We booked through lastminute.com for two nights at this hotel in march, paying about £35 a night for a double room without bathroom. The hotel is 2*, with cafes and bars on the ground floor. However, the main reason we booked the hotel was that my OH had plans - without me :( - both nights, so we wanted somewhere central, so I would be safe walking back to alone and so that I wouldn't have to travel too far.
When arriving, it took about 10 mins before we could check in as there were 2 large groups of non-English speaking people trying to book rooms, but once we were served, it was quick and we were soon directed, via the lift, to our room.
The room itself was adequate, pretty good for that price in London. The double bed was comfortable with plenty of pillows and blankets. There was a huge wardrobe and plenty of drawer space, and a sink with a couple of towels and some toiletries. There was an chair with table, and an armchair. The room itself was a decent size - we weren't tripping over our stuff - and was clean. There room was decorated neutrally, with a really good print of a cartoon of London. There were a few scuffs in the paintwork, but for the price, it didn't bother me; I was just glad at how clean it was! The view was of the building next door, so a bit boring, but there was enough natural light. There was a telephone and a TV, with the usual UK 5 channels.
The bathrooms were pristine, as were the bedrooms - there seemed to be cleaning staff everywhere and they did a good job. The bathrooms were plentiful and really clean, so the saving we made by not having a bathroom was worth it.
The best bit tough is the location; it is literally two metres from Picadilly circus and the tube station. We usually end up staying miles out of central London, so it was nice to be in our room at 8.58 and shopping in Picadilly circus by 9am. It felt really safe when walking back there even when very late at night and alone.
In the hotel, there was a small 'fish and chip'/trad English cafe, a coffee shop, mock irish bar, internet terminals and a newsagents, with sweets and cigarettes. We didn't use them though as there was much more choice in the restaurants and shops in the area.
Checking out was also fine, and the staff were friendly and competent. We didn't have any need to have any communications with them apart from checking in and out, but there seemed to be plenty about, they were friendly and they spoke several languages.
During my hectic September, travelling to and fro on a quest for beer and music, we spent two days in London to go to the last concert in Rick Astleys UK Tour, meaning that we had to spend a night in a central London hotel. I must point out that the hotel was booked for us, paid for by Rick Astley (name dropper) and picked purely for its location rather than anything else.
Our friend Bob, who was visiting the concert with us, was given leave to book a reasonably priced hotel in the area around The Criterion Theatre ~ so he looked on the Internet and chose two double rooms and one single room at The Regent Palace Hotel.
~~~Where is The Regent Palace?
You will find the hotel just off Regents Street and Piccadilly Circus, overlooking the statue of Eros, and not far from Shaftsbury Avenue, Oxford Street and, of course, The Criterion Theatre. We travelled to London on the cheap bus service called Megabus (a return to London for £2.00 each plus a 50p booking fee), so we had to get to the hotel from Greenline Station (not far from Victoria bus station).
The nearest tube station to the hotel is Piccadilly Circus ~ we took the Victoria Line to Green Park and then the Piccadilly Line to Piccadilly Circus (it is also on the Bakerloo Line). When you come out from the Underground you can almost see the Regents Palace towering over you! (For other methods of reaching the hotel please go to http://www.regentpalacehotel.co.uk/htm/directions.htm)
~~~How much did we pay?
Well, once we get the money back it wont cost us anything! For now, we paid £59 pounds per room ~ this is the internet booking price for a double room with shower room, toilet and tea and coffee making facilities. Prices and rooms vary and many of the rooms do not have toilets or bathrooms (only include a washbasin and toilets and showers are shared between a few rooms).
There are 920 rooms, but please pick your room carefully if you want private facilities (Standard rooms have no facilities and Regent rooms have bathrooms). It also gets pretty busy during the week with business guests, so there may not be another room to swap to if yours isnt right.
~~~Check In & Check Out.
