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Harrow - Not London as the Tourist Knows It
Premier Inn (London Harrow)
Member Name: rosebud2001
Premier Inn (London Harrow)
Advantages: Cheap, decent restaurant, comfortable rooms
Disadvantages: Quite some distance from central London, noise from the railway line outside
What I didn't know then however was I would be moving house in August, and this resulted in me curtailing my visit to the weekend only, foregoing a (very cheap) 4 night booking at the Marylebone Travelodge and instead staying at the Premier Inn London Harrow for three nights.
It's a bit disingenuous of Premier Inn to put "London" in front of "Harrow" in the title of this hotel, as it's some considerable distance from central London - it's in Zone 4 for those who are familiar with the Underground map - and really in suburbia.
However that's not to say it should be discounted altogether - I chose it for several reasons - the main one I must admit being price - and the proximity of the hotel to public transport was the clincher for me.
The hotel is located a very short stroll from Kenton station, which provides trains to central London on the Bakerloo line and also on the Watford to Euston Overground line. Bakerloo Line trains don't run as frequently out to this northern stretch of the line, however I never found myself waiting longer than ten minutes for a train and as the Overground trains stop at Queens Park, you can get off there and pick up the more frequent service on the Underground if needs must.
The entrance to the hotel is just off the Kenton Road on Carlton Avenue. Access is also available through the adjoining Traveller's Rest pub.
There is a large Sainsbury's supermarket a short five minute walk from the hotel across the busy Kenton Road. We had to be wary crossing the road here as one of the pedestrian crossings wasn't working properly (the red man was permanently on) but I would like to think it's been fixed now.
The hotel has a large car park too and is ideal for those coming into London by car.
Not being au fait with the area I found it tricky to locate the reception, traipsing (with a suitcase) through the pub and down some stairs.
Reception is reasonably large but I can imagine at peak periods could quickly crowd out. There are some vending machines, a couple of chairs and the reception desk.
We received a warm welcome from the man on reception and were given two card room keys.
The hotel is large and finding our room wasn't easy. There is no lift - so if you have access issues you will have to request a ground floor room at booking. Our room was on the third floor and we had to walk down two corridors to the stairs and then up two flights of stairs to the second floor, then walk along another corridor to find the flight of stairs leading to our third floor room. There are signposts with room numbers on them but it's easy to miss them and we took a wrong turning more than once.
I had booked a family room and was pleased when I opened the door to see it was significantly more spacious than a normal double room.
There was a king size bed and a made up sofa bed for my daughter. Both beds were very comfortable and we had no problems sleeping.
The room was typically Premier Inn with the signature purple on display on the bed cover and the picture on the wall.
There was an open plan style "wardrobe" area on the wall beside the door. The TV (an LCD one) was located here, on the top right hand shelf and on the other side was the hairdryer and the tea and coffee making facilities. I must admit I wondered about the wisdom of locating a hairdryer so close to cups for a brew, but it was reasonably easy to move the dryer to a safe distance.
As usual, hangers were limited - this was fine for just two of us staying for three nights, but if there are four of you in a room (and the room is capable of comfortably accommodating two adults and two children) then you might be fighting for a hanger.
There was a desk at the far end of the room which had a chair, and there was a typical Premier Inn bathroom with shower over bath. I was pleased to see towels had been provided for both of us and there were spare pillows already in the room, saving me a lengthy trip back to reception for some.
The bathroom has shampoo in a dispenser provided by the bath and hand soap beside the sink. No flannels are provided however - just bath and hand towels. The power shower was easy to use and worked well.
The one thing you couldn't miss about the room however was the noise. The room overlooked the railway line and while tube trains don't bother me, this is the main West Coast Mainline into Euston so you can expect to hear Pendolino trains going past at over 100 mph and other less glamorous ones making just as much noise. I would say you can expect a fast train to go past during the day every five minutes or so. If this is going to bother you, you will need earplugs - or another hotel.
The room is double glazed and one of the windows was open when we arrived - which I rapidly closed when the train noise became apparent.
Although we were staying in August the room wasn't particularly hot which was probably a blessing - although a fan was provided in the room.
