London is notoriously expensive, but a visit to the British capital doesn’t mean bankrupting your life’s savings. Here are a few of our favorite affordable London hotels, establishments that let you save money without compromising quality. (Prices shown are for two people in a standard double room in high season.)
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easyHotel. Crammed into a big white town house are 34 tiny rooms, all with a double bed, private bathroom, and little else. Each is brightly decorated in the trademark orange-and-white of the Easy chain. The idea behind the hotel is to provide quality basics (bed, sink, shower, and toilet) for little money. The concept is a huge hit — easyHotel is fully booked months in advance. Lexham Gardens. www.easyhotel.com. 34 rooms. Rooms range from £20–£40 per night.
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Colonnade. This lovely town house rests in a quiet, residential area known as “Little Venice.” From the Freud suite (Sigmund visited regularly in 1938) to the rooms with four-poster beds or balconies, you’ll find rich brocades, velvets, and antiques. It’s a former home, so each room is different; some are split-level. Warrington Crescent. 15 rooms, 28 suites. Rooms range from £130–£215 per night.
Guesthouse West. The goal of this hip hotel is to offer high-class chic at moderate prices. They almost get it right. The minimalist decor and technology — cool black-and-white photos and flat-screen TVs — are very stylish. Rooms, however, are truly tiny, and there’s no room service. The restaurant is child-friendly and packed with locals, and the bar is a beautiful homage to the 1930s. The hotel’s relationship with a local spa and restaurant provides guests with discounts. 163-165 Westbourne Grove. Rooms range from £150–£182 per night.
Bloomsbury, Holborn, and Islington
Alhambra Hotel. One of the best bargains in Bloomsbury, this family-run hotel has singles as low as £32 and doubles as low as £45. Rooms tend to be small and look dated, but they’re definitely good value. Some rooms have a private shower but no toilet (you share one down the hall); others have both. All rooms have a TV, all guests have access to free Wi-Fi, and tea/coffeemakers are available on request. It’s not fancy, but it certainly is cheap. 17-19 Argyle St. 52 rooms. Rooms range from £45– £60 per night.
Tavistock Hotel. This big, sprawling hotel off Russell Square makes for a convenient and affordable base to explore the British Museum and London’s West End. The rooms are small and simply furnished, but clean and quiet with tea and coffemakers. The hotel itself has plenty of amenities, including a relaxed bar and restaurant. It’s a bit old-fashioned, and won’t win any style awards, but it’s a solid option when money is an issue. Tavistock Square. 343 rooms. Rooms range from £60–£80 per night.
Mayfair, Marylebone, and St. James’s
Bryanston. This family-run hotel, a few blocks north of Hyde Park and Park Lane, is an option for budget travelers who want to stay in this pricey area. The public rooms in its three converted Georgian houses are decorated in traditional English style: open fireplaces, leather armchairs, oil paintings. The bedrooms, on the other hand, are small and bland, with a faded pink color scheme, creaky floors, and tiny, old-fashioned bathrooms. In light of this, the prices could be cheaper. 56-60 Great Cumberland Pl. www.bryanstonhotel.com. 81 rooms, 8 apartments. Rooms start at £120 per night.