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A House Trip or a Hotel – where to stay in London:
While I haven’t lived in London all my life, I was born here and I’ve spent most of my adult years here. I know I am lucky to have ready access to theatres, galleries, great restaurants and even free street entertainment. One thing I don’t often do is need to stay in hotels or apartments, though I guiltily enjoy staycations because I know I won’t need to cook, clean or wash-up. That doesn’t stop my friends and family from asking me where to stay when they are visiting and to be honest it’s quite a tough question.
Of course if you have the budget to indulge in one of London’s five star hotels, it’s very easy. But, for the most part they are based in the centre of town and it’s questionable whether you’ll actually get to see much of ‘real London’ if you are staying on Park Lane or the Strand. Quite often they are part of international chains too, and whilst that’s a guarantee of a certain quality standard it does mean that the hotels are likely to lack individuality. A few notable exceptions include Sofitel St James and St Ermin’s Hotel. There are some great boutique hotels though. I rather like the Draycott Hotel just off Sloane Square and Cannizaro House in Wimbledon which has just announced that it’s been acquired by the Hotel du Vin group. And, while I haven’t stayed there yet, Malmaison in Charterhouse Square is a fun option too.
Another option, particularly if you are travelling with your family or with friends and need more than one bedroom, is to look at Housetrip or a similar holiday apartment company. For me the advantage is that you can stay in what I know as ‘real London’. Of course you can be posh and stay in Mayfair or Knightsbridge – but at a fraction of the price of hotel rooms. And, if you want to explore funky Shoreditch, cool Notting Hill or charming Maida Vale, Housetrip can help. If you or your family have special diets or simply prefer home cooking for some or all of your visit, then most of the apartments offered by companies like Housetrip come with well fitted kitchens.
So don’t forget if you are staying in London that you have a choice of a hotel or apartment. Companies like Housetrip.com provide apartments right the way across London, so why not explore and stay in some of the more unusual parts of town. Housetrip even worked with locals like me to produce a whole series of guides to off-the-beaten-track parts of London, including places like Southwark where I live. You can read more in the series of London guides.