Let me not beat around the bush here, London is an expensive city for the average (and wealthier than average) South African. There are over 1000 hotels registered on TripAdvisor, and that’s not even including all of the accommodation available on site like AirBnB and the hundreds of backpackers/youth hostels…. yet, the properties don’t ever seem to struggle with filling those beds, and finding a decent hotel in London for a price that won’t make you skip the city entirely is hard to lock down.
I have to admit that i spend hours window shopping, not in the traditional sense though, i window shop online for overseas plane tickets and hotel specials. I feel like i’ve always got at least 7 different trips at any given time loosely planned in my head. While researching London for our trip in July, i came across “Artist Residence” a number of times, most memorably in an article on www.theguardian.com. They’re spoken about so regularly online by so many top UK and international publications, that i’m honestly surprised that they aren’t booked up from now until Christmas next year.
Initially what attracted me to the hotel was its proximity to Victoria station, which we’d be using quite frequently during our stay (and we were going to be lugging around tonnes of baggage). It’s also crazy close to Buckingham Palace, and only 1 tube stop away from Hyde Park!
The reception staff were absolute sweethearts and tried to help us with everything they could, including storing a ridiculous amount of baggage for us for a few hours before we were able to check in. We only had one hitch where one night we needed to make an urgent international call, but we couldn’t because the nightstaff had no idea how to dial out internationally on the old school wheel-thingy phones in the rooms.
As a foreigner though, it was great to stay in a hotel that still sort of felt and looked like a *modernised* version of the actual townhouses that Londoners stay in. I say “Londoners”, but i really mean the crazy-wealthy Londoners who can live in an area like Pimlico and afford to spend extortionate amounts for rather small properties. Something always feels a little generic at the massive hotel chains across Europe, especially if you’re really hoping to immerse yourself in the local culture. Artist Residence really makes you feel like you have a temporary home whilst in London.
We stayed in one of the bigger rooms, with a four-poster King-size bed, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. The size of the rooms actually shocked me, because you’ll know that property in London is tiny, and the hotel rooms are usually rather “cosy.”
The bathroom in a hotel or hostel or holiday apartment is always one of the most important things to me. If the bathroom is spotless, light, bright, and smells fresh, then i can excuse just about everything else. The bathroom at Artist Residence is sort of open-plan with a beautiful claw-foot bath through an archway, complete with fluffy white bathrobes hung up next to it. The shower is massive, and the epic rainfall shower-head is really high up so i didn’t have to do this awkward hunched thing i sometimes have to do in hotels with shorter showers.
Breakfast the next morning was absolutely amazing! We were seated at rustic looking wooden table in a sunny area downstairs that was beautifully decorated. The chef was honestly an absolute sweetheart and asked us to try the popular American style pancake stack with his special berry compote for dessert. Dessert after breakfast? I could get used to that! The food was really really good (definitely the best breakfast we had in Europe), and the coffee was excellent (which is unfortunately rare in the UK).
The hotel was under a bit of construction when we were there, which means that we’ll have to go back and visit again when it’s all complete to get the full Artist Residence Experience. They have two other hotels; one in Brighton and one in Cornwall… both of which are places that i’m hoping to visit some day.
In short, Artist Residence London ticks each of the essential boxes, and they do it with their own character and style.
- Free wifi
- Amazing shower
- Comfy beds & soft linen
- Close to public transport
- Friendly staff
* All photos taken with a Canon PowerShot SX600 HS. Find them on Facebook: Canon South Africa and on Twitter to keep in touch, share, learn, and create Use the hashtag #CreateWithCanon when sharing your pics.