Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Mayfair/Soho or Hackney/Bethnal in London..

Mayfair/Soho or Hackney/Bethnal in London..

Oct 3rd, 2010, 06:55 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 288
Mayfair/Soho or Hackney/Bethnal in London..

Hi, We are spending 1 day in London. On hotwire we can get a

5 star for $189 - Mayfair/soho
5 star for $139 - Hackney/Bethnal

Where should we stay? We are not interested in seeing/doing any of the tourist sites. We live in NY and are looking for a real neighbourhood to walk/see/eat..

suetibu is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2010, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 302
I stayed in Mayfair when I visited London in May. I loved it there, lots of restaurants and an easy walk everywhere. Mayfair is a very upscale area. I can't speak to Hackney/Bethnal. Are these areas central in London? I don't recall either neighborhood during my stay. Enjoy your trip.
elcon is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2010, 07:37 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,065
Bethnal is a formerly nasty area now undergoing some gentrification but for a vacation for 1 day I certainly wouldn't stay there. Altho Mayfair is very upscale we found lots of shops and cafes where locals hang out.
mztery is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2010, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,926
I'd bet it means Bethnal Green/Hackney -- if so it is on the Central Line and not all that inconvenient to central London.

But a LOT depends on where you are coming from (airport or train station)

If LHR -- then Soho would be 10000000% more convenient.
janisj is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2010, 08:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 288

thank you. We would be coming from cambridge (drop car off in cambridge/ drive into london and drop off).

We will however be heading to LHR the following morning (late).
suetibu is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2010, 09:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,926
"drop car off in cambridge/ drive into london and drop off"

OK - which is it? Drop car in Cambridge or drop car in London?

But in any acse, driving in from Cambridge makes very little sense. Drop the car in Cambridge and take the train to London. Trains go to either Kings Cross or Liverpool street stations.

Liverpool Street is on the Central line so convenient for Bethnal Green. But pretty much inconvenient to LHR.

Kings Cross is on the Piccadilly line which is convenient to both soho and LHR.
janisj is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2010, 10:06 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,343
hackney bethnal green

both cover very wide and highly variable areas (even without the typical neighbourhood exaggeration often employed when talking about hotels or flats).

if this site won't tell you the exact hotel until later, then i would pick mayfair/soho as it's less risky (although obviously more expensive). if you know the hotel, then please tell us.

neither areas really stack up when comparing to nyc's best 'real' neighbourhoods, however. soho at first glance feels like it's got all the right sights and sounds then you realise that nobody really lives there and it's just a party pad for out of towners and others. be careful not to fall asleep as you walk around mayfair. nice buildings but deserted and hardly feels like a neighbourhood with a rich fabric of vibrant people.

hackney/bethnal green is nearly impossible to simply characterise as it varies greatly across the areas. it contains some trendy parts newly occupied by city boys looking for close in housing. it also has vast swathes of not so dense areas that hardly make for interesting roaming. some pretty decent vietnamese restaurants in hackney but not really part of a cohesive neighbourhood. and many parts of this area are not so easy to get to. in short, it could be pretty good but it could also be quite a poor location to stay, depending on where the hotel is located.
walkinaround is offline  
Oct 4th, 2010, 01:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,692
I find it hard to think of any 5-star hotels in Hackney or Bethnal Green.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Oct 4th, 2010, 03:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 943
Town Hall Hotel and Apartments maybe?

walkabout is offline  
Oct 4th, 2010, 03:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,654
I know the hotel in Bethnal Green (there's only 1 hotel of that grade in the area) - fantastic new hotel but on a very grotty/busy road with not much in the immediate vicinity except low rent kebab shops and a probation office. I wouldn't stay there (and I live about 1 mile away).

Mayfair is bang in central London and won't give you a neighbourhood feel it sounds like you want. But it would be well located if you're only in london for 1 night.

