London Hotels Articles

August 23, 2010

Hotel reviews: The Howard Winchester Hotel, London

This hotel is barely a minutes walk from Kings Cross station, making it well placed for public transport around the city. Fortunately it is situated in a quiet square that makes you completely forget how near it is to one of the busiest parts of the capital. From the outside I would say that this hotel certainly looks appealing; a couple of potted plants brighten up the doorway and everything looks to be well maintained.

At 60.00 a night for a double room with private facilities, this seemed good value to us; we needed to be in this area and we didn’t have much tome to really shop around. The room had been freshly cleaned and was comfortable. However, the receptionist was not inclined to be helpful when I asked for a non-feather pillow (I’m allergic to feathers), but I stood my ground and a synthetic pillow turned up. She said she’d send someone to the room with a fresh pillowcase, but no one came.

The bathroom (toilet and shower) was small but clean. There was only one mirror and that was in the bathroom and the cord of my hair drier and straightening iron wouldn’t reach. (I was in town for a wedding so this was important to me on this visit, when usually I wouldn’t have been too bothered). There was no window in the bathroom, but despite the extractor fan and keeping the door open, the mirror wouldn’t de-steam when I wanted to do my make-up!

While the dcor is nothing special in fact old fashioned isn’t far from the truth it certainly isn’t in poor condition. The color schemes are a little suspect in some areas of the hotel but everything is crisp and clean even if its not exactly stylish.

The fact that all the bedrooms have color TV did not compensate for my vanity traumas! We were on the ground floor, which turned out to be noisy in the early hours as people returned to their rooms so we didn’t sleep well. With some attention, the hotel could minimize the noise from banging doors and feet. There was also no fire notice displayed on the inside of the door, which concerned me a little. Although the hotel has “family rooms” I suspect that these are probable booked by small groups of partying young people than families with children. The fact that there was noise in the early hours suggests that the clientele were mainly people enjoying a night out in the capital.

Breakfast was served until 8.45am, which I thought was an early finish for a Sunday. It was small but tasty, though the coffee was very weak; a cooked English breakfast is served which is acceptable but will never win awards; there is no choice you just leave on your plate what you don’t want. There was also toast with preserves. We were chased from the dining room on the dot of 8.45am by the rather abrupt waitress; there didn’t seem any need for this and other guests seemed as surprised as we were to have to forgo the last piece of toast and get going.

On a more positive note, the staff allowed us to leave our bags there after check-out as we weren’t leaving until the evening. In fact other than the incident with the pillow I would say that on the whole the staff were efficient though not effusive. Staff do speak some Spanish, Italian and French.

Sleeping is the only thing you’ll be doing at this hotel; it’s nothing more than a place to rest your head and has no other facilities.

Despite all the niggles, I would stay at this hotel again. It is good value; after all, you don’t stay at this sort of place and expect the Ritz and all its trimmings. I would advise anyone though, to ask for a room that’s not on the ground floor unless you’re the sort that can sleep through an earthquake.

9 Argyle Square, London, WC1H 8AS

Tel: +44 (0)207 837 7930

Fax: +44 (0)207 83

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