Search for cheapest prices: Melita House Hotel
The Pimlico area of Victoria in central London is an affluent and peaceful, largely residential district, lined with elegant 19th century town houses and landscaped garden squares. The Melita House hotel is housed in one of these attractive buildings and is the perfect location for both a quiet night's sleep and seeing London's sights as many are located just a few minutes walk away. Mixing traditional features and modern facilities, the Melita House is convenient and comfortable for both business and leisure guests and to top it off, the hotel has very affordable room rates, so you will be sure to stay in budget.
The hotel is a charming and welcoming place, with friendly staff and delightful touches such as fireplaces, floral displays, a cheerful colour scheme and the odd antique on display. Rooms are a little on the small side, but this is typical for a town house conversion, with en-suite bathrooms and a range of amenities, including an LCD TV with satellite channels, a direct-dial telephone, a modem point, a digital safe, an electronic door locking system for extra security, an alarm clock and radio, a hairdryer and a very handy fridge, where you can keep goodies from the local M&S Simply Food supermarket chilled if you don't fancy eating out. A wireless Internet connection is available at a charge and the reception staff are happy to help you plan your stay and share their local knowledge with you. To avoid paying for the Internet, you can pop to the Prêt a Manger cafe nearby, where you can also pick up some breakfast, because guests have said that the one provided is a little unimaginative for the price.
The hotel doesn't cater for evening meals, but there are some tasty eateries nearby from chains such as Ask! Pasta and Giraffe, to exotic fare at Mekong and Kazan and elegant brasserie food at About Thyme and Grumbles, which is usually swarming with locals looking for decent, well-priced food.
The hotel is in an excellent location for sight seeing. A good starting point is Buckingham Palace, the Queen's London residence, which has survived two world wars and two fires. You can tour the palace when the Queen is at her Balmoral estate in Scotland, however, if tours aren't running when you arrive, you can still see the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which is held daily, as it has been for hundreds of years. From there, you can walk to Westminster Palace, where the Houses of Parliament are located, which has been the seat of the UK's government since the Middle Ages, usually swarming with frazzled politicians, you can tour the building, but sadly only British nationals can scale the iconic Big Ben clock tower next door, so if you are not a citizen, try to befriend a local and maybe you can find a loophole. Westminster Abbey is also next door, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had their elaborate wedding recently. The Abbey dates back to the 8th century and you can see architectural features from all eras, so it's well worth a look. The Prime Minister's house is located an easy commute away, in 10 Downing Street. You can't go inside the residence as it is heavily guarded, but the policemen outside are happy to have a photo taken or answer questions.
If that's all a bit too traditional for you, you can ride the London Eye, traverse the Thames on a speedboat or a dinner cruise, head to Theatreland and watch a musical or stroll down the waterside to the Tate Modern to see modern art that veers from the ridiculous to sublime. The Tate Britain is also near the hotel, so purists can peruse some more traditional art. There is also a fabulous selection of shops nearby, Oxford Street is just a short bus or tube ride away and the exclusive districts of Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Belgravia are nearby, where you will find Harrods and Harvey Nichols Department Stores, Savile Row tailors and Fortnum and Mason food emporium amongst the designer and high street brands. Sloane Square and the King's Road are also close by for the Saatchi Gallery and a great selection of shops and cafes.
Victoria also has some of the best transport links in London, from the station, housed in a dramatic Victorian building, you can catch the Gatwick Express train to the airport in 30 minutes as well as overground services to their areas of the UK. The Victoria, District and Circle lines can take you further afield to explore the rest of London and from Victoria coach station you can catch coaches to other areas of the UK and to Europe. The station is also a bus terminus, so there are dozens of bus routes you can take to many other areas of the city. It may take you a few minutes to work out which bus is the correct one, but once you have the hang of the system you'll be away!
In an area teeming with good value hotels, the Melita House Hotel is an adequate place to stay, but there may be better nearby for less money. You can’t argue with the location though, which is extremely convenient, especially for international visitors who don't want to travel too far from Gatwick Airport. If you do choose to stay here, be aware that rooms at the front of the hotel are noisier than others, so request a room near the back if you're a light sleeper.