My blog is a fit neither with luxury nor with budget travel. I do both I guess. Given my druthers I’d probably opt for luxury, not only because of the comfort but because I like my privacy and to have a certain amount of quiet when I work. This year I’ve frozen my toes in a female dorm in York, and stood gaping at the guy who brought me a complimentary bowl of fruit in one of London’s posher hotels. I like both places – a lot – I like the diversity. Best place I slept this year? Honestly? A cave!
Certainly one way to balance the need for quiet with the need for economy is to rent an apartment, as I wrote last month, otherwise, it isn’t that easy. Hostels don’t give you much privacy, and hotels are expensive, especially in London. However I found a wee place in Bow which ticked lots of my boxes for budget travel.
After staying in the apartment which HomeandAway.co.uk had kindly arranged, I had three nights leftover before my return flight. My son was living in Bow and on the off-chance called into a small place right next to the DLR Station where he alighted each evening……and he approved it for my use……well, you know how protective sons can be!
The City Stay Hotel on Bow Road turned out to be perfect for what I needed. I’d never, frankly, write anything I didn’t think to be true, but, as it happens, I never mentioned to them that I blog, so this post was not solicited, nor even mentioned. From the outside it looks like an old-fashioned boarding house! Inside the narrow entrance it was quietly chaotic, but the welcome was very friendly, and despite me being early the room was ready, and I could leave my luggage.
The hotel is something like a cross between a hotel and a hostel. Downstairs there is a kitchen (which I didn’t use as I was eating out with family all the time), which is stocked with breakfast items like cereals, milk, butter, bread etc and it’s open until 11am, so you just go and help yourself.
My room, though tiny, was absolutely spotless. Let’s face it, when you stay in budget accommodation the first preoccupation is, “Is it clean?” It passed by a wide margin. The little shower room likewise, and the shower pressure was fine, with plenty of hot water. Despite its size there was plenty of room for my stuff, and it was neither too hot, nor too cold. There was even wifi in the room, so my need to work in peace would have been fully catered for had I not given the weekend over to fun! And, something not always found these days, complimentary soap and shampoo!
Cost? £50 per night, compared to £40 per night the last time I stayed in a private room in a hostel in an English city (and that wasn’t even London!). So £10 extra for breakfast, privacy, wifi in the room and a private bathroom. If I’m going to pay £40 I would just as soon pay £50 for the extra convenience. Come to think about it, the week before I’d paid something just over £40 in York for a small hotel room which did not deliver the wifi in the room it promised, for which I’d paid an additional £10 for 24 hours and which I had to use in the noisy bar.
As well as being smack bang next to the DLR station (no noise in the room btw) the hotel is only a few minutes walk to the Tube Station, so handy for all amenities (as I used to write when I was in real estate! *shudder*). I appreciate this isn’t even “budget” by some standards (even my own at times), but I thought it decent value for London, and that they deserve a plug.