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Do ratings mean anything when looking for a London hotel?

Do ratings mean anything when looking for a London hotel?

Jan 16th, 2004, 05:25 AM
  #1  
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Do ratings mean anything when looking for a London hotel?

I'm trying to find a decent hotel in London for early June that isn't going to blow our budget, $150/night for a double. In most cities if you find a three star you feel pretty secure you have a good hotel. In London I have read reviews of three star places that give me nightmares. How do you find a decent hotel? I haven't been to London for several years, although have been to the UK, this must be why I've avoided staying there. We are looking for a place in Bloomsbury or South Kensington? I really don't want to pay for the entire stay before I get there, have already looked through Londontown.com. and not sure where to look now. I know there are good hotels out there, how do I find them? Help needed please. Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 05:56 AM
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My general rule is always subtract a star when considering London hotels. From my experience, a 3-star in London would be a 2 or 2.5 star in, say, Paris, Amsterdam or Rome. A 3-star room in London may be comparable in size to one in Paris, but the room probably won't be as nice. It's an even more pronounced difference between London and less expensive cities like Madrid, where 3 stars can be quite nice.
martytravels is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 06:09 AM
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I find that the only thing the rating guarantees is the price!
crepes_a_go_go is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 06:15 AM
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I don't know what you mean by "ratings." If you mean stars, remember stars relate to amenities (ie, elevator, restaurant, etc.) rather than "niceness." Your budget of $150/night could be a challenge for June with the current exchange rate. That means less than 100GBP/night (although the exhange rate could improve by then).

Your budget is doable but probably requires, as you point out, using a discount website that requires advance payment or perhaps a compromise on location. You could try searching for something on one of the discount websites & then contacting the hotel directly to see if they'll match the price ("I found availability on xyz website for $146/night. Could I book that rate directly with you? I feel more comfortable than using a 3rd party."). Many Fodorites report having success with doing that.

If that doesn't work, what I would do is book something cancelleable that comes close to what you want and closer to the date, consider lastminute.com, laterooms.com or maybe Priceline.

I wish there were a simpler answer for you but London has really gotten expensive for Americans.

BTW, would you consider an apartment? That could be less expensive. If yes, do a text search here for London AND apartments. The Oxbridge apts are mentioned often. No personal experience though.
mclaurie is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 07:12 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for the suggestions, I'm having some problems today with posting here but appreciate the advice. I try to avoid impersonal chain hotels but maybe in London that is the way I must go to keep within our $150 a night budget. I can get that price for a double at the Hilton Hyde Park but I really wanted something with more charm and character. Thanks again for the help. Deborah
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Jan 16th, 2004, 07:18 AM
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Try www.hotels-london.co.uk. They do not require advance payment and have quite a few listings in your price range.
pdxgirl is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 08:44 AM
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Check this link... thte apts are great prices. You may find something there. Just keep in mind that hotel rooms in the UK are SMALL. You may not want a chain but the Radisson Edwardian Grafton is a great hotel, nice rooms and nice quiet location but only 1/2 block from the tube. I have found that londontown will generally haev the best prices but the Radisson web site and has beaten them in the past (I worked a few hrs away from London for a few years and went into London for weekends). Good Luck !http://www.vrbotv.com/vrbo/14270.htm
mlh0500 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 09:05 AM
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We just got back froma trip to the UK and we stayed at the Thistle Royal Horseguards in London for three nights. I booked through londontown.com and you may be able to find a rate that will fit your budget through them. The hotel was wonderful. The rooms are not small, infact I think they're quite big. They are very nicely decorated, the beds are comfy, though softer than I'm used to, and the bathrooms are great! The restaurant in the hotel, though expensive,is also excellent. Everyone there was extremely helpful. The location was good for our needs and the hotel is just a block from the Embankment tube station. Not the area you specified, I know, but maybe worth a look.
Barbara is online now  
Jan 16th, 2004, 09:10 AM
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Generally, I agree with Martytravels. There are exceptions, but I go a little higher level there than I would be comfortable with in Paris in terms of ratings. Maybe that's what you were seeing as I usually book 3* but do 4* in London.

I don't think that should be impossible on Londontown, that's what I used in summer season and I didn't pay that much more for a nice double room at Millennium Bailey's. I think my rate was 120 pounds, but I got one night free out of five or something. I have no problem staying in a nice chain hotel like that, it can be a lot better than the alternatives. It had plenty of charm and character, I thought.

