How I got very drunk and discovered London hotel ‘day rooms’

Last Thursday I was at a major London charity event with a friend.  Unfortunately, this event was serving fruit flavoured cocktails which appeared to contain disproportionately large amounts of alcohol.  The net result was that I ended up drunker than I have been for a l-o-n-g time.

I got an Uber home, spent a couple of hours asleep on the sofa, wandered upstairs in the early morning for another couple of hours sleep, was woken as usual by the kids at 6am and somehow managed to get myself into a taxi to take my daughter to school.  By 9am I was sitting in Pret on Kings Road pondering my options for the day ahead.

Frankly, I needed sleep.  The house was out of the question as my wife was working from home and my little boy only does a half-day at nursery on Friday.  The logical answer was to redeem some points for a hotel room, but I would be looking at a 2pm check-in.  That was five hours away, which was far too long …..

An idea came to mind.  A quick Google search threw up between9and5.com.  I had never heard of this site before but it was offering day rooms in a large number of London hotels at very good prices.  (They actually cover hotels in 50 countries.)  Since you paid at the hotel and they didn’t want a credit card number, it clearly wasn’t a scam.

At £59, the Mercure in Kensington (next to the Cromwell Hospital as you can see in the picture) seemed good value.  I booked it.

Mercure Kensington

One issue with between9and5.com when you need the room immediately is that they do not have access to the hotel booking systems.  All they do is email the hotel with your request.  The Mercure is not exactly over-staffed and, unsurprisingly, when I arrived 30 minutes later my booking had not been picked up.

However, all was fine.  They took my details from the email confirmation that I was sent and created a booking for me.  I was given a room key and all was agreed, at the £59 price originally quoted.

My room (611) was incredibly small.  Potentially the 2nd or 3rd smallest room I have ever stayed in, anywhere.  I don’t know if all the rooms are so small or not.  I didn’t hand over my Le Club Accorhotels number until the room had been allocated – perhaps if they knew I was Platinum I would have got something bigger.

Not that it mattered for what I had in mind!  I had a couple of hours sleep, went to Starbucks in the Cromwell Road Sainsbury for lunch, and then even managed to do 3 hours of HFP work before 5pm came around – which allows me to offset the £59 as a business expense ….

The room itself, whilst small, had everything you would need – tea and coffee equipment, free biscuits, two free bottles of water and free wi-fi for all guests.  Despite the space, they had even squeezed a bath into the bathroom.  The public areas of the hotel are totally acceptable too.  Unless you intend to be out for every waking minute of your trip, though, I wouldn’t recommend it for more than one night purely on the grounds of space.

Even better, I earned Le Club Accorhotels points for my booking!  None of the bonus promotions posted – possibly because it wasn’t an overnight stay (it posted as ‘0 nights’) – but I did get 297 base points.  That is worth €6 of Accor vouchers if I ever get up to the 2,000 point minimum.  If not, I will convert them into 297 airline miles.

So, I learned something new.  If you are looking for a London hotel to use as a day room – frankly, they make decently priced office space if wi-fi is free, as it is with Mercure – then between9and5.com seems worth a look.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Rob, perhaps you could do a follow-up article on how to “train-up” a wife to be as understanding as yours! :)

    • Had a clown for breakfast, eh?
      “Frankly, I needed sleep. The house was out of the question as my wife was working from home”
      He can’t sleep at home (a highly noisy and disruptive activity) when his wife is working there.
      The logical answer to a hungover is redeeming points for a hotel… I would like to have problems like this.

      • Let’s just say it was the worth the £59 (less the tax write-off!) not to have to go home and admit to the state I was in :-)

      • Lady London says:

        Erm… Rob’s state was clearer much earlier than this. The big clue was the 2 hours sleeping on the sofa after getting home. Very considerate, I would say. Definitely the way to go.

    • czechoslovakia says:

      +1. You the man, Rob.

  2. Think Square says:

    Occasionally I’ve accidentally put the same date twice into the Hilton site and found it offers day use. The cheapest it is offering in London for today is Hilton Olympia for £57. You get the room until 6pm too.

  3. Phillip says:

    Used between9and5.com a few years back to book a day room at the Sheraton Frankfurt airport. I found them pretty efficient although you can generally get really cheap last minute rooms for a full day anyway (maybe less so in London).

  4. Haha, raffles you can’t be so naive :-)

    You do realise people (men) who hire day hotels, don’t do it for sleep!!!!

  5. Delighted to hear getting smashed is the required precursor to effective blog writing. Will get onto it.

  6. Raffles,

    I like the human glimpse behind HFP.

    Definitely recognise the ‘pondering my options’ feeling after burning the candle at both ends (late work event followed by <6am toddler wake up call).

