The Budget Traveler: London House Hotel Review

I am weirdly cheap about certain things–as much as I love Uber, nine times out of ten, I will take public transportation to/from most airports. In fact, I will bus most places unless absolutely necessary that I take a car (for example, last month, I got hopelessly lost in an area of Seattle that I am deeply unfamiliar with and which does not have sidewalks, so had to summon Uber). When I first started making my solo travel adventures abroad, I eagerly booked into cheap hostels, where I met some great people (some of whom I still keep in contact with) and managed to save a lot of money to keep me in the clear as I ate and drank my way through Western Europe. But somewhere along the line, maybe around 25 or so, I began to let go of my desire to pinch pennies when it came to where I lay my head down. Gone were the days where my body could withstand hours of liver abuse and rally on three hours of sleep that were interrupted by loud snoring from the person in the bunk above me. So, I spent a considerable amount of time scouring the Internet for hostels and hotels that offered single rooms (preferably with an ensuite shower, because I was also tired of packing my own shower shoes) for a reasonable price. And you know what? Those places exist. They’re just very hard to find.

Enter London House Hotel, located in Bayswater, London. It is by no means a fancy hotel–there’s no room service, no on-site restaurant, no bar. But what it lacks in on-site services it more than makes up with in price, location, and room quality.

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Get Up & Go: The Circus Hotel

Junior Suite at The Circus Hotel
Junior Suite at The Circus Hotel

My recent trip to Europe was my first real, grown-up trip to Europe. Previous trips involved rushed planning, occasional reluctant couch surfing, and lots of stays in hostels. But at 28, my days of successfully sharing a room with a half dozen other people or happily falling asleep on an IKEA bunk bed are a thing of the past. The prospect of staying in a hotel was great, but the task of sorting through the word vomit that often qualifies as reviews on various travel sites proved to be a daunting task.

The easiest (and best) hotel choice I made during Eurotrip 2013 was The Circus Hotel in Berlin. It is a centrally located sibling of the popular Circus Hostel (my taxi driver told me people frequently get confused about which place they’re staying, since they’re quite close to each other). I was feeling fancy, so I booked a Junior Suite for 110 Euros a night. The room was pretty big, especially by European standards (and it was exactly the same price per night as my closet-sized hotel room in Paris).

I didn’t spend too much time in my room because Berlin beckoned, but the time I did spend in my room was wonderful. My room faced the courtyard portion of the in-house restaurant, and there were a couple of nights during my stay that were especially warm and so I kept the windows open but wasn’t disturbed at all by my fellow guests.

The restaurant itself was absolutely fantastic. On my first night, I somehow managed to lug my extremely jet lagged body to the bar/restaurant for dinner and to listen to a

local jazz trio. The food was delicious, the atmosphere calm and relaxing, and the drinks stiff.

Beer and Schnitzel at Fabisch
Beer and Schnitzel

The front desk staff was extremely helpful, offering tips of places to eat and drink in other neighborhoods, helping me print out a pass to the Reichstag, and assisting me in booking a taxi to the train station on my last day in Berlin.

My fellow guests ranged in age from late 20s to late 50s, an age range which means that the hallways were quiet at night, and the bar and restaurant were filled with the gentle murmur of conversation rather than the bubbly almost delirious conversation of students on their first trip abroad (for that experience, visit The Circus Hostel).

When I go back to Berlin (because I absolutely will), I plan on booking at The Circus Hotel. It was an excellent start to my Eurotrip, and I only wish I’d had the same luck when booking my hotel in Paris.

The Circus Hotel Berlin