YOu don't have to prepay on londontown.
Christina is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 09:30 AM
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Priceline could probably beat that rate by a good bit for a 4* hotel. If you don't want to pay up front now, but are still willing to consider Priceline, I would make a reservation elsewhere that you can cancel. Then the week of your trip (or whatever) make your Priceline bid. If you failed with Priceline, you would still have your reservation.
WillTravel is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 11:11 AM
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thanks for all the great advice, guess I'll make a safe reservation in a chain type of hotel that's cancelable and then watch Londontown for something special and then consider priceline the last couple of weeks. Someday maybe I'll be able to take a trip and not have to watch the budget! Thanks again, Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 05:08 PM
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Milennium Bailey's can be got for $85 per night, and many 4* in London for $75. For my money it's not pay now or pay later; it's pay a reasonable amount now or much more than needs be later. Priceline will save you almost half if you bid it right.

I do find it odd, though, that there's still such resistance to the concept of online bidding for travel. It's almost as if there's some misguided badge of honor about paying more for something than is necessary. I'm not referring to you, Deborah Ann, but to people in general, including frequent travelers.
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Oct 20th, 2004, 06:55 PM
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KSWL -


The only problem with Priceline is that you don;t get to pick the hotel. I've looked at all of the London areas I'm interested in - and all are turning up one or more hotels that I would not be willing to stay in.

So, if your hotel requirements are quite flexible - you can save money. But if you want certain specific amenities or location (and I always do for an extended stay - vs an airport overnight) - Priceline is really useless.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 07:55 PM
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I find it odd that people continue to overpay to stay at overpriced hotels. I don't come to Europe to hang around a hotel room. Nor do I want a room with a view. To enjoy the view, you have to sit in your hotel room. I would rather be out enjoying my visit. I have plenty of places to choose from. Never have used Priceline, don't plan on using it.
rj007 is offline  
Oct 21st, 2004, 05:09 AM
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NY traveler, you should check out the process. You don't have to bid in areas you don't want--I think London has five or six separate areas, all well defined by maps. You choose the amenities by looking at the individual hotels they have on contract by star level ratings. If you only want the 5* in Mayfair, you bid for that only. I'm probably not explaining it very well, but the website biddingfortravel will walk you through the bidding process, and even help you with a bidding strategy.

BFT has a list of hotels Priceline uses in each level and each geographic area of every major city. They also have links to reviews of those hotels by priceline customers AND the hotel websites. In all instances of bidding I have known which three or four hotels we would be placed in, with about 99% certainty. I simply think it is ridiculous to pay $175 for a room that can be purchased for $85 or $90. If pre-paying is the problem, they do offer a $10 per night insurance. I don't take it, as I purchase trip insurance separately for everything. But there is also some security in purchasing a room at today's exchange rate; at least you know what it costs!

People who can't afford to pay far in advance should follow the strategy that another poster suggested: make cancellable arrangements for your stay, then as the time grows near, try Priceline. If you get your price within a few weeks of departure, surely by that time you will be financially prepared to foot the bill and you can cancel your previous reservations.

But there is a definite snobbishness about using priceline which is almost palpable on this board. I think it is ridiculous to have a poster, figuratively hat in hand, ask for suggestions for a "decent" room for $150, then have poeple bemoan the budget accomodations available for that price! Maybe it's not the "done" thing. Maybe all the priceline customers are just cheap. Or smart!
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Oct 21st, 2004, 05:19 AM
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kswl -
I tink you missed my point.

I'm not talking about bidding in areas I don;t want. What I said is that in all of the areas I do want - there are hotels coming up that I would not be wiling to stay in. And I'm not willing to risk getting the ones I do want vs those I don't.

So, for me, Priceline is way too much of a risk.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 21st, 2004, 05:34 AM
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kswl, You keep insisting that people look down on Priceline. Where are you getting that impression?

obxgirl is online now  
Oct 21st, 2004, 05:46 AM
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Prices are exorbitant but you can get some good deals - honest! I've found some good deals on expedia in the past, maybe give them a go?
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Oct 21st, 2004, 01:22 PM
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"kswl, You keep insisting that people look down on Priceline. Where are you getting that impression?"

I don't think its that people look down on Priceline. I think it has more to do with the fear factor - of not knowing exactly what they're getting. There is an element of risk that you need to be comfortable with if using Priceline. By doing research on www.biddingfortravel.com you can minimize the risk by knowing what hotels Priceline uses.

DeborahAnn, you might want to check out the Bonnington in Bloomsbury (www.bonnington.com. We've stayed there a couple of times and it's a nice, moderately priced hotel. Whichever hotel you select, compare the rates on their website as well as other sites like expedia or travelocity - you can often get better deals.

Kayb95 is offline  
Oct 21st, 2004, 01:45 PM
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Kayb, I agree and pretty much stated so above. I was just asking for a little more clarification from kswl who seemed pretty insistent that there's some class thing going on:

>But there is a definite snobbishness about using priceline which is almost palpable on this board.<

I was just curious where she got that impression.

I've stayed at the Bonnington. Not a bad place at all for nothing fancy. Great location. Just up the street from one of my favorite shops, Falkinker Fine Papers.
obxgirl is online now  

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