London: one of the world’s most vibrant and enigmatic cities, and luckily for us, only a train ride away (for the most part). I’m a city break girl through and through and having been to Paris, Budapest, Rome and Berlin, I can hand-on-heart say that London still remains my favourite city in the world.
Granted, I haven’t really been that far afield. Europe has most definitely been my playground and maybe when I make it outside of my Eurocentric bubble, I’ll find a city that captures my imagination that little bit more. Until then, however, there’s something special about London that continues to make my heart swell.
I’m in and out of London every week attending meetings and events, and often these can be anywhere from Camden to Chelsea, so if I’m staying overnight the location needs to be spot on. The more central the better, with the priorities being that the hotel is close to the tube and also that the nearest tube station is extremely well connected. I’m a lazy traveller, and so the shorter the route and the least changes, the better.
So where oh where would you find such a hotel without racking up an unsightly bill, I hear you ask? Enter the hub by Premier Inn, Kings Cross.
If you haven’t heard of hub by Premier Inn, they are a chain of hotels situated throughout London in some of the capital’s most popular and central areas. Aside from the new Kings Cross location where I stayed, you can also find hubs in Covent Garden, Tower Bridge, Brick Lane and Westminster, plus a brand new Edinburgh Hub which has just opened and plenty more locations coming soon.
Having been invited along to test-run the hub, I spent 48 hours socialising, working and enjoying that elusive buzz of London. I also (finally) vlogged whilst I was there, so if you scroll down you’ll be able to see the hotel in all its glory and follow me as I whisk around London eating far too many snacks and getting sweaty on the tube. If you’d much rather read, I’ve also broken down the three essential factors I consider whenever booking a hotel - location, price and the room - so you can see why I think the hubs are quite possibly London’s most convenient budget hotels.
This post was sponsored by the hub by Premier Inn, but all opinions, wording and imagery are my own.
The important one. The hubs are short stay hotels so are geared towards those on business trips or those who are looking to explore the city in a short amount of time. Of course, that’s not what they are limited to, and if you don’t mind a little less space for a lot less cost, then I’d still consider staying in a hub simply because of how well connected they are.
Staying in the Kings Cross hub, I could literally see the station from my window and the tube was an easy 5 minute walk from the door of the hotel. Kings Cross is an incredibly well connected station, boasting the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines, the Northern Line, the Piccadilly Line and the Victoria Line. There are also buses, Santander Cycles and plenty of taxis, so London really is your oyster in terms of where you want to go and how.
A central location is crucial to me when I’m staying in London for either business or pleasure, because I don’t want to waste too much time travelling and I want my journeys to be as simple as possible. The hub hotels understand this, and that’s why there’s functionality built into your smart TV to be able to plan your route before you even leave your room, as well as Tube updates down in reception. I normally stay in Shoreditch because it’s so close to London Liverpool Street where my train into London terminates, but having now stayed at Kings Cross and being so much better connected, I think I’ve found my new base of operations.
I was invited to review The hub hotel so my trip was complimentary, however for a Monday and Tuesday night stay, I would have paid within the region of £100 per night. For two nights in super central London, that price is pretty impressive, and a quick search on Google will quickly remind you of how expensive staying in the capital can be - especially if you want to be well connected. If I had taken a guest with me the price would have stayed the same, so split between two, the final bill ends up being extremely affordable.
More than just price, I think what’s worth talking about is value for money. Prices in London fluctuate depending on the location, the quality of the hotel, the size of the room and the time of the week, and in line with that rooms at the hub will go up at the weekend as these are peak times.
It’s likely that they will still be cheaper than a lot of other hotels however, and it’s unlikely you’ll find something of a similar quality with such great connections and functionality throughout. When we think of budget, most of the time we think of something that’s older and a little rough around the edges, but the hubs are modern, clean and comfortable.
They also offer peace of mind, which is a prominent factor for me when I'm booking somewhere to stay online. Since Premier Inn is such a long-standing and well-known name, you don't face the fear of clicking "book" and wondering what you'll room will actually look like when you arrive. Never underestimate the joy of your room looking as it should do!
The rooms are fairly small, but everything you need is cleverly compacted into your room so less space certainly doesn’t mean less functionality. There is space under the bed for luggage, bags and shoes, and a mini wardrobe with hangers allowing you plenty of space to pop up your clothes and prevent them from creasing. The room also includes a hairdryer and a large smart TV, which comes stocked with internet, films and TV channels aplenty.
The technology in the hub hotels is what sets them apart from the rest of the budget crowd, and the room certainly did not disappoint. From my headboard I could cycle between a series of light settings, turn on the 'do not disturb’ sign outside of my room and change the temperature, all with the tap of an interactive button. Next to the bed were two plugs primed for charging, with an extra USB slot so that gadget carriers like myself can have every battery juicing up at the same time.
Aside from the room itself, little features throughout the hotel remind you that you are hunkering down in a tech-savvy place. There are self-service check-in kiosks, for example, which simply require a few details from you to bring up your booking, before allowing you to swipe a key card and gain access to your room in minutes - brilliant for those of us *ahem* who are always rushing (don’t worry - there’s an actual person at an actual desk if you do get stuck or enjoy the small talk). Another small quality I appreciated was the built-in phone chargers and plentiful plugs throughout the bar area; it made popping down to work with my laptop that much easier and stress-free.
The only downside is that there is no tea, coffee or mini-bar facilities in the room, so you might want to stock up on a few drinks and snacks before settling in for a film fest. There is free tea and coffee available in the bar however and plenty of coffee shops around, so it’s not a huge issue.