If your travels take you to London City Airport or the Excel exhibition centre, you will be interested in a new rash of hotels which has sprung up in the area. I popped down earlier in the week to take a look.
If you take the Docklands Light Railway to Royal Albert – the first stop after Excel – and walk west, towards Excel, you come upon a strange little road.
On one side is a watersports centre and the dock. On the other side are four hotels as you can see in the picture below:
In order, walking from Royal Albert DLR:
Holiday Inn Express London Excel (about 90 seconds walk)
Travelodge London Excel
Hampton by Hilton London Docklands (about 3 minutes walk)
They are literally next door to each other – there are no other businesses on the road.
The Holiday Inn Express and Travelodge have been open for a while.
Moxy is the new joint venture between Marriott and Ikea which we wrote about here. I asked Marriott for a tour of this first UK property but they declined, so I can’t recommend it because I haven’t seen inside. It has only been open for a couple of months, however, so it should be in good shape. The Moxy website is here.
This picture shows the Moxy on the right and the Hampton on the left:
The Hampton by Hilton London Docklands (website here) is brand new. It has only been open for a couple of weeks and still has that ‘new hotel’ smell. In fact, in places, the ‘new hotel’ smell is a bit overwhelming!
I got to see a room in the Hampton and it was very pleasant. It’s not huge, and this room – being on a corner – presumably has more daylight than most. It is well decorated with a decent desk and a ‘proper’ ergonomic desk chair. Tea and coffee is provided. Toiletries are from dispensers but you can’t have everything.
As a Hampton, breakfast is free for all guests. The public areas are very pleasant – spacious and with a separate hot desking area with printers, newspapers and large communal tables with plug sockets. It is a bit like a WeWork hot desking area and I could imagine myself happily working there instead of in my room if I was a guest.
A reflagged DoubleTree
The Hampton is literally 90 seconds walk from the DoubleTree by Hilton. This is the old Ramada hotel at Excel which has been rebranded (and hopefully refurbished, as it was a bit worn when I stayed there a few years ago). Behind this is a Premier Inn and a decent pub, if you want to eat or drink somewhere that is not a hotel.
This is a photo from the window in the Hampton room showing the DoubleTree and Premier Inn on the other side of the bridge:
What I didn’t know is that you can walk to City Airport from the north side of the dock. And I did.
If you are the Holiday Inn Express, Travelodge, Moxy or Hampton you need to walk past the Hampton and follow the road which leads under the elevated road. This brings you out opposite the DoubleTree.
If you heading to Excel, keep on walking past the DoubleTree and the Aloft hotel and you are there.
Down by the dockside next to the DoubleTree is a pedestrian swing bridge which runs underneath the road bridge across the dock. Cross here and you find yourself on the perimiter of the airport by the Jet Centre.
The entire walk to the terminal from the Hampton took around 15 minutes. To be frank, I wouldn’t want to walk with luggage and I wouldn’t want to walk it in the dark, but at 5pm it was straightforward and quite interesting.
Taking the DLR to the airport from Excel or Royal Albert takes a long time because you need to take a train back to Canning Town and then change to the other branch. Walking is quicker.
The Hampton by Hilton is currently selling for around £65 on a weekend. Given that the hotel is brand new, you get breakfast included and you’re only a couple of minutes from a DLR station, it isn’t a bad option for a low cost London stay. Be quite clear that this is still a pretty bleak part of London to hang around, but for the money you can’t complain.
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