Hotels in Central London History and Luxury

Copyright 2006 S Wander Central London is where everything is: the history, the culture, the center of the UK's government, and the night life. For about a three-mile stretch between the Tower of London and Hyde Park, you'll find most of the London you're looking for: Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, St. Paul's, London Bridge, Westminster, Trafalgar Square. It only makes sense, therefore, to find a great hotel to stay in that area. You can do this for a reasonably-inexpensive rate, or you can splurge and be treated like the Queen. The most important thing, though, is to reserve your spot as early as you can; rooms, especially the inexpensive rooms, go quickly.

If you're arriving by midday, many places will hold your spot without a deposit. Others can be expensive if you're forced to cancel. Bed and Breakfasts In the streets behind Victoria Station, you'll find colonies of budget Bed and Breakfasts. It's a nice area, not at all touristy, and you can get a cheap 50 room (expect what you pay for, of course) or a nicer 80 room, with atmosphere and a nice British breakfast. You can possibly save a little money by arriving later in the day without a reservation and looking for a bargain. Competition is fierce here, and you can probably strike a deal, particularly in the off-season, and particularly with a multiple night stay.

In Warwick Way hotels, request a quiet back room. Woodville House at 105 Elbury St. offers inexpensive rooms. You'll share a bathroom down the hall and you may end up next to the noisy street, but the atmosphere is great, the proprietor friendly and endlessly informative, and you can save even more money by bunking 3-5 in a room with friends. Or you can try a more expensive place like Lime Tree Hotel, with thoughtfully decorated public areas and spacious guest rooms; the breakfast room is even attached to a nice traditional garden.

Wherever you stay, a bed and breakfast will give you a traditional taste of London. Modern Hotels For the cheapest rates, you can stay at one of the Travel Inn hotels. The rooms are cookie-cutter and dull and the restaurants and bars are ordinary, even somewhat tacky, but if you're planning to stay out in the city most of the time, you can't find a better deal. They have locations near Big Ben, the British Library, and further off at Putney Bridge. Classy, Trendy Hotels If you don't need to cut corners and would like to stay in an area so classy they don't allow tacky things like hotel signs on the street, you probably want to stay in South Kensington. The shops are great - Harrods is in walking distance - and you can find budget and nice restaurants of all descriptions lining the streets nearby.

Aster House Hotel has excellent rooms with televisions, phones, and a refrigerator. You can have breakfast in the Orangerie, a Victorian greenhouse and lounge in the back garden; or you can walk a short distance to have your meals in town. 5 Sumner Place Hotel has been voted the best small hotel in London. Chandeliers decorate the Victorian-style conservatory, a greenhouse decorated in blues, where you'll have breakfast. The hotel is in a 150-year-old building, and each room is decorated with period furnishings.

It can be expensive, but if you're looking for atmosphere, this is where to find it. If you don't quite have as much money to spend, you can try 16 Sumner Place up the road, or Kensington Juries Hotel. Either is popular and close to attractions, with excellent furnishings, informative and friendly management, and loads of class and comfort. Wherever you stay in this neighborhood, you'll be certain of atmosphere, walking-distance attractions, and friendly service. The Cheapest Place Ever If you're a young woman or a man with a Norwegian passport, you can get a room at the Norwegian YWCA for half the price you'd spend anywhere else in London; all rooms are smoke free, and, other than singles, have their own showers; if you're willing to share a quad room with strangers, you can get a room for as little as 18 in the off-season, breakfast included. And believe it or not, it's a really nice place to stay, with atmosphere and comfort.

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By: S Wander



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