    Funnily enough I am writing this from the Mercure – booked without realising their €160 promotion had just ended – and they definitely have bigger rooms! The wifi is also unusually fast (I'm getting 44mbps right now). Having previously hired day offices with Regus I'm also thinking that some of the day rooms seem very good value in price comparison. Assuming you are not having meetings that is… would feel a little having your business meeting perched on a bed.

    More generally: love the blog, Raffles, it's really got me into collecting and using flight and hotel points.

    All the best,

    RC

    • The_Real_A says:

      I was once interviewed for a graduate position perched on a bed in a hotel room… There was only one chair and although offered i thought it best to decline as it might improve my chances. I was also offered a tea from the in room tray!

      All above board, but rather odd looking back. I didnt get the job!

  7. Scott Nelson says:

    Any London hotels that come to mind with amazing spa facilities included?

    Day spa’s in London are £100+ per person, I’m wondering if this could be an gold alternative..

    • Off the top of my head, I don’t think so. The ‘poshest’ hotels they have are Threadneedles (5 star but in the City so not a big on spa facilities) and the Crowne Plaza The City, which again is not big on spa.

    • Lady London says:

      The Berkeley used to have some kind of day package that included access to the rooftop swimming pool. They also used to have a gym that I think had an option for the pool too. Not well known but recommended by highly reliable sources. No idea if they still do it but could be worth looking into.

    • gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

      The Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow Hotel has the Pegasus spa.
      It certainly offers day rates, as I’ve almost been tricked into booking a room there based on the room rate only to discover that it was day only.

      What you’ll get access to as a day-stayer, I don’t know.
      It also depends on how you define London. Does Heathrow count?

  8. Guess you learned something else new too – beware of fruit flavoured cocktails!

  9. This must be the funniest HFP article I’ve read for a while… Maybe you’re into something here. Raffles’ weekly confession blog? :-)

  10. Don’t 297 of base points convert to like half of that for airport miles on Accor points?

    Anyway, smallest room I’ve ever been in was at a mercure Paddington. Plus I’ve never seen my platinum status get any better room in any ibis, mercure or novotel (never tried a Sofitel, but reports are good for those)

    • My Platinum status has sometimes got me Privilege rooms at Mercures – ibis rooms are all pretty much the same, so there is no real chance of a upgrade anyway.

      297 points convert to half that for BA, but Iberia still has a 1:1 conversion rate…

    • I suggest you use their online check-in feature, which enables the hotel to prepare your room beforehand and make any special arrangement. Even at Ibis, I’m always given a room on high floor with a view (last weekend at Excel for example).

  11. Is it really wise to publish that you appear to be evading tax by claiming personal expenses as business expenses (regardless of whether you can justify it to HMRC)!?

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not taking some sort of moral high ground on the matter, it’s a tiny amount, I’m sure it’s completely normal and it was entertaining!

    • I pay for all of my office space on a day to day basis. It is no different to paying Regus for a day office and then sleeping on the floor. Just less comfy.

      • I’d personally say getting a hotel room because your wife seems to have forbidden you from getting drunk and you want to hide it from her is a bit different!

        • plastikman says:

          wholly, necessarily, exclusively. It did cross my mind too!

        • Callum 11:00am.
          ‘getting a hotel room because your wife seems to have forbidden you from getting drunk and you want to hide it from her’ .

          Where’s the evidence?

          • Well unless I’m going mad, the article initially talked about hiding the drunkenness from his wife – the way it was phrased implied (hence the “seems”) that she wouldn’t have approved. I can’t think of any other reason why sleeping in his own bed wasn’t an option because his wife was working from home either – unless she is a drum teacher or something!

            Not that I understand why you are finding this so objectionable. I hoped I made it clear that I wasn’t having a go at him or looking down at him for it.

            Though if an MP claimed a hotel on expenses (at an equivalent amount to whatever the tax write-off from this expense would be) to recover from a drinking session I’m not sure people would be so supportive!

          • I wasn’t hiding it, but neither was I keen to be in the house to remind her of my condition – or to be dragged into playing with my little boy when he got home at lunchtime! You are clearly not married Callum!

          • Waribai says:

            “You are clearly not married” Haha :)

  12. Hillary says:

    Cocktails make people drunk (Duh)

    I’ve already been home, slept in bed, and my tuned-in wife didn’t smell any drink or realise I was still in the aftermath of a drunken stupor. I’m so tired that I desperately need sleep, but instead of going home, (remember I’m so tired) I’ll get on the laptop, search for day rooms, find an appropriate website, search for a hotel, do a booking, GET TO THE HOTEL, take a “day room” (nudge nudge) use it for a whole two hours @ £29.50 an hr. Apparently entirely Logical.

    If the wife every takes a cursory glance at either the blog or the credit card bill, that’ll work out FAR better that just saying I was drunk and need to go to bed.

