Times are hard and the newspapers are full of tales of business travellers “downgrading” to budget accommodation. What these stories ignore is that the majority of business travellers in the UK are staying in these properties anyway.
Premier Inn is certainly expanding at a prodigious pace – the company already has 500 hotels in the UK and Ireland, with another 11 slated to open in the next 18 months. Nowhere is this more evident than in London, where in the immediate vicinity of King’s Cross there are three properties.
The Premier Inn Euston was recently reopened after an extensive refurbishment. It is on Euston Road almost opposite the British Library and a two-minute walk from St Pancras International. The entrance is around the corner on the quieter Dukes Road, opposite St Pancras Parish Church.
Having stayed in several Premier Inns in recent years, it’s interesting how the model has been perfected for business travellers. Check-in is swift, but friendly and informative, pointing out the location of the restaurant and where the lifts are.
The hotel is compact and sensibly laid out, with signs asking guests to close doors quietly to avoid disturbing others, carpeted corridors, and spacious rooms with double-glazed windows to keep noise to a minimum. Beds are comfortable and the bathrooms have powerful showers and good-sized baths, as well as the more economical option of a Lux shower gel/shampoo dispenser on the wall instead of individual toiletries.
Premier Inn has a “good night’s sleep guarantee”, so when I opened the door to my room and found it smelly, I didn’t hesitate in going back to reception and asking to be moved, and they immediately found me another room. After showering I went down to the bar and restaurant, which is a welcoming space with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto Euston Road (not as awful as it sounds since the building is raised above the pavement and looks across to the British Library).
The restaurant has a good choice of affordable food, with the “chef’s guest pie” changing daily and available for £8.30 (it’s served with fresh vegetables, mashed potato and a jug of onion gravy). Alternatively, there’s hand-battered haddock fillet cooked crisp, with peas, skin-on fries and tartare sauce for £7.90.
During the day there is also a Costa Coffee shop and, in the morning, the superb breakfast for £7.50, which is the best value in any London hotel, offering everything from a choice of Kellogg’s cereals and Twinings tea, to porridge made on request and a full cooked buffet. (Annoyingly, you can’t sign drinks and meals to the room unless you have a business account, in order to allow employers to keep a track of what is spent.)
There is wired internet access in the rooms (charged at £9 for 24 hours) and limited car parking available nearby for £16 per night (the hotel is within the London congestion zone).
VERDICT In the budget-hotel sector, Premier Inn is hard to beat. Simply excellent value and a great location here at Euston for St Pancras International.
HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 266 rooms, all with good soundproofing, although perhaps ask for one which is not facing Euston Road (busy 24 hours a day).
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS Internet access and small televisions with a choice of satellite channels. (Wired internet access is available for £9 for 24 hours.) Tea and coffee-making facilities are also welcome although there is no fridge.
CONTACT 1 Dukes Road; tel +44 (0)870 238 3301; premierinn.com.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in October started from £114 for a Double room.
OTHER LONDON PREMIER INNS King’s Cross, Southwark, County Hall, Hammersmith, Hampstead, City Tower Hill, Tower Bridge and many others.
By Tom Otley