The TV was a bit tricky for my daughter to watch while sitting on her bed as it was high up and difficult to move about at a better angle for her. It did contain the full complement of Freeview channels however, so I was subjected to the joys of 4 Music and Viva whenever she had the TV on.
Internet access is available in the room at an additional charge but I chose not to use this.
Maid service was good and thorough too. We spent most of our daytime out and about so we weren't aware of when they came but whenever we arrived back at our room it was made up for us.
The Traveller's Rest pub adjoining the hotel is a Beefeater property and we dined here several times, having opted to have breakfast here every morning of our stay.
Our stay coincided with the Charity Shield at Wembley, so breakfast on our first day was quiet and pleasant enough - hot food is served buffet style with eggs cooked to order - on the second day it was hectic and crowded.
I enjoyed the hot food although would have liked some crispier bacon but was most disappointed to see there was no marmalade to put on my toast. I could have had blueberry jam, honey, raspberry jam or strawberry jam but the lack of marmalade surprised me. I did enquire to see if they had any but after a search the response was no.
Now I appreciate this is a minor thing but I really enjoy marmalade on my toast and was disappointed to see that it didn't turn up the next day or the day after that.
The sausages were very good on the Saturday and Sunday mornings but on the Monday they were of an inferior quality and nowhere near as nice. I suspect this might be a cost cutting exercise by Premier Inn, substituting meaty and herby sausages for bland and generic cheap ones.
We had dinner at the hotel on two occasions and found the food to be decent enough. There are offers on in the restaurant and we took advantage of a 7oz steak with chips and vegetables for just £5.99. This is available before 6.30 pm on Mondays to Saturdays and my daughter and myself were very impressed with this. We dined on the Sunday evening too and while the food was decent enough, I found my burger a bit bland and my daughter wasn't overtly impressed with her pasta. I would therefore recommend considering an early dinner for the steak offer.
Service was surprisingly good in the restaurant for dinner - I have used Beefeater restaurants in the past and found the service can be rather slow but I only found it sluggish when, incredibly enough, I was wanting to pay the bill! All waiting staff I encountered were friendly and helpful and made an attempt to make us feel like very special guests which was a nice touch.
We enjoyed our stay at the Premier Inn London Harrow with no major problems during our stay. The website does clearly state there will be noise from the railway line, so we weren't surprised by it.
It's also worth noting that the noise does abate in the evening and it certainly didn't keep us awake at night. We were out most of the day on the Saturday and Sunday of our stay and certainly even on Sunday morning the noise didn't' start as early as it had done on the Saturday so there are degrees of noise I suppose.
Access to the hotel is good but if you are disabled you may find it tricky and you will need to stay on the ground floor. There is a lift which will take you from the reception area to the restaurant but be forewarned that many able bodied people used it, unnecessarily in my opinion, so you might have to expect a wait. There are disabled parking spaces close to the hotel entrance.
If you are after the hustle and bustle of central London this hotel probably won't be for you. It takes a good 25 minutes to get to Paddington on the tube train and we took the Overground to Euston - a 40 minute trip due to the train crawling at a snail's pace between Kilburn and Euston.
As I only headed into central London on one day, spending most of my time with family in Fulham and friends in Maida Vale, this wasn't really a problem for me however - but if you have plans to go to a concert at the O2 or do some late night clubbing somewhere off Leicester Square then you can forget this place as an option.
The hotel bar gets quite busy on a Saturday night too, so expect a long queue for a drink. While a lot of the people using the bar are guests, local people frequent it too.
So if you can tolerate some admittedly loud noise from the railway line and the fact the hotel isn't really in London at all, this might make for a good, and relatively inexpensive place to stay during a stay in the London area.
The rack rate for the hotel is £88 per night (room only) but you can get the room for significantly less - when I stayed I got a Premier Offer which was non refundable but cost £29 per night so bargains can be found here.
If you know London well and are confident getting about by tube and train this is certainly a hotel worth considering, or if you need somewhere to stay reasonably close to Wembley this might be a good choice but if significant rail noise is going to bother you, you would be better looking elsewhere.
Summary: A good budget hotel in London's north western suburbs
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