    • This seemed like a totally normal course of action for me to take, to be honest! If you look back through HfP, you will see that I often book hotels in sales to use as office space because it is cheaper than paying for an office. Most recently I had a few days in the Holiday Inn Kensington opposite the Mercure, for instance.

      Working out of hotel rooms is standard behaviour for me. The alternative, apart from day offices, is paying £800 or so per month for a permanent office which I don’t need all the time. We are talking central London costs here remember. There is also variety in working out of different places – I have a few Hi Wembley days lined up soon at 10k IHG points.

      Getting to the hotel is a doddle, Uber picked me up outside Pret and took me there. And home again. For no cost.

    • Lady London says:

      Actually it will work out far better.

      As I know from colleagues who’ve let slip such things over the years and seem to have the knack of staying married :-)

  13. Hillary 10:06am / Callum 9:48, maybe you should both meet up-you seem well matched!

    • I don’t think getting together based on a mutual very slight “objection” (for want of a better word) to a stranger booking a hotel day room is particularly wise!

      • Come on, you’ve probably seen people get together on flimsier pretexts!

      • Maybe you could get a ‘day room’ together!

        • Waribai says:

          This must be one of the most entertaining threads I’ve read in a while. Evidently, a clear (inevitably) disconnect in logic between the married and unmarried folk!
          I’m struggling to think of a married couple I know where the wife would say “Oh dear, sorry to hear you’ve got a bad hangover. Why don’t you sleep it off while I look after the child!”

  14. Le Club Accorhotels have just, without informing cardholders (mine is only a Gold), raised their threshold for transfer from 2000 to 4000 points. As late as summer 2014 there was no minimum at all – points became Avios automatically within a few days. Their customer “services” (in Paris I guess, though there is an 0800 contact number) have been promising to transfer the 501 points I earned last November to Avios, but keep making excuses not to do so – their latest advice 2 days ago was “contact Avios – it’s their problem”. I did – awaiting a response from Avios. Wouldn’t be an issue if Accor points didn’t expire after a year – mine will disappear this November as I’ve no intention of using their hotels again after all their empty promises.

  15. Hope the head in feeling better Rob,

    Re getting drunk quickly, in my experience it is more likely to be my age than the strength of the cocktails. Remember you are not a student anymore.

  16. As a Tax question was brought up…
    In regards to the tax side of points collecting is there anything to pay on the points you earn?

    Probably over thinking things!

    Example:
    So you buy something from Tesco to Sell on eBay, you should pay tax on profit or file a loss if you happen to sell for less than brought?

    How about if say you bought a CD from Tesco for £10, Sold for £9 on ebay (Paid ebay fees say 90p) – You’ve made a money loss of £1.90.
    However, you also gained 200 Tesco points worth on paper £2.00
    Final +/- Up £0.10?

    Example:
    As above, you claim the £59 as an expense.
    You’ve gained a €6 bonus for staying there, so should you expense actually be £56ish?

    • It is often said that points have “cash” values of 0.001p. The value only comes later at redemption and is based on the value placed on the redemption by the provider at the point of redemption.

      Therefore, at the time of earning, their value is essentially nil.

      Their subsequent value depends on the redemption scheme at the time, whether or not they are expired and the provider’s terms and conditions.

      • Giving the points a cash value is a legal requirement although I am not entirely sure why. It may be linked to contract law (or may not) ie you have to give something a value in order for the terms surrounding it to be legally valid. Promises linked to free things don’t hold much water under UK law.

    • The Revenue does not tax airline miles or loyalty points. This is specifically made clear somewhere on the Revenue website.

      Even the USA does not tax miles, and this is the country that makes you pay full tax on the value of any competition prize you win!

  17. The_Real_A says:

    As an aside i always find Accor really good at looking after Platinum members (gained via AMEX) – i have numerous times been allowed to check in at 10-11am in London (i usually add a note to the booking)

  18. Off topic… or at least seems so given the way the conversation has now moved :p
    This hotel is run by the London Town hotels group (http://www.londontowngroup.com/hotels.htm).
    I stayed in one of the smallest rooms I have ever stayed in at the Mercure London Paddington, one of their hotels, and from reading reviews of the Indigo London Paddington the rooms there are very small too. I would avoid all the hotels run by this group as their philosophy seems to be to build the rooms and public spaces as small as possible. I am surprised that Accor/IHG allow them to be part of the brand as there is not much of a hotel experience when you can’t walk around the bed or open a suitcase comfortably in the room.

    • I’ve stayed in the Indigo Paddington (ie used it for an office) and, yes, the rooms are small – albeit well designed and quite funky. The hotel does have a decent amount of public space which helps offset it, although I admit it is not my top recommendation in the area.