You cant check into your room until 2pm on the day of arrival and when you do, make sure you allow plenty of time to do so. There is a queuing system for the reception and you have to fill in a form with all your details before you join the queue ~ if you forget you may be sent to the back of the queue again too. As the hotel is pretty cheap for such a good location the reception was always very busy and the check in time was long and quite chaotic! We joined the correct queue and found some people were attempting to bypass the queue and sneak in from the other end ~ thankfully the staff usually noticed this and sorted them out!
We had a bit of an arduous time at the Reception desk ~ the girl didnt speak great English and was also a trainee. I felt quite sorry for her, but also got a bit fed up of waiting for her to ask how to do everything and for her to work out how to use the computer and the credit card machine! This wasnt the poor girls fault and she should have been adequately supervised and given correct training.
Check out is easy if you have already paid for your room. There is a box in reception so you just put your key cards in it and leave ~ SIMPLE!! Check out time on your departure day is a very reasonable midday too.
Once we had been given our key cards (two per room) we took the lift up to our room (we were only on the second floor but were very tired and had a bag each). On entering our room my first thought was that it had a funny lemon and disinfectant type smell.
The window was open and there was quite a lot of noise from the street below. This was fair enough, due to the location. Fair enough until we found out that the window wouldnt shut and we couldnt block out the sound. The room was also quite old and shabby looking, the telephone was precariously attached above the bed (but did work) and the bathroom/toilet was about the size of a portaloo!
I told reception about the window on the way out for a look round (I had to join the huge queue again to do this) and was told that someone would come and look at it tomorrow. As we were leaving tomorrow this didnt help us and we were told that we could move later but only to a room with no bathroom. No other help was offered and as we it was a warm night and we were only staying the one night we just let it lie.
I also found out during the night that although our room was non-smoking it was directly above a smoking floor and you could smell the smoke coming through from below when you went into the bathroom. The carpets were quite dirty and worn, the bed-linen threadbare (but clean), the wallpaper was also worn, the surfaces were a little grubby and the whole room had just generally seen better days. This was despite our rooms being the ones that had (apparently) been recently refurbished to add the private portaloo (sorry bathroom).
In the reception area there is a souvenir shop selling the ubiquitous Union Jack items and model London buses, etc. There was also an Irish bar called OCallaghans ~ this had entertainment and served drinks until about one am (and then kicked the drinkers out into reception to drink up! Food was provided by a café (called Café Nescafe), which also provided any room service you may require and a Harry Ramsdens Fish and Chip Restaurant.
We ate and drank outside the hotel, so didnt take advantage of the Breakfast Buffet either. There were plenty of places to eat and drink within easy reach ~ we had dinner at the nearby Aberdeen Steak House and lunch at the pub next door (serving Real Ale and a very reasonably priced lunch selection).
We also found there were vending machines on each floor ~ one for drinks and one for snacks in case you felt the need during the night!
There is a laundry in the hotel, as well as an ironing room and three reasonably sized (if a bit erratic) lifts.
Location wise, this hotel was ideal for our needs. It was also bearable (JUST) for a one night and a good price for such a centrally located place. I think I may have complained more if I had been staying longer (or wasnt getting my money refunded) but, from what I could see of other people complaining, there didnt seem to be much being done to help. There were quite a few customers waiting to see the manager too ~ and I dont think they were waiting to pay compliments!
It is probably true to say that you get what you pay for, but I do expect certain standards to be met. Although generally tidy, the rooms and communal areas just seemed grubby and tired. The Regent Palace hotel is a two star hotel, so I didnt go there expecting to be in the lap of luxury! That said, I did expect a decent level of service and help in sorting out problems.
So .if you want a decent(ish) budget hotel in a great place for visiting the tourist areas of London, and arent too bothered about comfort, then this is a nice choice. If you are expecting to have a late night and dont have trouble sleeping in a noisy location, then this is ALSO the right place to stay. If you want a nice hotel for a luxury, romantic break, then this is NOT the accommodation you should be booking. We enjoyed our stay and would probably even stay there again for the convenience and low price.
But .dont expect too much and check thoroughly you are getting the right room for your needs!
Regent Palace Hotel
1 Glasshouse Street