Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bargain Basement: Regent Palace

If you are looking for an inexpensive place to stay in the centre of all the action in London, the Regent Palace (Piccadilly Circus, enquiries: 44 (0)870 400 8703) might be the place for you. The hotel practically sits on Piccadilly Circus, where the action seems to be 24 hours.

Sleepless in Soho

I was introduced to the Regent Palace when I started a position down in Soho, five minutes away from Piccadilly Circus. Having stared at the back of the hotel for months, the time came when my husband and I needed to work some late nights down in London, and staying across the street seemed to be ideal. We could come and go as we please.

The Regent Palace is a peculiar could be a wonderful place to stay, but for some reason, the management have decided to run the place more like a zoo. Check in is chaotic at best, partly because the hotel staff seems clueless and lacklustre, partly because they attract tons of tourists because of the low prices of the rooms. It's almost as if the 24-hour party all night atmosphere has spilled over into the lobby.

They have divided this old art deco building into rooms that sometimes seem no bigger than a closet. Mind you, they have tons of different types of rooms, some en suite, some not, and offer accommodation for the single traveller and the family alike, including interconnecting rooms. You can book accommodation with or without breakfast.

I can't say I highly recommend the Regent Palace. On one occasion, it took us an hour to get into our room at 2 am in the morning, due to lock problems and staff incompetence. It is sometimes be difficult to sleep in the hotel, due to the noise outside, and the packs of kids running up and down the hall yelling at each other in Italian, German, whatever, at 4 am.

On the positive side, the rooms, while small, are clean, and comfortable. There are plenty of places to eat nearby that are open past traditional hours, and staying at Piccadilly Circus does put you close to the heart of London attractions, especially Regent Street, Oxford Circus, Covent Garden and Leicester Square.

People who are travelling on a budget who want to be close to Soho and the "all night" aspect of London may enjoy their stay here. We have paid as low as £50.00 per night for a pays to check, or to call direct for the best prices.

Marks out of 10 for Regent Palace: 3.5

Top Tips!

* It may be beneficial to request a room close to the ground floor. The lifts at Regent Palace are slow and unreliable, causing long, long waits more often than not. I've noticed many people give up in disgust and take the stairs to their rooms.

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