The global economic crisis has seen hotel rates fall by up to 10% in London. That means there are some great deals out there – you just need to find them. The type of deal you get depends on your preferences, so we’ve broken down some of the options:
Theatre and Hotel packages
Westendtheatre.com has negotiated rates with a range of hotels across London to combine with our great value theatre tickets. These packages make it easier than ever for you to see a show in London and stay in a comfortable hotel. See more information on booking our hotel and theatre packages here for all the major London shows.
Book a flight and hotel package
There are savings to be made by booking a flight AND Hotel together. Flight agents have direct relationships with the airlines and hotels and often provide good value packages. Top flight and hotel agents include Ebookers and Discount Hotel Reservations.
The right hotel
The star system in the UK is a useful and trusted guide to gauging the venue’s facilities but doesn’t always help to find something of quality within your price range. Turn to sites such as Tripadvisor to read about people’s experiences in specific hotels in London. Also Hotelchatter features everything related to hotels and lodging around the world including hotel deals and reviews, which celebrities are staying where and hotel industry news.
Big international sites like Hotels.com, Discount Hotel Reservations and Ebookers have big buying power so do a good job negotiating discount room rates. However, it’s always worth double-checking with the hotel’s own website in case they are running a deal or promotion running.
Big hotel chains that have multiple hotels in London include:
- Accor Hotels (which include the Ibis, Sofitel, Novotel and Mecure chains)
- Best Western Hotels
- Hilton Hotels
- Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotels
Luxury five-star hotels in London that may have deals running include:
Be careful when booking rooms that are ‘On Request’ – which means that the website checks availability manually with the hotel and comes back to you. This can be irritating if you have to wait to hear from them whilst missing out on cheap deals elsewhere. Try and always go for ‘instant confirmation’ bookings.
Top Secret Deals
Discounts can also be found through Top Secret Hotel deals from sites such as LastMinute.com. They will give you the star rating of the hotel and a general guide to the facilities but you won’t know the hotel name or where it is. This can sometimes be a big gamble in London – which is a city spread out over quite a large area. That said, most of the swankiest hotels in London are very central – so it can be a great way of saving money at the top end of the market. Also, to minimise the mystery and practice your best Sherlock Holmes impersonation, google the hotel description before you book to try and work out which hotel it might be, or look up the amenities on Betterbidding.
You can also bid for hotel rooms with websites such as Priceline, using its Name Your Own Price tool. Like Top Secret Hotels, you don’t get to know which specific hotel you are booking but do get to choose the area and star rating. You have to agree to pay immediately if your bid is successful.
It’s sometimes worth checking out websites designed for visitors travelling to other countries to check out London hotel deals. For example Agoda, Wotif and Asiarooms all provide London hotels – occasionally at great rates.
Cheap and Cheerful
If hotels are out of your league in London then try some cheaper alternatives:
Camping – yes London does have campsites, although it’s a brave person who attempts this in winter. UKcampsite lists a range of sites – some only a short journey to central London.
Stay on a friendly couch: why not crash on someone’s sofa – and return the favour – all for free with Couchsurfing and their worldwide network of hosts. Also Airbnb lists people who will let you stay in their spare room for money.
Rent a flat: Sometimes it’s more civilised – and cheaper – to have your own space, and be able to cook your own food. London is notoriously expensive for eating out, so renting a holiday flat could be a good option. Try Homeaway or Holidaylettings for hundreds of options.
Travelodge is a UK wide chain that offers some great deals on its London hotels (especially if you book in advance) – and they are expanding fast. Current locations include Tower Bridge, Covent Garden and Euston.
Easyhotel: the EasyJet company has five hotels in London: Earl’s Court, Heathrow, Paddington, South Kensington and Victoria.
Student accommodation and Bed & Breakfasts: many of the capital’s universities let out student rooms in holiday periods. Plus there are a number of B&Bs across the capital. Check out Travelstay.
By Paul Raven.
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