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A budget bed for the night, but mind you don't get annexed...
Travelodge London Covent Garden
Member Name: Alfettaman
Travelodge London Covent Garden
Advantages: Central location, clean, inexpensive, not too cramped, quiet for a London Hotel
Disadvantages: Rather gloomy room with small window, no internet access or phone, shower but no bath
My training work takes me to all sorts of locations and recently I've been running some courses for a public sector client based in central London. Their expenses budget was fairly tight, which left me with the dilemma of where to stay.
Having had some surprisingly good experiences with Travelodge in the past, I checked their website (www.travelodge.co.uk) and found the Covent Garden hotel which was just eight minutes walk from my client's offices - perfect!
Travelodge are clearly geared-up for the business client: booking online was quick and simple, and I received a rapid email acknowledgement together with an invoice. When I booked in July 2009 the price for the room (you can specify a twin or double) was £99 per night plus £6 per person for the breakfast buffet. This compares well to other budget hotels in central London and heavily undercuts many other hotels whose prices are often two or three times as much.
Parking & check-in:
I arrived on foot so didn't need to park a car, but the hotel does have some 'first come, first served' parking spaces accessed from High Holborn and charged at £15 for 24 hours. If you're planning on arriving by car, you also need to remember that Covent Garden is within the London Congestion Charge Zone.
There was a short queue to check-in, and the air conditioning in reception seemed to be struggling (so not a very pleasant wait on a warm July evening) but soon I was heading for my room. The hotel consists of a main building which includes reception and the 'café bar' and also an annex which is just a few metres away, across a small courtyard: I'd been allocated a room in the annex.
My first impressions of my room were mixed: about 3.5m x 4m, with a further narrow area to one side about 2.5m by 1m, and a modestly-sized shower room. The real problem with my room was that it had almost no natural light - just a tiny window (900mm wide by 300mm high) and even with all of the low-energy lighting switched on, it still felt quite dark and gloomy.
There's a desk with two power sockets, and facilities for making tea and coffee but there's no internet socket or telephone in the room, and no wireless internet access either.
The small shower-room had a large shower cubicle (but no bath) and everything seemed very clean and well maintained. There were no toiletries apart from a small shrink-wrapped bar of soap.
In my room, the wall-mounted flat-panel TV was visible from the bed, but not when you're seated at the desk. There's a small hanging rail, but no proper wardrobe or drawers, and overall storage space is very limited. My room was air-conditioned and you can set the temperature you'd like. It was surprisingly quiet (especially given that this is a central London location), the bed was large enough and comfortable, and I slept very well.
This Travelodge has a 'café bar' - essentially an informal restaurant. The menu is quite modest but if you're after a light evening meal and are too tired to head into town then maybe this will be all you want. At breakfast there was a good choice of hot and cold fare: toast, eggs, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, beans, cereal, fruit juice, tea, coffee, croissants and more, although the modestly-proportioned café bar can get quite busy.
Breakfast is served from 7am-10pm (8am-11pm at weekends and on bank holidays), and evening meals from 5pm-10pm. The quality of the food was better than I'd expected for the price, and an added convenience is that you can pre-book and pay for your meals online when you make your reservation.
Overall the standard of service was very good. The staff were clearly busy, but also seemed efficient, friendly and helpful. I really did get the impression that they wanted me to enjoy my stay, and were interested to hear my comments and suggestions.
Travelodge have positioned themselves carefully - and quite skilfully - towards the lower end of the business hotel market, and Covent Garden is no exception: with clean, simple, no-frills accommodation, good (enough) service and a good night's sleep, my experience was marred only by a poorly lit room and the absence of internet access.
Although I was in London on business, it struck me that this would also have been a great option if I'd wanted to treat my wife to a show, and avoid the hassle of a late-night train journey home. The hotel is set in the very heart of London's 'theatre land', is close to Holborn underground station, the British Museum, The Royal Opera House, lots of great places to eat and so many other city attractions.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that my four-star rating means that this is a four-star London hotel: but it probably is at least four-fifths of the way to providing everything you could reasonably expect from a hotel in this price bracket and at the centre of a major city.
(1) The rooms in the main hotel building have bigger windows and proper bathrooms (instead of just a shower) and the helpful staff suggested that next time I could book online but then also 'phone and specifically ask for a room in the main building, not the annex. Apparently some of the best and quietest rooms are on the second floor.
(2) The hotel is reached via a flight of steps from street level which may cause problems for some disabled people. That said, Travelodge claim that there is 'disabled access', but you might want to call them first to discuss your needs.
(3) I booked via topcashback.co.uk and got 3.25% discount, making this even better value for money.
Summary: A few flaws but good value basic accommodation and perfect for a night or two in central London
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