Once you’ve decided to take a break in London, one of the key things to do next is to book a hotel where you can rest your head after a busy day of sightseeing.
However, this can seem like a pretty daunting task with all the many types of accommodation on offer and various properties competing for your custom. How are you supposed to know which to choose in order to ensure you end up with the perfect finishing touch to your trip?
Actually, choosing a hotel needn’t be difficult as long as you have a plan and keep your needs firmly in mind when you’re browsing through possibilities. Remember that a hotel can make or break your holiday and make the difference between remembering it fondly or looking back in horror, so do take a little time to make your selection instead of diving straight in.
Here are a few tips and things to consider when choosing the perfect hotel for you.
Although you’re probably familiar with aggregator sites such as Booking.com and Expedia, it’s still worth going directly to a hotel’s own website to get a good deal. Although they are legally required to match prices offered by the online travel agents, they can still offer packages that might represent better value – such as a spa break if you’re on a girly holiday, for example , that includes treatments as well as accommodation.
Use the aggregators to find your list of possibilities, then enter the names into a search engine to take you straight each hotel’s own website to browse amenities, prices and more.
Location is an absolutely key thing to keep in mind when looking for a hotel, whether that’s in London or anywhere else in the world. You might find a great property with all the facilities you need, but it’s no good if it’s 50 miles from all the attractions you want to visit – it’ll cost you a fortune in transport and will also eat into your valuable holiday time.
When you’re planning your holiday, have a look on a map at all of the places you want to visit at your destination and then do an internet search for hotels in close proximity to as many of them as possible. You can then rule out those too far away and make a shortlist of ones in good locations.
It might be worth spending that bit extra to get a hotel room that’s close to the city centre.
If you’re simply looking for a hotel that will act as somewhere to crash out following a long day of sightseeing, then you might not be too bothered about it having all the mod cons, which is fine – seek out something clean but basic.
On the other hand, if you see having a luxurious hotel as a key part of your holiday, then take the time to really do your research and find out what different properties have to offer. Some might offer free Wi-Fi, while others are proud of the fact that they have a high-tech gym for guests to use any time they like.
A good point is to make sure that your hotel offers good concierge or reception facilities. Some smaller properties close their reception desks after a certain time, which can cause all kinds of headaches if you need to check in when it’s unmanned.
Good hotels should have staff on hand no matter what your arrival time, so look for this when you’re drawing up your shortlist.
Peer reviews are a key part of choosing hotels today since so many aggregator sites publish them. It is worth reading online ratings, as it will help you to see if certain hotels will meet your needs, but do be wary of the extreme ones – don’t let them put you off in every case.
Some travellers are very picky and you should be able to see by looking at a cross-section of several reviews if theirs is accurate or not. For example, if it’s just a case of one person thinking the dining room smells like cabbage, then don’t rule out the hotel in case it’s ideal and one reviewer was just particularly hard to please!
If you’re travelling as a couple, your needs are likely to be very different than if you’re travelling as a family, so remember to bear this in mind when making your hotel selection. Consider if there are places to park pushchairs or facilities for heating up bottles of formula or food at the breakfast table, as well as things like whether or not cots or kids’ beds are available.
Suggestion – where to stay in London
If you’re visiting London and looking for a hotel near some of the major tourist attractions, then be sure to take a look at the Park Grand London Kensington Hotel. This boutique accommodation is ideal for people travelling on business, as well as families and couples on city breaks, and it offers a combination of comfort, convenience and friendly service.
It is just a two-minute walk from Earl’s Court Tube station, so it’s really easy to get from there to other parts of London too.