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I stayed here with my family for two nights last weekend, it was hastily arranged as my daughter had won a competition and needed to be in central London an the Saturday morning. The room was therefore only booked a week before our visit. With not much notice, four of us to accommodate and trying to keep costs to a reasonable level we decided our best bet would be a Holiday Inn Express. Luckily after logging in as a Priority club member I managed to get a room to accommodate all four of us together for the Friday and Saturday nights. The total cost was £183.60 (£85.50 for the Friday and £98.10 for the Saturday), which I did have to pay for in advance under that particular deal and there would have been no refund if we couldn't make it. The hotel price was reasonable enough when you consider that it included continental breakfast for all four of us for the two days especially as in the past we have had to pay more for inferior accommodation and had to pay extra for breakfast on top.
The hotel is situated on the South Bank near to Blackfriars Bridge with the nearest underground station being Southwark on the Jubilee line and this was about a ten minute walk from the hotel. Alternatively you could cross Blackfriars Bridge on foot and use Blackfriars train Station. The Tate Modern was a pleasant five minute walk beside the river and after another minute walking you will come upon Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. The Millennium bridge is here also and walking across(it doesn't sway anymore) it to the other side of the river you will arrive near to St Paul's Cathedral which is now free to the public although if you want a tour you still have to pay for that.
ARRIVAL We didn't arrive at the hotel until 11pm due to flooding on the railway line delaying our journey and then waiting in a queue at Paddington station for tube tickets, what a journey! Anyway after ascending from Southwark tube station into the dark damp evening we eventually found Southwark Street and by sheer luck came across the hotel which in the dark looked no different to any other building. The problem was that the signage for some reason was not lit up. However, upon entering, the welcome was pleasant and we were swiftly given our room number, swipe card, breakfast times and directions to the lift. The entrance lobby was clean, tidy and welcoming and typical of this hotel chain. If you have stayed at one of these in the past then you can be pretty sure of what to expect. There was a reception desk with a small drinks bar to the side, snack, drink and ice machines, small internet area, attraction leaflets, and a lounge with adjoining breakfast area. As I have mentioned, all very clean, tidy and welcoming. The lift up to the floors is small and the four of us with our rucksacks just fitted! I think if we had had much more luggage it would have been two trips.
Our allocated room was on the fourth floor at the end of the building and apart from a few late night door slammers it was very quiet for London. The room looked out over the front of the Hotel onto Southwark Sreet and although it was a fairly busy road, lazing on the windows kept the noise to a reasonable level. The room was of a family size as we were comfortably able to walk around the furniture without bumping into each other or the furniture, always a good guide!.
As you enter the room there is a hallway with a case rack and an open clothes hanging area with shelves underneath to the left and to the right a bathroom. The double bed and double sofa bed were made up with fresh ,crisp, white bed linen and the double bed had a decorative throw draped across the bottom of it.
The room was well lit with lighting in the hall, lamps by the bed, table a wall lamp beside a full length mirror which had a useful hairdryer adjacent. There was a large television with the basic five channels and a few extras but no sky news as you get in some places. The television doubled up as a digital clock at night! A courtesy tray with a kettle, mugs, tea bags , coffee, milk and sugar was provided and was very generously topped up for our second day.
Overall we found the room including the beds very comfortable if a little to warm, but there was an air conditioning dial by the door but in January….still its there if you do want to use it.
The bathroom consisted of a corner basin surrounded by mirrors that were very well lit, a large, deep shower tray with a power shower over and a toilet that could be partitioned off from the rest of the bathroom by the main bathroom door enabling others to use the basin area also. The toiletries they provide at this chain are dove liquid soap dispensers, one by the basin and one in the shower but they are more than sufficient. Also provided were plenty of white towels and disposable wash cloths. The one thing that let the bathroom down in my opinion was the state of the shower curtain, particularly the bottom of it which to be honest had seen better days and not the laundry in a long while! I also thought that the shower enclosure could have done with a thorough deep clean. The shower itself was very efficient with water flow and temperature and it didn't flood the bathroom!
Breakfast was served between 7-10am Mon-Frid and 7.30-11am at weekends. The breakfast room was not large but seemed to be sufficient when we were there. The chairs and tables were comfortable and I noticed a couple of clean high chairs available also. A member of staff was there at all times topping up the buffet foods and laying and clearing the tables.
As I mentioned earlier the breakfast is continental served buffet style. There were fruit juice and hot drinks dispensers and semi skimmed and whole milk in jugs. Foods included boxed Kellogg's cereals and Alpen muesli, brown and white bread for DIY toast, rolls, croissants, Danish pastries, fresh apples, bananas, oranges, tinned fruit cocktail, yoghurts, cheese portions, butter, sunflower marg , marmite, jams and marmalade. We enjoyed the breakfast and found it to be ample for our needs but, if you prefer the full English then this is not the place to stay.
TO SUM UP
Would I stay here again? Yes, it was quieter than frenetic central London, yet not far away from the action and the South Bank is quite an up and coming area with plenty of things to see and do in its own right. Not luxury, but you have to pay a fortune for that in London and at the end of the day how much time do you actually spend in your room really.
I would certainly recommend it if you are on a budget and for families too.