This post was such a long time coming that it’s now a tribute to the sadly-departed Earl’s Court EasyHotel
Sometimes you’ve just got to slum it. Sometimes you’re working away and to avoid pissing your daily rate up the wall, you have to deal with the lack of conveniences a traditional hotel room provides (kettle, TV remote, free wifi, ample mirrors), bite the bullet and stay for around £20-50 a night (a window at the higher price). Which for your own clean room in central London is, frankly, amazing.
Set up by Stelios himself, there are seven EasyHotels in the city – more dotted around the UK and the world – and I usually stayed at the Earl’s court one during the week, unless I had spectacularly failed to organize in time and had to go for South Kensington or Paddington.
The location was pretty spectacular and there are still a few budget hotels in that spot: notably a Premier Inn and a Point.A. Walk 10 minutes east and you’re among the museums, with the accompanying shops and restaurants. There’s a Big Tesco 5 minutes’ stroll west, and Earl’s Court Road to your south with KFC, Franco Manca, Nando’s, Wagamama – not glam but reliable bed-picnic material.
Earl’s Court tube station is 5 minutes’ walk, with a Starbucks (also Costa if you’re nasty, Nero if you’re fancy) on the way and then 20 minutes on the District line to Richmond – you may well work somewhere else, so I understand this particular fact may not be super useful to you.
As for what I learned:
- You may have your room too hot or too cold. The heating is adjusted by actually asking reception to have the heating turned up and down. So flip between the two until you get sick of asking (depending on how far your room is from reception) and settle for too hot because you can occasionally stand in the hall if it gets a bit much and if it’s too cold you can’t get out of bed in the morning. Opening a window (if you’ve paid for one) won’t help, because you can’t.
- Get used to white noise. Something hums all night in most of the rooms, whether it’s the heating/aircon vent in the ceiling, your neighbour’s bathroom fan, or some other mystery machinery. Very rarely you can get a member of staff to turn your noisy vent off, but then when you ask his colleague the next night he will tell you that this is absolutely not possible…
- The tiny bathrooms are actually good. The ability to brush your teeth at the sink while peeing AND shave your legs with your foot on the bog – kind of convenient to be honest. Although the shower is very close to the bathroom mirror so you can see your mascara running down your face real close. Not for everyone.
- The power sockets are never in convenient locations. So no overnight charging if you want to be within touching distance of your phone (I do). This, coupled with the no-bedside-table situation, leads to having your (not charging) phone on your bed and then scaring the absolute SHIT out of yourself when you kick it off in the night – both from the noise and the terror of having potentially broken it.
- Packing up to leave is really easy. There’s no anxiety over having left something in a drawer somewhere, there aren’t any places to put things. Is the floor clear? You’re probably fine.
Of course, I didn’t immediately fall in love. After the first week, I swore I couldn’t do it, it was too much for me (too little), so I tried a few other places and ultimately came crawling back, fully assimilated by the end of the summer, incorporating orange into my outfits.
I got used to being a bit picky and walked out of newly-assigned rooms to get a new one a number of times: Pillows directly under curtains so they dangle on your face in the night? Nah. Huge space behind the head of the bed? Super nope. Room directly under reception with never-ending clomping overhead? Pass.
I grew happy with the occasional chilly snickers out of the vending machine for breakfast/dinner, I became very familiar with the bed picnic and when I went home for the weekends I downloaded loads of shit to watch on my laptop on the nights I left work at a reasonable hour.
By the end of my 6-month contract at work, the rotating group of about 5 members of hotel staff knew my name when I got there on Monday nights, knew my favourite (quieter) rooms, and occasionally offered me a massive accessible room – I felt like Queen of the Earl’s Court EasyHotel.
Disclaimer: I’m a fan of a hard bed, flat pillow and paper-thin duvet so this may have been an EasySell.
Explore the rest of their cheap options, including the newly-opened Ipswich EasyHotel and lean into it.