Sorry, that wasn't much help.
Kate is offline  
Oct 4th, 2010, 04:02 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,654
Walkabout - that's the one. Whoever owns the hotel has made a very brave move in opening it. They are obviously trying to cash in on the trendy stuff that's going on in the area - it's not far from the foodie market on Broadway Market and the Columbia Road flower market, plus there's a few great resdtaurants starting to open up, such as Bistrotheque, but I think they've got their location wrong. It's on a road that many people wouldn't fancy wandering about late at night.

It also has an outrageously expensive restaurant - Viajante - which even I baulk at, and I love dining out.
Kate is offline  
Oct 4th, 2010, 04:13 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
you can most always decipher the identity of the hotwire hotels using www.betterbidding.com's hotwire hotel list if anyone has received it in the past and bothered to post so.

Last Minute Travel also has "hidden "hotels you can decipher with another system very well explained on www.betterbidding.com.
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 4th, 2010, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,154
"looking for a real neighbourhood to walk/see/eat.."

...is almost incompatible with staying in a hotel.

No doubt someone will think of some more exceptions, but I'm struggling to think of any remotely decent hotels (apart from the Islington Jury's and Hilton) in what I'd call a real neighbourhood*. I certainly wouldn't include the Town Hall Hotel in any list of real neighbourhoods: it's practically in an urban desert.

If you accept the consensus here that Mayfair and Soho aren't "real" neighbourhoods (not sure everyone would agree, but...), you're mostly left with tourist ghettoes (like Bloomsbury, Earl's Court, Gloucester Rd, Covent Garden, Bayswater and Victoria) where hotelisation and foreigners' London pads have driven full-time residents out.

There's a deceitful fad among hotels of attaching "real neighbourhood" suffixes, like Maida Vale or Notting Hill, to hotels that are miles away from where they imply they are. But, generally (and subject to other posters' bright ideas), I'd say you have to rent a flat to be in a "real neighbourhood"

*"Real neighbourhood": An area dominated by houses or flats whose inhabitants live and work in London. A hotel in such a neighbourhood must be on a street full of shopfronts that are almost all trading as shops, pubs, restaurants or other actively used public amenities (churches, betting shops and dole offices count.) The area must be visually OK, or at least interestingly seedy. Within 3 miles of the centre, Islington, Chelsea, Brixton, Camden Town and the bits of Marylebone south of the Euston Rd qualify. Anything on the Euston and Marylebone Roads themselves doesn't qualify. Nor, goes most opinion on this board, does Paddington, though I disagree.
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 4th, 2010, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,654
You might want to consider somewhere like the Malmaison in Clerkenwell. Clerkenwell is more business than residential, but very vibrant, being one of the centres of the design industry. Lots and lots of bars and restaurants to wander around and particularly buzzy during the week (day and evenings). Not too far from the centre either.

Malmaison is a smallish chain of contemporary boutique hotels.
Kate is offline  
Oct 4th, 2010, 08:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,654
Another idea would be the Hoxton Hotel in, well, Hoxton.

Hoxton/Shoreditch is a bit like the lower east side - all bars, boutiques and designers living in warehouses. It's urban and therefore scruffy, but definately 'real' and very buzzy. The hotel itself is on a plain busy street, but meander of the main thoroughfare and there's loads to see. The White Cube gallery, home to many of the 90s Brit artists, is on Hoxton Sqaure, you're right by Brick Lane (curry restaurant and retro clothing central), Whitechapel (Jack the Ripper tours a plenty) and Spitalfields market - the old fruit market which has been converted into a restaurant/retro clothing mecca.

The Hoxton (and the Malmaison I mentioned before) is a contemporary style hotel at pretty reasonable prices. But they both book up very fast as a result.
Kate is offline  
Oct 4th, 2010, 09:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,926
Kate makes some decent suggestions -- the problem is you are trying to use hotwire and therefore can't select a hotel.

Sooooo - either book a hotel directly, and pick one in a 'cutting edge' neighborhood. But it won't be a 5 star @ £85

-- OR --

Go w/ the hotwire place in Mayfair/Soho.
janisj is offline  
Oct 4th, 2010, 02:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 288
Thanks everyone.Very informative. I will look into hoxton and malmaison or book with hotwire for mayfair. Thank you.
suetibu is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:29 AM.