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A family owned, independent hotel, the Garden Court Hotel, situated in leafy Bayswater, occupies an English Heritage listed Georgian town house and was established as a hotel in 1952. Described as a 'verdant oasis in busy West London', this hotel enjoys fantastic transport links and lies close to many of London's greatest sights and attractions, all for a very affordable price. Filled with quirky touches of British eccentricity from the bearskin hats and wooden beefeater characters in the lobby to the fireplace in the lounge, this hotel has a very welcoming ambience.
The hotel's guest rooms are decorated in a traditional style, with a good selection of modern facilities to help guests relax yet stay connected. The approach to decor is endearingly schizophrenic; mixing patchwork quilts with William Morris style wallpapers to produce a unique style of shabby chic. All bedrooms include a direct-dial phone, 20 inch LCD TV with free view, a hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities and a complimentary Wi-fi connection is offered throughout the hotel.
Guests at the hotel receive a complimentary continental breakfast with their room, or a full English for an extra charge for a hearty start to the day. The hotel encompasses a cosy lounge with comfortable seats and complimentary hot drinks available throughout the day. One special perk is the hotel's picturesque garden, which has flowering plants and a small seating area where you can relax with a book in sunny weather.
There is no restaurant in the hotel for evening meals, but the area is brimming with choice when it comes to eateries, cafes and nightlife. Spanish Tapas can be found at El Pirata De Tapas, Brazilian cuisine at Rodzio Rico offers a filling barbecue and a fantastic selection of cocktails and Arancina has a great menu of homemade Sicilian food.
The hotel is very well positioned to explore local attractions. Locally you can visit The Criterion Theatre to see a play by an up and coming writer, see some fine art at Lisson Gallery and The Frontline Club, or take a tour of London on a canal barge and see some of the city's fascinating waterways. South of the hotel, Hyde Park is a short walk away, where you can see more contemporary art in The Serpentine Gallery, or if the weather is good, you can ride a horse, ride the solar-powered shuttle boat, hire a tennis court, or pick up some groceries in the Tesco supermarket in Queensway and have a picnic on the lawns. On the other side of the park is the former residence of Princess Diana, Kensington Palace that has been used as a royal residence since the 18th century when it was a country residence for William of Orange. The house is fascinating in itself, but the landscaped gardens are worth visiting or gazing out on whilst you scoff down an afternoon tea in The Orangery restaurant. The quirky boutiques of Notting Hill and Kensington, as well as Whiteley's shopping complex are all within walking distance from the hotel for a spot of retail therapy.
The hotel is a five-minute walk away from Bayswater tube station, which services the District and Circle lines. From here you have direct links to Paddington Station (where the Heathrow Express Train terminates), Victoria Station (where the Gatwick Express Train terminates) and many other areas of London, including Notting Hill, which is famed for its carnival. If you are driving to the hotel, it is situated near the main A4 road, which can be accessed via the M4 and M25; however, guests should note that the hotel is in the congestion charge zone. An NCP car park is located very nearby in Queensway for overnight parking.
Across the board, patrons of the Garden Court Hotel have found the accommodation charming, the staff friendly and helpful and the mix of price and location very agreeable. One minor downside is that breakfast is sufficient but a little unimaginative, so you may wish to explore nearby cafes for more interesting options. You may also wish to request a room overlooking the garden for a more peaceful night's sleep. Otherwise, this is a fantastic accommodation choice for the budget traveller, with a lot more character than their competitors.