Travelling to London is always a challenge.
It took me a long time to fall in love with our capital city. At first I hated it. It was too big, too noisy, too confusing. People were rude, discourteous, unhelpful.
So I did what I usually do. I walked. Forget the Tube – it’s OK, and useful when in a rush, but I’m used to walking all around Manchester, so I decided not to treat London any differently. Anything that would only take half an hour to do, I would do. I would get my bearings, find my landmarks, see the buildings, sights. I still had my Oyster Card, so if I needed to, or was in a rush, I could hop on the Tube to get to my destination. But finally, I started to understand her. We came to an agreement. I would forgive her a little of her rudeness, she would forgive me a little of my naivety.
Of course, staying over in London still doesn’t get any easier. You want somewhere close to where you need to be, but half the time where you need to be is a tourist hotspot and the price is prohibitive. It’s finding somewhere close to where you need to be that’s not going to break the bank, but you won’t feel like you’re all but camping under the stars. And believe me I’ve stayed in those.
So on my last trip down south I thought I’d found a bit of a bargain. A boutique hotel, 15 minutes from Covent Garden (where my dinner booking was) and still for only £103 a night.
Say hello to The Academy Hotel.
Situated on Gower Street, it’s a fantastically central spot. And it’s less than a ten minute walk from Euston. Checking in, it was easy to see the space had a faded elegance about it. It had been described by a friend as looking a bit tired, and I could understand what they meant, but I don’t think it detracted from the venue.
If anything, I’d say it added to it a little. Made it feel a little more homey. More approachable, more lived in – less rigid and formal. Perhaps this was the softer colour scheme. The boutique hotels I’ve stayed in recently seem to lean heavily on blacks with striking hints of purple, pea greens and cobalt blues.
The softer colours were infinitely easier on the eye – warmer somehow.
I checked in and headed upstairs. This is something to note – there is no lift and with me recovering from a broken foot, I found it a little bit of a challenge. If you have mobility issues, this hotel isn’t going to be for you, though there is 24 hour porterage so if you need a hand with your bags, you’ve got it.
Good job really, as my room was on the top floor.
The room was a good size, bottles of water and apples on hand, and tea and coffee. There are extras that are available at a cost – nibbles etc – but as with any weary traveller, my main concerns were with the bathroom, and the bed.
The bathroom was small, clean and well formed if a little dated. So far so good.
To the bed.
Best nights sleep I’ve had away from home in a long time.
The bed wasn’t too hard, nor too soft, nor stingy with the pillows, enough duvet, but not so much that on a summer’s evening I was too warm. I slept like a baby.
No, wait. Better than a baby as I didn’t wake up for eight hours. Bliss. I awoke refreshed, relaxed and happy.
I’d like to tell you what breakfast was like, but I had a breakfast date elsewhere and so I merely had a coffee in my room while working before I checked out and headed off for my train home.
And that’s the thing, there will be a next time. See you in October.
This accommodation was paid for by myself.