Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Base2Stay Kensington, London

23 Dec 2009 by Tom Otley

What’s it like? Base2Stay is a cheap and cheerful brand about to open its second property in Liverpool in summer 2010 with a third one planned for London’s Soho. The Kensington property opened in 2006 and still looks smart and business-like, and very different from its gimmicky name. It’s clearly popular with leisure travellers, and offers eight room types including one with bunk beds, which might well discourage business travellers of the suit-wearing variety, yet it is great value for money, and has everything a corporate guest might need for either a short or long stay in London.

Where is it? A three-minute walk from Earl’s Court Underground station in Kensington, which provides direct links with Heathrow airport and central London via the Piccadilly and District lines.

Room facilities One of the many tag lines of Base2Stay is “the hotel with no hidden extras” and it certainly seems that way. The prices on the website include VAT and extras are avoidable or clearly marked. The hotel offers free wifi or secure high-speed broadband internet (£7.95/24 hours or £2.95 for one hour), 20-inch to 32-inch LCD flatscreen TVs, 30 pay-per-view films at £2 each, a free music library, games, radio and free internet access via TV, a workstation with ample power points including European 220v, direct dial phones with voicemail, and laptop safes.

The hotel has a 24-hour reception and concierge service, and in the rooms there is air conditioning and a mini-kitchen with a kettle, free fair trade tea and coffee, a large tea pot and good-sized mugs, a fridge and a microwave. My bathroom had a decent shower and Keiji aromatherapy toiletries, while the door of the room had a security spy hole and double lock, a hairdryer and, on request, an iron and ironing board. Parking is available nearby.

I stayed on a Monday night, and the only noise I heard was from within the hotel, which has a reassuring number of fire doors, but that make a fair amount of noise as they are opened and shut by guests returning to their rooms late at night. I tested this out by opening and shutting them at 7am the next morning.

The hotel also offers the use of a single bedroom for £15 per hour for those arriving before check-in or who need it after check-out (11am). Internet is included.

Restaurants and bars There is no restaurant, simply a vending machine with items at high street prices, but the hotel has arranged reductions of up to 30 per cent at some of the dozens of restaurants around Earl’s Court, including the Italian chain Strada, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, noodle bar Wagamama and the Lebanese restaurant Orjowan.

Business facilities None.

Leisure facilities None.

Verdict A well thought-out product that’s good value – although for business travellers the prices rise considerably during the week. It’s a shame about the name, but it probably helps with marketing for international leisure travellers.

Fact file

How many rooms? There are 67 studio rooms in eight categories – Bijou Single (two of these), Single (15), Bunk Bed (four), Bijou Double (four), Double (seven), Double/Twin (18), Superior (13), Deluxe (four). Confusingly, my reservation said I was in a King, but it was a Twin.

Room highlights Free wifi (or inexpensive high-speed broadband), free tea and coffee, and a vending machine in the corridor selling items at a reasonable price.

Price Internet rates for a midweek stay in February started from £132 for a Double/Twin room.

Contact Base2Stay Kensington, 25 Courtfield Gardens, Kensington, London; tel +44 (0)20 7244 2255; base2stay.com

Tom Otley

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