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Planned Travel London



Land and staff costs are high, demand for rooms is strong, so it is no surprise that central London hotels are very expensive.

We divide our hotels into Boutique/Luxury – hotels with a particular style – Standard hotels , which cater for the mass market and business travellers and Small family run hotels – cheaper options, often owner-managed.

A word of caution:

  • Most top end hotels publish extremely expensive “rack rates”, the maximum that they can legally charge, but nearly everyone pays a lot less than these through direct negotiation, booking with a tour operator, or booking through web-based services. Many top-range hotels quote prices excluding taxes, you need to add 17.5% VAT on top of the rates they quote. In the price indications we quote, we have already included this. Breakfast is also usually extra, and can cost £10-15 if you take it in the hotel.
  • On the more positive side, out of the peak season (July-August) many places do special offers where you might get a 10-20% discount on the prices shown.
  •  Smaller hotels and cheaper hotels usually quote prices including VAT, often include breakfast , and offer limited room for negotiation on their published rates.
  • Finally, always check the rate the hotel will charge for using the phone before calling – this can be very high.

Luxury and Boutique Hotels: These come in a range of styles and prices and can represent good value or a fun part of your travel experience.  Since they are mostly relatively small, you won’t often find these offered by the likes of Expedia or Travelocity, or included in a package tour. They nearly all have good internet sites, with lots of pictures of their rooms. Since the styles vary enormously – not everyone would be comfortable in the ultramodern setting of the Sanderson for example – it is very important to check out the websites fully before booking.  All of this means that this guide is ideal for making a selection.   Prices also range enormously – but you can get a good place for around £100 to £150 if you are willing to stay a bit outside of the centre.  Sometimes the size and style of room can vary a lot even for a single hotel, so it is important to check direct with the hotel exactly which room you are getting.

Standard Hotels: By Standard hotels we mean hotels that cater for mass tourism, decorate their rooms neutrally, and which are typically larger than boutique hotels.  Room size, quality of fittings, facilities and location will all vary and all be reflected in the price.  These hotels will typically represent a functional, cost effective solution to lodging rather than an enriching part of your travel experience.

Typical rates currently are:

  • Basic Double Room, 3*** hotel :  around £80-100/night
  • Basic Double Room 4**** hotel:  around £100-150 / night
  • For a family room capable of sleeping two adults and two children, add £30-£60 to these rates.

Booking Options for Standard Hotels :

1- Online via web-based booking services: If you want to book hotels, we recommend

as some of the best internet search engines,  which will give you rates for a selection of hotels.  However, they won’t necessarily be any cheaper than booking direct with the hotel’s website.  These sites concentrate on the mid-range and very rarely cover the more interesting boutique hotels or the cheapest options.

2- Direct with Hotel Chains:

  • Hilton: have hotels all around London, including one in Islington (which otherwise has few hotel options).  Their discounted web rates did not look particularly generous to us on our visit.
  • IC hotels group: owns the Holiday Inn, Intercontinental and Crown Plaza chains. They have hotels almost everywhere in a range of styles and  prices.
  • Thistle: is a UK based group which again has hotels all around London.  They seem to discount heavily during off-peak periods on the website, so their site is worth a look.
  • Best Western: has places in the West End, Paddington, Belgravia and Kensington.
  • Marriott: has a number of places in Mayfair,  plus hotels in Marble Arch (near Paddington), Holborn (Bloomsbury), Kensington. They also have the Marriott County Hall on the South Bank, where some rooms have great views of the Thames (and the cost reflects this).   
  • Radisson: have hotels dotted all around the capital including a couple of good options in the West End (Covent Garden). 
  • Sheraton: have a range of upmarket hotels concentrated around Hyde Park corner and Knightsbridge, some rooms have nice views of the Park.

3- Budget Chains and Cheaper Options: For standard no-frills hotel accommodation, you can try:

  • Travelodge. This group has a range of hotels in different locations throughout London, and quote their best prices online. Rooms typically range from £50 to £100, although at very quiet times of year it is possible to get rooms as low at £30.  Some hotels have family rooms which are very cheap, but if your family is like mine you will need more space.
  • Premier Travel Inn. This chain has slightly more expensive offerings at £80-90, and varies its prices less according to the season. It has also has branches throughout the city.  Their best hotel by far is the one on the South Bank, in the former County Hall offices. Due to its popularity this one often books up well in advance.
  • Comfort Inn/Quality Hotel chain who also have locations around the city and are slightly more expensive again.

Smaller Hotels: There are hundreds of smaller hotels in London, offering rooms in the £50-100 price range – with clusters in the Kings Cross, Bloomsbury, Bayswater, South Kensington and Earls Court areas. Since they don’t have the marketing clout of the bigger chains – making a reputation from word of mouth and return business -  they often offer good value for money. They can also be more friendly and personal than the big chains. Finding direct links to such hotels is quite difficult due to the number of booking agency websites that infest the first pages of any Google search.  To get over this problem we have created our own listings, which you can find together with our interactive map of London. These contain DIRECT links to the hotel's webpages – we always prefer to book direct, rather than via a web booking service, since it removes any chance of mistakes in making a reservation, it is easier to make changes afterwards, and you can get an idea of the quality of the hotel from its website.


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