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Monday, October 15, 2012

Hotel Review--London (otherwise known as "Don't Ever Stay Here When You're In London." Seriously.)

I thought I'd share a review of our hotel in London because if anyone is ever making a trip across the pond, people need to know about this hotel.   We've left a review on Trip Advisor, but people use Google to search for reviews, and maybe this will help someone make a decision about the hotel.

This is just my opinion.  Take it with a grain of salt.
But honestly, there are other places to stay.
In short:  stay there...not here.

Where we stayed:  Imperial President Hotel

Cost per night:  (after conversion & VAT--value added tax):  $180 for a double

Hotel information:  Located in central London, near the British Museum.  Cost of the hotel included breakfast at the hotel restaurant.  We also cashed in on a promotional deal that by booking 3 or more nights in a row, we were given a free dinner on our arrival night.  

The Good:  

  • Location:  It was not only in the center of London, it was only a 1/2 block off of the Russell Square tube stop.
  • Staff:  The staff we interacted with were friendly.  Even though the manager was very direct, I didn't find her to be rude.  We asked for extra pillows and got them along with a phone call asking if we received them.  
The so-so:
  • Food:  while the free dinner was a nice bonus--it was really so-so.  It was a buffet and the food was warm at best.  Same with breakfast.  The food was warm (though often cold), and there was no fresh fruit--it all came out of a can.  
  • Wi-Fi:  Free wi-fi in the rooms--if you brought your computer.  We brought the iPad as well as the Big Guy's iPhone.  We were able to use the wi-fi in the lobby and you could tell that one area of the lobby (near the front desk) was the "hot spot".  You also got "bumped" off the wi-fi a lot and had to re-enter the password.  A bit frustrating, but it was free wi-fi.  
  • The Hotel atmosphere:  This is truly a travelers hotel, to fit the basic needs of someone there on business or needing just a place to stay.  It is in desperate need of updates--peeling wallpaper, large dents/dings in the walls, warped carpet.  It didn't make or break the place, but it did give the impression that the owner aren't concerned about the "curb appeal".  
The Ugly:
  • The Beds:  Down. Right. Awful.  If you like a firm bed--this is the hotel for you!  We like a firmer mattress, but we also like a mattress with a little bit of a cushion!  I felt like we were sleeping on a board.  It made us so stiff and we consumed quite a bit of advil on this trip.

Unique situation:  After our first night, I spoke to the front desk staff to see if there was something they could do about our bed.  They offered us a different room (no difference...the bed was awful).  We then spoke to management.  It went like this:

Kelley:  I'd like to speak with you about our room.  The bed is really uncomfortable.  Is there something that can be done?
Manager:  I can give you the keys to a different room to see if that's better.
K:  thank you
(I take the key, look at a third room, no change)
K:  Sorry, that bed is just as hard.
M:  Let me call housekeeping
(conversation with housekeeping, no options to make the bed softer)
M:  Sorry, nothing can be done
K:  OK, what about a room in another of the Imperial Hotels (there are 4 in London).
M:  I'm afraid the beds are all from the same company and probably wouldn't be any different.
K:  OK, so what about a refund for the 3 nights we have yet to use?
M:  I can do that, you'll have to check out by 11 (it was 8 a.m. at this point)

We searched for 2 hours to find a hotel in London that was reasonable in price & location.  We couldn't find anything.  If we did find something it was so far of out of the city that it would have taken us an hour--one way--to get into the city to sight see.  If we found something within zone 1 of the Tube, it was 3x's as expensive as what we were paying.

We sucked it up and stayed.

When I told the manager of our decision:
K:  I wanted to thank you for your help and your offer of a refund, but we've decided to stay.
M:  Oh. You're staying now?  OK.  I'll put you back into the room.
K:  Thank you, I appreciate your help.
M:  I just don't understand your concern, I mean, no one has ever complained about the beds before.
K:  *smile*

I have no pictures to share of the hotel.  We recognize that we are sightseeing and not spending our days at the hotel. But, honestly, we were surprised at just how bad the beds were.  We could deal with a so-so breakfast and the less than appealing curb appeal.  

But honestly?  A feather bed or foam topper would have done WONDERS.  
Thankfully this didn't make or break our trip to London.

Up next...pics and stories about London!

1 comment:

Rebecca Jo said...

You're so good smiling- I'm sure I would have come up with a smart comment when she said no one else complained.

& then we probably would have been kicked out...