Nice home base location for our first extended stay in London.
My friend and I stayed at the Best Western Victoria Palace from September 29 to October 4, 2017. Our choice of this hotel on was based on location and previous favorable stays at BW properties in Venice, Italy, Amsterdam and Palm Springs. We arrived at Gatwick Airport and took the Gatwick Express train to Victoria Station and walked about a quarter mile to the hotel. The Victoria Palace is split into two locations: the main office lobby building located on Warwick Way and the annex section just around the corner on Belgrave Road/A3213. We were given room #33 at the annex. There is no elevator so we had to climb 4 sets of stairs to reach the third floor, which we found to be tiring after the long flight or after extensive sightseeing.
The room was small with two beds, a desk, flatscreen TV, closet with safe, a small shelf with tea service, wall unit A/C and small bathroom. No icebox or microwave. Outside the window is a view of adjacent rooftops and buildings and in the distance to the northeast the London Eye can be seen peeking over the buildings. The free wifi was quite stable and fast in our room. The A/C worked fine but there was a loose plastic part that made a loud buzzing all the time which made it hard to sleep. My friend took a tourist brochure and jammed it into the offending loose part of the A/C and stopped the noise. The fan inside the bathroom also had a rattling cover which fell off and we stored it under the sink for the duration of our stay. Bliss. The immediate surroundings were on the quiet side at night, although on Friday and Saturday nights there can be boisterous pub activity going on into the wee hours.
There are a lot of similarly sized hotels in the area and also a high concentration of restaurants just behind the annex on Wilton Road. We had wonderful fish & chips at Seafresh for our first meal. For extended stay grocery shopping there is a Sainsbury’s Supermarket that we visited several times, especially since breakfast was not included with our room. There is also a small 24 hour convenience store right across the street from the hotel for quick after hours snacking.
On October 2 we walked from the hotel to The Regency Cafe for their highly regarded Full English Breakfast that we both wanted to try. Afterwards we walked across Lambeth bridge and up along the river to the London Eye and then back across Westminster bridge to Parliament/Big Ben, the New Scotland Yard and finally Westminster Abbey, where the Lord Chancellor’s Breakfast ceremony happened to be taking place. Interesting! We wandered around nearby Strutton Ground Market where a bunch of business type people were grabbing lunch in a neat farmers market type environment, then headed back to the hotel. So while not in the immediate area there are many major sites that are within a long walkable distance of the hotel, which also include Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street and Hyde Park. To get around quicker there is a reasonably priced Santander automated rental bike station very close by, although it could be hazardous if you’re not used to riding on the other side of the street. Be careful!
For our first long term stay in London the BW Victoria Palace served as an ideal home base to explore the key spots of the city. The nearby Victoria Station was a very useful access point to the Underground as well as for the Gatwick Express to get into town from the airport and to head down south for our day trip to Brighton. The additional propinquity of numerous restaurants and stores added to the convenience factor of the hotel. That being said, the high cost for the small and spartan accommodations for five nights stung a little bit. During the planning stages of our trip we also checked on the slightly cheaper Best Western Plus Vauxhall which is about 1.5 miles away on the other side of the river. Many of the TA reviews make mention of the smallness of the rooms at the Vauxhall location but I can’t imagine those rooms being that much smaller than the one we had at Victoria Palace. Should I return to London on a budget I will probably give the Best Western Plus Vauxhall a shot just to see what it’s like. But the Best Western Victoria Palace is also a fine property and I will definitely keep it filed away for possible future stays. less