I was looking for a cheap, central hotel to avoid rail disruptions at Easter. I didn't start looking until Thursday night, for Sunday, so there wasn't a huge choice. The best deals were for the Travelodge chain. I booked the Waterloo Central branch for £77, via their own website and my credit card held the booking. The process was quick and simple. This particular branch has a bar-café so offered breakfast (including hot food) for an additional £7.95 per person. It also offered meals in the evening such as lasagne, burgers and pizza and seemed reasonably priced, with various deals and promotions.
The hotel is on Waterloo Road about 1/2 mile from Waterloo station. There are lots of small supermarkets on the way for supplies. The hotel is close to London Eye, Southbank and the Old Vic Theatre. Covent Garden and the West End shops would be about 2-3 miles away, or just a few tube stops.
Upon arrival I gave my name to the receptionist and she checked me in and took my money. I found her and the other staff member I came into contact with to be both friendly, polite and helpful. The reception area is light, modern and airy, it looked well-maintained and was certainly clean and tidy but rather bland and generally lacking atmosphere.
Two lifts in the lobby access the rooms, you will need your key card to access the corridor from the lift lobby. Our room was as expected: small and minimalist. The king size bed took up most of the room, with a small veneer desk, and open hanging space. Light switches were thoughtfully positioned and there were enough plug sockets for our needs. The room has a kettle and basic tea and coffee sachets – there is no fridge, so UHT milk. The room has a TV, supposedly with 17 channels. There is only 30 minutes free wi-fi, otherwise you need to pay for it. The room had a radiator in it, which was off. We were not cold in the room at any point.
The bathroom had a loo, sink with space for your wash-bags and a good sized shower. No toiletries are provided other than hand wash by the sink and a basic hair and body wash in the shower. We only had one towel set and I asked for more at reception when we went out, I would like it if they could put two sets in a double room anyway.
The room was well-maintained and clean, the bed was comfy, although I found the pillows a bit too 'buoyant'. There was no outside noise so we were not disturbed.
In city like London it will be one of the better value hotel chains, especially at short notice. The double room is small so not really ideal for people who want to spend time relaxing in their room, but for one night we were happy.
I booked this Travelodge for my recent stay in London purely based on the fact that it appeared to be quite central and it was new! It was opened on the 1st July and I believe it is the 400th Travelodge to be opened.
The hotel cost £120.00 for a Friday and Saturday nights stay in a double room. Whilst not the cheapest I have had a Travelodge room it wasn't bad in comparison to other hotel prices in London! This was based on a room only and we did not purchase breakfast though it is available for around £7.00 per person per morning I think.
On arriving at Waterloo Station we needed to walk to the far end of the main station towards where McDonalds and Café Nero were. There is a small escalator there and you need to go down there. You exit the station and will note there is a small Sainsbury's on the other side of the road and the Old Vic Theatre. You need to walk down the road for around five minutes. A noticeable landmark there is a London Ambulance station. The hotel is literally across the road from this. Another thing that stands out when you are walking to the hotel is that it is next door to a bright orange off license so if you can't see the hotel look for that! The actual road the hotel is on is Waterloo Road for if you do end up getting a bit lost.
When you arrive at the hotel there is no car parking facilities. I think this is the case with many Travelodge's though. It wasn't a problem for me as we used the train but for those of you who are driving there is a car park down the road but it does charge £24.00 for the day having just checked the Travelodge website.
Upon entering the hotel at around 3.15pm we were told we could check in using one of their check in machines. I explained that as I had booked two nights separately and wanted the same room for both nights that I might be best checking in normally. They assured me that I could check in for the one night on the machine and then come to the main desk.
To check in we had to input our surname and postcode in the machine. It came up with our details and asked did we want to add on breakfast. This is simply refused or accepted by using the touch screen on the machine. Once this is done the machine spits out your room key and room number and you would normally be free to go. However, as we had the two nights booked we went to the main desk too. We were told there that the second night wasn't on the system yet but that we needn't do anything and they would just assign it to us when it came on the system. The members of staff who did approach us seemed helpful and knowledgable which is always reassuring!
First impressions of the hotel were very good. It seemed relatively organised and clean-though at a week old I would expect it to be clean! There were two computers for internet access which you needed to purchase time on. There were chairs and then the bar area. We didn't purchase anything from the bar but I noticed people were asking for glasses with ice as it was 30 degrees and pretty stifling. There was also a drinks machine where you could pay 50p for a can of pop. This is quite a refreshing change from the bottle machines that cost you nearer to two pounds!
There were two lifts in the foyer near the bar. We took the lift to our room which was on the seventh floor. We had to use the key card to enter the floor, and then again to enter our room. Upon entering our room I first was struck by how small it was. There was literally a double bed, a tiny space for some clothes, a small desk and a long length mirror on the wall. The bathroom has a shower, toilet and sink. There was no lock on the bathroom door but no one could get in if you were on the toilet as your knees would stop them!!! The room however was very clean and we had been provided with a fan which was nice considering how warm the room was.
On the desk were various menu's. The majority of the food you had to eat downstairs but there were a few things such as pizzas and the like that you could go down and order and then take back to your room. We didn't do this at this hotel but I have done it at another Travelodge and it is a good option to have.
The bed had a thin quilt type and one pillow each. There was one spare pillow in the room but you could request extra from reception if you wanted them. There was also no hairdryer in the room but again you could request one if you wanted.
On our first trip out of the hotel the lift did try and close on me and squish me but I managed to get in unscathed!
It was very hot in the room so we did struggle to get a good night sleep but this is common for me wherever I go to be honest. There wasn't much noise at all which I have found in some of the other London Travelodge's and it was nice to not be able to hear much traffic noise and things.
Now back to the second night. Well we had been out all day, visiting the dungeons and then shopping on Oxford Street. Our feet were killing and we wanted to get back to the room so when we got back off we went with all our bags up to our seventh floor room only to find out the key card wasn't working! I wasn't very impressed with this and we had to go back down to reception. It turns out they had told me the wrong thing when they said I wouldn't have to do anything for our second night and that they needed to re activate our key card. This was only a small issue but one I wish I had known before I had gone up seven floors and tried to get in my room!
Check out was very simple-we had to pop our card in the hole in the reception desk and then we were free to go.
One thing to note is that the hotels doors lock at 10pm. We arrived back later than this both nights we were there but you can either buzz through to reception to be let in or you can slot your key card in a little reader by the door and that will let you in too.
Check in time is from 3pm and check out time is 12pm. You can pay £10.00 and have an earlier check in or a later check out time if you wish. Details of this are available on the Travelodge website.
I would recommend this hotel. I think it is close enough to Waterloo station to be a good starting point for your journey. If I was going to choose an ideal hotel for London travel I would say the Euston one simply because I travel into Euston and it is nice and easy but this one is a good alternative.
The hotel is within walking distance of The London Eye, The Aquarium, Big Ben and the palace and so it is great for tourists wanting to see the sights!