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Ever thought of going South of the River?
London Bridge Hotel (London)
Member Name: grahamt
London Bridge Hotel (London)
Advantages: Good quality accomodation, competitive prices
Disadvantages: No hotel parking, difficult to find by car
In the past the event has always been held around the Hyde Park area. It has been at the Royal Lancaster and the Grosvenor on Park Lane but even with “event” discounts I've always felt them to be too expensive to stay in either hotel. We have always sought out more reasonable accommodation within a short distance but reasonable is a matter of some argument. In any case, hotels at this end of London have been getting ever more expensive.
This year the event was at a new venue, Old Billingsgate, the former fish market now converted to an event centre for parties, banquets and conferences. Old Billingsgate, for those who don't know it, is situated on Lower Thames Street, beside the Thames and close to the Tower of London.
Old Billingsgate itself is not a hotel and so does not provide any accommodation, so we needed to find somewhere reasonably close. There are a number of choices on the same side of the river but the best offer we found was just across London Bridge, on the south side of the river, at the London Bridge Hotel.
If you travelling to London by train then the London Bridge Hotel is just about as convenient as you are going to find. It is no more than 100 yards from the entrance to London Bridge Station. It is on the upper level where you exit from the mainline station. If you arrive by Underground you will have to make your way up to the mainline concourse.
If you are arriving by car then finding the hotel is a little more complicated. Coming across London Bridge you turn left at the lights or approaching from the South up Borough High Street, you turn right immediately under the bridge across the road. Be careful though, the turning you need is the one that actually takes you into the railway concourse itself.
Keep to the left and drive right past the taxi rank and exit out the other side. The road goes downhill to a set of lights and about 50 yards before you reach them, on the left is the hotel entrance, between a bar, a health club and a restaurant.
The hotel has no parking facilities and the road outside the hotel entrance is not a parking place but as the road is one-way and wide enough for even buses to pass no one seems bothered about you stopping to unload luggage and passengers.
The concierge can provide you with a map to shows you how to get to the nearest NCP multi-story about a quarter of a mile away on Snowsfields, behind Guy's Hospital. Unfortunately, on the day we arrived, a critical bit of the route was closed due to a burst water main. The detour was a nightmare as most of the roads around here are one-way only and going in the wrong direction for me! However, I did eventually get there.
24 hours will cost you £12. I had no trouble at all parking there. Getting back to the hotel, I hadn't initially realised that I had to go up the footbridge by Guy's to get to the hotel entrance. If you stay at ground level you end up in the Underground station.
The hotel is very well decorated throughout. You immediately get a feeling of quality and that feeling is justified. All the staff are very polite, helpful and well turned-out.
Our room was on the fifth floor, at the top of the building. Two lifts serve the various floors. Our one window gave a view out over the rooftops of London. The room was very attractive and well furnished. There was more than adequate room for what little we had brought with us, mostly consisting of my wife's evening dress and my dress suit, plus the usual accessories. It would have held five time the amount.
The room itself was decorated in a clean and crisp black and white with wooden doors to the built-in wardrobe and bathroom. There was a chest of drawers with built-in minibar under the window. This also contains the kettle for making tea and coffee. Oddly, the kettle base is screwed to the bottom of the top draw so you have to boil up with the draw open!
The bed was very comfortable although, after our “night on the town” we would have crashed out on just about anything. There was no noticeable noise though, despite being in the middle of London and very close to a railway station.
Each side of the bed has not just a light but also a reading light on a flexible mount for those who want to read without disturbing their companion. There's also a bedside clock/radio.
This is the first time I have seen a flat screen TV in a hotel room. A plasma screen TV is fixed to the wall opposite the end of the bed so it is very comfortable lying in bed and watching what's on. The TV channel selection isn't great. It seems to be limited subset of Sky with quite a few foreign language channels for visitors to the UK. For instance, there is MTV but only in German. There's no BBC News 24, only Sky News. You do, however, get the usual pay channels, including an “Adult” selection!
The bathroom is spotless and , like elsewhere, in immaculate condition. The bathroom is fully tiled. The bath also has a shower over but there is no shower curtain, only a screen between the end of the bath and the adjacent wash basin. In practice the spray didn't go everywhere. The provided toiletries are by The White Company.
We obviously didn't dine at the hotel on this occasion so I can't comment on the quality of the food for that but we did have breakfast the following morning. The restaurant is in the basement (sorry, lower ground!) and is quite big so finding a table wasn't a problem, even though the hotel appeared to be quite full.
Breakfast covers the full range of what you would expect, including the “Full English”. If you do want a hot breakfast then you are issued a voucher as you walk in so you only get one go at what's on offer! Make sure you load up with everything you want. This is actually the only section where you are served rather than serve yourself.
The food was good and there was more than adequate supplies of tea, coffee and toast on demand and service was friendly and prompt. From our experience of breakfast we would expect dining in the evening to be an enjoyable experience. If you really don't want to eat in then the Georgetown Malaysian Restaurant is literally right next door.
Our stay was very enjoyable, short though it was. For one night (Saturday) including breakfast the cost was £109. This compares very favourably with typical London prices and, considering the hotel is only about half a dozen stops on the Underground from Oxford Street, good value, especially in view of the excellent quality of the accommodation. I had no problem booking ahead of our stay using the hotel's own website: http://www.thelondonbridgehotel.co.uk/
I would have no hesitation in staying there again.
Summary: Excellent quality accomodation at competitive prices in easy reach of the West End
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