is still a steal for such a central location.

Do these work for your trip?

While these no-frills options undoubtedly strip the glamour out of travel, with so much to do in a city like London, do you really plan to spend much time in your room anyway? For travelers on a budget this is a fool-proof way to get your own private room and bathroom slap bang in the heart of the action leaving some cash left over for a special meal or shopping trip.

What do you think? Would you rather opt for a “cheap as chips” no-frills hotel or pay a bit more for a family-run B&B?

Related: Also see our list of favorite budget hotels in London, many of which have a healthy dose of charm (not to mention windows).

About the author

Nina Derham

About the author: Nina is a freelance travel writer who will leave no stone unturned in her quest to discover the very best on offer in a destination. She recently relocated to London after spending over four years in Madrid and is currently enjoying rediscovering her home town.

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