Central London has some of the best Hotels in the World, but until very recently finding somewhere decent to stay on a budget was always a bit of a mission.
If money was tight you had two choices; share a room with half a dozen drunk Australian backpackers or stay in Hammersmith’s equivalent of Fawlty Towers, complete with panoramic views of the fly-over, a lumpy mattress and your Nan’s favourite nightmare-inducing wallpaper.
Thankfully over the last few years, London has seen the proliferation of ‘Budget, Chic-Boutiques’ (or Budg-ic’s? ), budget hotels that offer comfy beds, style and great value for money. Qbic in Shoreditch is a good one and now we have the recently opened Motel One in Tower Hill, centrally located between Aldgate and Tower Hill tube stations and just up from the Tower of London. Prices start from £98 per night for a single, with a double room just £113.
Tower Hill, London is the latest UK location for the German based Motel One, the others being in Edinburgh (2), Glasgow and Manchester and the brand are opening new Hotels all across Europe. They seem to have hit on a winning formula and as I was in town I thought I should along and check it out.
Motel One has that rare thing, a Hotel foyer area and bar that you want to actually hang out in. Open 24hrs a day, with it’s sparkly lampshades, über cool fireplaces, Chesterfield sofas and soft lighting it works really well as a meet-up place, comfortable and functional (without being pretentious either). With a huge selection of Gins, the bar is also a great location to carry on the party before heading upstairs to your room.
Space in the rooms is at a premium, but facilities are good and the only noticeable absence is a wardrobe; instead there are clothes rails, not such a hardship especially if you are only staying for a night or two.
The bathroom is small and there is no bath, but there is a gorgeous granite and glass shower which is really luxurious and shames many other Hotels further up the food chain. On the wall is a funky flat screen LOEWE digital TV and there is a small movable desk available to work from. My room right at the top of the Hotel had some fabulous views over to Tower Bridge and the London skyline beyond.
So-called ‘budget hotels’ often try and claw back their money from you in other ways, eg, charging for Wi-Fi and pay coffee vending machines at the end of the hall, at Motel One Wi-Fi is free for everyone and you even get a small kettle and brewing up facilities in your room. You won’t however see any of those little packets of biscuits next to the teacups (I know, I can feel your heart sinking), but hey nothing in life is perfect.
Buffet Breakfast is the only option available in the morning, however the coffee, pastries, bagels and cooked meats are excellent. Although £9.99 might be a tad dear especially if you are trying to save every penny, there are plenty of other choices nearby if you want to head out for a good old English heart-attack on a plate. Check out is not til 12pm so if you’ve had a late night you can always head back to bed for an hour or two.
I was really impressed with Motel One, it’s clean modern, comfortable, chic, well located and fantastic value for money. Something you won’t notice if you arrive in the daytime is when the sun goes down on the outside of the building they have this funky lighting thing going on. Very bling and a million miles from Nan’s wallpaper.
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London EC3N 1Q