The St Giles Hotel London – bed factory or vfm?
I really got let down by friends. I was travelling into the UK from the Middle East and was supposed to spend the night at their house before catching my onward flight from Heathrow the following day. As I was leaving the hotel in Dubai they messaged to say they were working late that day and would have to pass on the reunion.
I unpacked my iPad and quickly went to the London-Hotels.co.uk price comparison site and with the taxi waiting outside, I booked the St Giles Hotel at £88 for a double bedroom.
As I was arriving into Heathrow at 2 pm and not flying out until 1 pm the following day, I did not really want to stay at the airport, preferring to go into the central areas. I knew that the St Giles Hotel was in a very convenient area for access from Heathrow using the Piccadilly Line into central London.
I also knew that it was a huge hotel with 700+ bedrooms and that with the low price it would probably be a “bed factory” with noise through the night. It was with trepidation and a somewhat unenthusiastic attitude that I set off to the airport and London.
An uneventful flight for 7 hours and a quick transfer into central London on the Piccadilly Line from inside T5 got me to the hotel in around an hour. Being lazy, I took the tube direct to Covent Garden and then jumped a cab to the hotel. The total trip cost me under £13.
The St Giles has concierges, so as soon as the cab pulled up at the front of the hotel he took my luggage up the steps to the check in desk and strangely enough, did not hang around for a tip.
Check in was surprisingly fast, efficient and friendly. We had exchanged our Dirhams at Dubai Airport for pounds sterling so we paid the £88 in cash. Usually, hotels at this stage ask for a card anyway so you can purchase drinks and so on, but at the St Giles they simply stamp your key card holder “NO CREDIT”.
We were allocated a bedroom on the 3rd floor, room 305 and used one of the 4 lifts to get to it. Up to now all had been good but I was worried about what we find when we opened the door. Like many London hotels, the corridors are a little narrow and dull but the lift areas on all floors have drinks and snacks vending machines and some even have ice machines. We noticed that all the bedroom doors had electronic locks.
First impression of 305 was that it was small and dated. The bedroom faced onto Tottenham Court Road, a busy road night and day. The bathroom was also very small. There was a double bed with sufficient floorspace at the side to open our suitcases
Our first impression and the thing that struck us most, was the horrible colour of the room, it emanated a horrible rusty brown, dark orange hue from both the carpet and the quilt cover. Which, to say the very least was uninviting. To some extent it felt dirty, but this was totally not the case, the colour just doesn’t lend itself to welcoming you into a bright, fresh clean hotel room. In fairness the room and bed linen were very clean.
There is a small desk area, with overhead shelving and room for a suitcase to the side. There was a comfortable chair by the desk. That said, for a double room the second person had to use the bed to sit down. Something which I personally hate doing, especially when you have been travelling on buses, tubes, planes and so on.
There was an electronic room safe, tea and coffee hospitality tray and an opening window. However, once the window was open, being low down on the third floor you could hear a lot of traffic and city noise from outside. Once the window was closed the outside noise was reduced significantly. The windows must be at least double glazed.
The room does have air conditioning but we found it to be too noisy to leave on. As mentioned above, we found the bathroom a little bit on the small side but very clean and functional, the shower was fine, at least the bathroom had been modernised with nice marble effect walls and tiling.
The towels were a little on the small side and thin but this was not a massive problem. After all, we knew we were paying well under the norm for a central London hotel. The room did provide everything it promises to do on the box.
The bed was small for a double but very comfortable and with the air conditioning turned off it was relatively quiet.
There was some noise from outside soon after we had gone to bed and it sounded like they were in our room, I guess that means the walls are pretty thin but it was the only time we heard anything throughout the night. In fact we slept very well. This is exactly what you want when you go to bed in a hotel isn’t it?
The bar was really comfortable and we had 2 house wines each, although the bill was a little steep at £28. The cost does include service so we left no additional tip. The WiFi in the bar is free of charge and had a good signal throughout.
The business centre was also good and I was able to print off our boarding passes without any issues they do charge you 50 pence a copy but that was OK with me.
Despite there being 4 lifts, at peak times we regularly had to wait a few minutes. I recommend not taking the stairs as to the 3rd floor from the ground floor there are exactly 80 steps (Who needs a gym with effort like that).
We did not take for breakfast in the hotel and that was a good move as immediately across the road was a Sainsbury Store where in the morning we bought lovely croissants and fresh orange juice for £2 per person.
So, our conclusion….
♦ Drab and out of date bedroom decor
♦ Road noise
♦ Busy hotel
♦ Slow lifts
♦ Fantastic location
♦ Good facilities
♦ 24 hour cafe
Would we stay again…
Without a doubt yes. With the money we saved on accommodation, it paid for a meal at Jamie’s Italian near Covent Garden. Without doubt this is an excellent area where you can walk to Covent Garden in 10 minutes or be shopping on Oxford Street within 5 minutes. The room offers all you need and the hotel itself has better than average facilities with restaurants, bars, internet machines, casino, gym and a 25m indoor swimming pool.
Think yourself fortunate that the standard rooms have not been modernised or you would be paying an additional £40 for the privilege.
♦ Insist on as high a floor as possible
♦ Unless you have a deal including breakfast use Sainsbury’s across the road
♦ Request a room not overlooking Tottenham Court Road
♦ Book to see We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre, just 100 metres away