Hotel rooms in London can be as expensive as NYC. As in other cities I travel to, I search for alternatives to the high prices of hotels.
Since I am not willing to stay in a hostel or on the couch at the home of a stranger, my choices can be limited. I have tried the University housing and if you don't mind being the oldest person in the building, it was great. Next I will stay the weekend in a country home with HF Holidays. No, it is not Downton Abbey but I shall imagine myself on a country weekend.
Yes I could be missing some wonderful experiences but I need to travel within a comfort zone that makes me happy. One of the perks of solo travel, you do what makes you happy!
For some time I have followed the online posts of At Home In London. I have stayed in B n B’s in the UK and have found them a great alternative to hotels.
At Home in London will book guests in private homes within neighborhoods throughout London. The owner Maggie Dobson states on her web site:
"We have carefully selected affordable homes in accessible and often historic areas, including Knightsbridge, Kensington, Belgravia, Chelsea and Notting Hill. Our friendly hosts enjoy sharing their insiders’ knowledge of London. Why settle for a hotel when you can experience the hospitality of a real London home?"
At home in London was started by Maggie almost 27 years ago and now has 60 hosts that welcome travelers. All the properties have been inspected by Maggie, photos on her web site make selecting your London accommodations easy.
On my recent trip I had two separate stays in London and contacted At Home In London, to find a room ‘in a London home’. Maggie and her staff helped me select a location and home that would suit my needs. Both properties were charming. Here is a short description of my stay:
My first say was #134 in the Vauxhall area. Only 2 tube stops past Victoria station it was an easy walk with luggage to the newer mews house on a quiet street. I was warmly welcomed and offered a pair of slippers and a cup of tea! A lovely touch for someone who had just flown into London and would be crashing from jet lag soon. Janine, who is a warm and friendly woman, is an opera singer but also rescues Persian cats that have lost their elderly owners.
Her fur friends will be featured in a separate post.....perhaps The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for retired best friends or many paws make a happy home..... the title is yet to be decided.
The newer buildings are across from traditional ‘mews’ style homes.
Your private room at # is sunny, comfortable and next to a very elegant private bath.
If you are lucky, one of the retirees may decide to visit your room during your stay others may never notice you are in the house.
At the end of my travels I stayed in Hammersmith. I had no idea where this was or what to expect as I took the tube to #305. In this part of London the train is above ground so you can view red tile roofs and gardens at the back of home.
Hammersmith is one of the ‘villages’ in London. An easy walk from the tube station, I walked down the main street (King) passing coffee shops and an assortment of restaurants. This was a small village with many shops catering to daily life. My hostess who had been in the area more than 20 years, told me the village had changed very little.
I was warmly greeted by my hostess and shown through this 1830's home to my room on the top floor with a view of the manicured garden. The private modern bath was next door. A heated towel rack was a nice touch.
|my kind hostess|
As a solo traveler I always have many questions and Liz was very kind to give up her personal time to share many great inside 'secrets' on the area and London. I love anything Royal and she explained what the queen was doing at Westminster the day I arrived. I want to thank Liz again for suggesting her contact at mini cabs. Because I was outside the 'zone' I was able to take a cab to Heathrow for the same price as the train! I would never had known this without her help
Thank you so much.
|The view of the English garden from my window|
Both my hosts exhibited a willingness to accommodate any of my needs. I was allowed to make tea and relax after a 12 hour day of interviews and searches for my blog posts.
Another feature of the At Home In London web page is the monthly posting of the Grapevine. http://bit.ly/10jLdRL Maggie give tips on a variety of topics: what is free in London, what’s on in London that month, London’s historic buildings, markets and many other topics that would rival any well know travel book.
But I believe the warm and welcoming time at the two homes offered by At Home In London were my most enjoyable.