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

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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 …..

Mercure Kensington

An idea came to mind.  A quick Google search threw up  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.

One issue with 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 seems worth a look.

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Comments (57)

  • Worzel says:

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

    • Marc says:

      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.

      • Rob says:

        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 🙂

        • Jon says:

          I’m sure publishing it on the Internet will keep it nice and quiet!

      • 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.

  • 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.

  • Phillip says:

    Used 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).

  • Nick says:

    Haha, raffles you can’t be so naive 🙂

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

  • Tom euflyer says:

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

    • gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

      We still owe each other a Cisk!
      We could make a night of it.

  • Romano says:


    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,


    • 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!

  • 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..

    • Rob says:

      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?

  • Trevor says:

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

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