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Cheap city stopovers: Ibis hotels review

Cheap city stopovers: Ibis hotels review

Ibis Euston London hotel

When I first started gadding about the country to work on my portfolio, cheap hotels were key. Dusty furniture and luke warm showers pushed me to see more and do more, always avoiding the dark, damp room awaiting me that night. That said, a few years experience (and some truly terrible hotels) has taught me that cheap doesn’t have to mean bad.

The ibis brand encompasses this philosophy, something I can vouch for having just stayed in three of their London hotels. Each at varying price points, the budget hotels dotted around the capital are a welcome alternative to their extortionate (albeit awesome) boutique-y brothers and sisters. Personally, these days I’d rather save money with a cheaper hotel room and use the rest to get out there and see the city properly. Especially when the quality and service is this good…

Starting with the ibis Budget Whitechapel, I began my ibis sleepover safari at the lower end of the scale. Sandwiched between numerous halal shops and dry cleaners, it does feel rather feel marooned in a dodgy corner of East London – until you do your research. Minutes from the bustle of Brick Lane and the City on foot, and not far from Whitechapel underground, it’s actually a cracking spot to stay in, well placed for exploring London’s hipster hubs.

Ibis Budget London Whitechapel

Staff are welcoming and friendly, offering hairdryers (they don’t come in the room – this is budget travel in its purest form), information about meal times and tourist advice. Vending machines offer everything you could need when the kitchen’s closed – ready meals that you can microwave yourself, tea and coffee, medication, playing cards, shampoo etc. The hotel strikes me as the perfect place to book if you’re planning a huge night out in the big smoke – great location, somewhere safe to dump your stuff, a space for pre drinks, and no chance of going to bed hungry if you can’t face the kebab shop. Plus, you’re not paying extra for expensive fabrics and furniture that you wouldn’t be around to enjoy anyway. Rooms are stark (similar in atmosphere to an aeroplane toilet, decked out in lime green and white paint)  but brilliantly clean and functional. A small flat screen TV sits in the corner, there’s a kettle and ibis even provide some multi-purpose shampoo/body wash (though we have to say we prefer our own!) Crucially, beds are comfy, all-you-can-eat continental breakfast is good and there’s a decent air con unit. If you’ve got big plans and literally need somewhere to crash, I’d highly recommend the ibis buget – I’m yet to find prices this low in return for service this good elsewhere.

(Best rate with ibis Budget Summer UK offer is £81.70 for a double, breakfast not included)

Next up was the ibis Styles London Southwark Rose, ‘Styles’ being a step up in luxury from the ‘budget’ range.
Ibis Styles London Southwark Rose hotel
Another excellent location, not far from the buzzing Southbank, the Shard and Borough Market. Immediately, the up in price equals an up in comfort and style –  the lobby is smoother, a touch classier, the rooms carpeted (the crucial element missing from the ibis Budget hotel room, I later realised) with large flat screen TVs, calmer colourways, a, couple of throw cushions and more space. Again, beds are super comfy (though this one is bigger) and staff very agreeable. Downstairs, the breakfast bar is laid out in a clean, easy access fashion, the breakfast room generally warmer and more inviting than the clinical white space at the budget little brother. The food is much the same quality, though, all good.
(Best rate with ibis Styles Southwark Rose Summer offer is £110.50 for a double, breakfast included)
Finally, we tried out the Ibis Euston St Pancras – and as the name might suggest, it boasts an excellent location for business travellers, literally opposite the entrance to Euston station.
Ibis Euston hotel
For an economy hotel, standards quickly impress. Time has gone into creating a professional, welcoming space at reception, where jugs of flavoured water and sweets greet weary travellers, as the local time in business hubs around the world is projected onto the wall and staff happily check you in. Rooms have free wireless internet and satellite TV (a large flat screen at the foot of the bed) and the restaurant offers everything from pork belly bites and nachos (both very tasty) to curries and beef burgers.
Ibis Euston hotel
Michelin star dining this isn’t, nor does it claim to be – this is a base for families on the go, travellers in need of fuel before a big meeting and frequent flyers who need a great night’s sleep. Breakfast is a lovely affair, a great spread of continental delights alongside  all the piping hot ingredients for a decent Full English. If you do have time to spare, there’s a bar for coffee or cocktails – enjoy one of two before taking advantage of the wonderful location. It’s a few minutes on the bus (even less in a cab) to the delights of the West End, but walking in any direction will yield a great adventure.
In conclusion, I’d highly recommend any of the ibis hotels I stayed in. Quite obviously, the more you pay, the more luxurious your stay – but all offerings guarantee friendly, speedy service, cleanliness and fabulous locations.  If you seek extravagance, try elsewhere (with about £400 more in your back pocket), but if you resent paying for frilly extras then you can’t say fairer than ibis.
(Best rate with ibis London Euston St Pancras Summer UK offer is £122.55 for a double, breakfast not included)
Amy @ FashionBite xx

Amy Everett is FashionBite's food and travel editor, she also writes for national newspapers and magazines including the Guardian Travel, Stylist, Shortlist, Red, Cosmopolitan and more.

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