“ Address: 18-24 Swinton St / London / WC1X 9NX / England „
My cousin, Claire, wanted to go to London for her 30th birthday and she invited me to join her for the trip. We wanted a cheap, basic hotel and found this one on the internet (through a friend who lives in London). We booked a triple room (for my 2 cousins and I) and stayed for 3 nights (Friday-Monday) a couple of weeks ago.
The Swinton Hotel is located on Swinton Street, approximately a 5-10 minute walk from King's Cross station.
~ Check in ~
We arrived in London at 9am on the Friday morning and headed straight to the hotel, in the hope that we would at least be able to leave our bags there until later. The man on the check in desk was very friendly and as there had been no one in our room the night before he told us we could go straight there. The check in process was simple and he charged my cousins credit card on arrival. He gave us the key to our room (an actual key, not a card) and told us where we needed to go.
The reception area was small and well lit. There are two 2 seater sofas and a table with magazines near the window (we sat here and waited for our taxi as it was warmer than outside!). There was also tourist information located in the reception area.
~ Room ~
Our room was located in the basement so we needed to go down one flight of stairs from the reception. My first impression of the room was good; there was a double bed, single bed and a camp bed on the floor (this was too low for any of us to want to sleep on so my cousins shared the double bed, and I had the single). On further investigation of the room, we discovered a walk in cupboard which had a rail for hanging clothes on and a counter with a tea and coffee making facilities.
The bathroom was really small; it had a toilet, sink and shower cubicle. There was a step up to the bathroom from the main bedroom, and before we opened the door we thought it was a cupboard!
My cousins and I all LOVE tea! Therefore, the first thing we did after putting our bags down and taking our coats off, was boil the kettle for a brew! I offered to make the tea and everything that I needed was all in the walk in cupboard (apart from the water which I got from the sink in the bathroom!). I made 3 cups of tea, but after I put the long life milk in, I noticed there were a few little white bits floating in the cups, I used a teaspoon to fish them out and decided to see what it tasted like. I gave my cousins their cups (and told them about the floating white things) and put mine down on the bedside table. Kirsty put her cup next to mine, and while I was wiping the surface down in the cupboard, I heard a 'crash!' I went back into the room to see Kirsty, standing next to the bed staring at the floor... where there was now two empty cups, my trainers and the top of the table, lying there soaked in tea! The table top had just fallen off the table!
Once Kirsty got over the shock of burning her foot, we were able to help her clean it up, and my other cousin Claire offered to make us both another cup of tea after she finished drinking hers. This time however, there were lots and lots of white things floating round the cup, and the tiniest little sip of tea, I realised that the milk was sour! We gave up on having a cup of tea and went for a walk (and brought some fresh milk back from one of the corner shops).
We didn't complain about the milk as we were worried we might just get more sour milk in it's place so decided to keep buying fresh milk instead (the cupboard was so cold that the milk stayed fresh throughout our stay).
The beds were comfortable and someone came in and made them each day, and left clean towels for us.
There was a TV attached to the wall in the room (next to the window, which looked up and out onto the street). I don't know if the TV worked as we weren't in the room long enough to find out, as we basically just slept there and got dressed to go out!
There wasn't a lot of space in the room to keep our clothes, so apart from hanging our dresses up we mainly lived out of our suitcases.
The décor was minimalistic, with nothing (other than the TV) on the walls, and the bedding was plain white. It wasn't the most attractive room I've ever stayed in but it was clean and comfortable.
There was a hairdryer and mirror in the bedroom and a mirror in the bathroom. We decided that the room wasn't designed for 3 young ladies getting ready for a night out as we found we fighting over the mirrors! (the one in the bathroom steamed up as soon as someone had a shower so wasn't suitable for use for ages later!). We managed to get ready without falling out though! :-)
~ Breakfast ~
Breakfast was included in the price of the room, and we went upstairs for it each morning. (We almost missed it on the Sunday, waking up with just 20 minutes to spare! But they let us in no problem). Breakfast was continental, with a choice of tea or coffee, and white or brown toast, on arrival. This was served to the table, and then there was a choice of cereals, fruit juice, bread buns, croissants, ham and cheese (sliced cheddar) which you could go and serve yourself.
~ Staff ~
All the staff were friendly and helpful and they really made the stay enjoyable. The staff in the breakfast room were lovely and the receptionists were always helpful (giving us directions, phoning for taxis etc when we asked). The reception was 24 hours and the attitude of the staff was as lovely at 3am after a night out as it was during the day.
~ Check out ~
We checked out on the Monday morning and left our luggage with the staff, they locked it in the breakfast room, and we collected it later that day before going for our train. This was really useful as it meant we got to do some last minute shopping without having to trail all our bags with us! Check out was simple with no problems and mainly consisted of us handing the room key over (we paid on arrival).
~ Location ~
On the Saturday of our trip I was reading my travel guide on London and read that King's Cross is an area known for drugs and prostitution. This worried me slightly, especially as we were out late every night. However, the taxi drivers always dropped us off right at the hotel door and I didn't see anything that was a cause for concern (day or night).
We were within easy walking distance of the train station where got the tube into the centre of London each day.
There were lots of little shops located near the hotel (where you could buy food and drink etc) as well a couple of bars (we didn't go to any of them though). There's a McDonalds and Tesco express near Kings Cross station too.
There didn't seem to be much to see or do around the hotel but it was easy to get public transport to where there was more to see. We got taxis back to the hotel after our nights out (and these were rather expensive!) I don't have any concept of where we were in relation to the hotel when we got in the taxi though (distance wise), though we never seemed to be in the taxi for more than 15 minutes (and the taxi was at least £20!) I expected to pay a lot for a taxi in London though, so this wasn't really a huge concern.
~ Cost ~
We paid £99 per night for the three of us (£33 per person), for a weekend in February (Bed and Breakfast). Prices and availability details are available on their website www.swintonhotel.com.
~ Advantages ~
*Clean and Comfortable
*Cheap and cheerful
*Good shower (powerful and hot)
*Tea making facilities (plus biscuits!)
*24 hour reception
~ Disadvantages ~
*Bedside table collapsed within 5 minutes of us being in the hotel
*Sour long life milk!
*Lack of space to store clothes
*Décor was minimalistic
*Not much of a view from the room
~~ Overall ~~
This hotel is not without its faults, however I would still recommend it and I would return if I ever need a place to stay in London again. It's not the best hotel I've ever stayed in but it did the job; it provided us with a warm, comfortable place to sleep between our sightseeing and nights out at a price we could afford!
If you are looking for a comfortable nights sleep, in an affordable place in London then the Swinton Hotel is certainly worth considering! If you are looking for a bit of luxury, look elsewhere.
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