Flip Flops and Pajama Bottoms
Stay in a University Dorm during Summer Travel
I have been searching for alternatives to staying in a hotel when I travel. As I find new opportunities I share them on my blog.
You may have read about staying in convent (hotels) and monasteries in Italy (monastarystays.com) something I have done for the past 8+ years. Each location is a unique experience. I have tried an air stream parked on a beach at KOA on Cape Hatteras. Far better than I expected and somewhere I would be happy to return to. See the story at: http://bit.ly/1a1mCVX
I have read about Universities' offering dorm rooms for rent during summer and/or other times the dorms are not in use. The price is always reasonable and the locations are often in the city and near public transportation.
Planning for a visit to London in May I started to search for Universities offering ‘rooms for rent’. There was as a surprising number of schools participating in ‘summer rooms for rent’. Unfortunately many of the programs did not start until the end of the of the
the school term.
The London University had rooms available and I booked a single room with full bath. Sharing a bathroom with 25 to 50 college students would only make them uncomfortable not to mention me……so rooms with full baths were exactly what I was looking for.
The dorm I was assigned to was a short walk from the St Pancreas train station where I arrived from Dover. After the amazing renovation of this historic station it was a treat to take a walk through the extensive shopping and dinning mall. Cafes were noted for future meals if I needed a ‘solo friendly’ establishment. After all most travelers at a train station are solo.
I had Goggled the walking instructions and picked up a map from the very friendly Tourist Office at the west side of the station. It was an easy walk and more important one with sidewalks and ramps for those dragging a piece of luggage.
Arriving before 2 pm I was told to return at 2. At 2 the small problems started. Even after 5+ emails to assure my room was ensite, I was assigned a room with communal bath. I have to confess to ‘loosing it’. As I am using the buildings WIFI to find a ‘real room’ my savior Sapina arrived. Since this was a weekend there was no one at the University housing office to help. A senior in the building was assigned to ‘fix’ the problems and Sapina did a GREAT job. After a tour of the building I settled into my ‘dorm’ room. Since no other ensuite rooms were available, I was given one with a kitchen, no pots, not pans, no dishes but a kitchen.
A single bed, small kitchenette and on the other wall a large desk area
The bath was modern and had extremely hot water!
Negative: you only get one towel so bring your own second if you need one.
Bed was more of a cot, long term stays might be uncomfortable.
The building has quiet rules and after 11pm is very quiet.
The building has endless facilities: laundry, game room, squash court, courtyard for sunny days, recreation/TV room, movie room and more.
An easy walk from the Russell Square tube station and the St Pancreas train station.
The room comes with daily breakfast but if you are a tourist or have an early appointment don’t plan on breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday, there is brunch and it is at 10:30! Because I wanted to experience the breakfast I returned to the dorm to walk through the line with my other ‘students’.
Apparently many parents visit the university and often stay in the dorms so I did not look too out of place. I think they put me in the grandparents file. What was very interesting is that NO ONE SPOKE TO ME. I suppose some of the students had ‘big’ nights and were not in a chatty mood. Many were wearing sweat pants and flip flops and some of those pants looked like PJ’s.
After all these years I thought I would feel memories from the old days but I just felt foreign, both in nationality and age.
Food hall on the lower level of the building The atrium was bright even on the cloudy day
good article on alternative housing options: