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My review of the new Travelodge PLUS London City, Middlesex Street

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This is my review of the brand new Travelodge London City, which is on Middlesex Street.

It is the first new build to operate under the new Travelodge PLUS sub-brand.  I thought we should investigate!

Travelodge has had its problems …..

Travelodge was bought by Dubai International Capital in 2006 for £675m.  2006 was the worst possible time to pay a ‘top of the market’ price for a hotel group.  Following the financial crisis the company had big debts and no money for refurbishments.  More and more customers started to avoid the hotels, leaving less and less money in the pot, and the downward spiral continued.

In 2012 the business underwent a major restructuring.  The banks wrote off £235m on the condition that £55m was spent on refurbishments.  49 hotels were closed or sold to other operators and control of the company passed to the hedge funds who had bought up the junior debt.

Fast forward to 2018.  Travelodge once again has some momentum, although Premier Inn still has a better reputation.  In an attempt to woo back customers who swore they would never step into a Travelodge again, the brand has launched ‘Travelodge PLUS’.

What is Travelodge PLUS?

Travelodge PLUS launched in July 2018 as the new ‘superior’ Travelodge sub-brand.

You can learn more about Travelodge PLUS on its website here.  The format is being rolled out at London City, London Waterloo, Edinburgh Central, York Micklegate, Gatwick Airport Central and Brighton Seafront.

As London City has just opened, is the largest ever new-build Travelodge and is just a modest stroll from the HFP office, I though we should take a look.

Where is Travelodge London City?

Travelodge London City is on Middlesex Street, just behind Aldgate tube station (Circle, Metropolitan) and very close to Aldgate East (District).  It would be a handy base for a Friday or Saturday night out around Brick Lane or Shoreditch.

The hotel is a new build:

Travelodge PLUS London City review

What is interesting is that there is NO ‘Travelodge PLUS’ branding except for the sliding doors.  You just get the standard Travelodge logos on the exterior.

This is the exact boundary of the City vs East End in 2018.  Next door to the hotel on Middlesex Street is a run of Victorian buildings with the traditional East End mix of mom-and-pop restaurants, barbers, corner shops and Hilton Textiles!

The price you pay is not the price you pay

I paid £59 for my room.  For a Monday night in the City of London, albeit in August, that is cheap.  You will have to pay for extras though:

  • Breakfast – £8.95
  • Internet – £3 for 24 hours
  • Early check-in at noon – £10
  • Late check-out at 2pm – £10
  • Bringing a pet – £20

Apart from the internet fee, which I consider petty, I can’t complain about any of this.  £10 to guarantee a 2pm check-out is a decent deal, and you know you won’t have to start negotiating with the front desk with no guarantee of success.

Check in

Ho hum.  For novelty value I tried to use the automated machine but it could not dispense my key card due to a fault.  I went to the desk.  The clerk asked if I wanted to swap my ground floor room for one ‘on a higher floor’.  I said I would.  She tapped away and gave me a key for 106 – on the first floor.  Out of seven floors.

My room

“Unexciting” does not even begin to describe the tiny room.  However, it is fair to say that it did the job.  The bed and bedding was obviously brand new, there was a chair and desk with two UK plug sockets and there was a kettle with tea, coffee and milk.

Travelodge PLUS London City review

You got the typical ‘open wardrobe’ now turning up at all budget hotels:

Travelodge PLUS London City review

and

Travelodge PLUS London City review

The bathroom was totally acceptable although the floor looked very ‘hospital’-ish.  There was only a shower which worked perfectly well, although the floor tray was shallow and I was surprised it didn’t flood out.  There were no tissues which seemed a bit too cheap.

Travelodge PLUS London City review

I had a standard room.  However, you can pay an additional £20 or so for a SuperRoom, the group’s ‘premium economy’ room option.   Whilst the same size as standard rooms, these feature Hansgrohe Raindance showers, in-room Lavazza coffee pod machines, irons and ironing boards, a full length mirror, a hairdryer, larger desks and USB power points.

This is a press picture of a SuperRoom, not necessarily from London City:

Travelodge PLUS London City review

The communal area

A key part of the Travelodge PLUS experience is the large communal area.

This was, I admit, fairly smart.  It was more ‘grown up’ than the similar sort of communal area you find at a MOXY hotel.  No board games or coffee table books here.

Travelodge PLUS London City review

What you do get is smart bar, decently priced drinks for Central London (£13.50 for a bottle of wine or £8 for any two drinks during Happy Hour, 4pm to 6pm).

Travelodge PLUS London City review

It was a perfectly pleasant place to sit for an hour.

Breakfast

I was intrigued as to what £8.95 would get me in Central London.  Given that children under 15 eat free, a family of four would only pay £18 which is very reasonable in the world of £2.50 coffees.

It is served from 6am to 10am on weekdays and 7am to 11am at weekends.

Travelodge London City review

The offering was perfectly fine.  There wasn’t much choice – the usual bacon, eggs, sausages, beans, toast, cereal, fruit, yoghurt and that’s it – but my biggest gripe was that staff were slow at refilling the cooked items as you can see from the photos.  They will need to raise their game because when the hotel is full it is going to get a bit crazy given the limited space.  It would have made more sense to have an ‘island’ serving area so people could queue on both sides.

Travelodge London City breakfast review

If breakfast is not included in your rate you need to pay on the way in to the cafe.  You can’t charge it to your room.  This is a bit tacky in my view, although the upside was that I didn’t have to queue to check out as my bill was clear.

Conclusion

This was, I think, my first ever visit to a Travelodge.  Based on this experience, I won’t be rushing back – but, on the other hand, if a Travelodge PLUS was my only sensibly priced option then I would be happy to stay there.

If you are looking for a hotel around Whitechapel / Brick Lane then this is a decent option.  Given the excellent tube connections outside the door I would be tempted to recommend it to anyone looking for a cheap but clean and safe weekend hotel in London as pricing should be lower than during the week.

The Travelodge London City website is here if you want to learn more.  Note that Travelodge rooms cannot be booked via most online travel agents.

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

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Comments

  1. Looks ideal when you just need a cheap clean hotel room. No point in paying a fortune for a stay where you will spend 8 hours in the hotel, with 7.5 of them asleep.

  2. When are we going to get a review of an Easyhotel. Old Street for £35, double without window!

    • Hmm! The point of this review was to see if Travelodge really is now improved enough to appeal to the core HFP demographic. I think we can safely say easyHotel is not there yet.

    • ankomonkey says:

      Or a Comfort Inn? I stayed at a London one for work once to get a Kaligo Avios bonus and it made this Travelodge Plus look like The Ritz.

    • I once stayed in a windowless room at the Tune Hotel in Liverpool. It was fine perfectly fine once you get used to it. In it’s most basic form it was about £20 for a night, so if you need just a bed and a shower (no TV, no internet, bring your own towel) in a city centre position I had no problem with it.

      • I think anytime you can get a clean private room, in a decent location, for the price you’d pay for a bed in a hostel dorm, is a decent result.

        Bring your own towel is a bit stingy though

        • Wally1976 says:

          2 years ago I got a private double room with ensuite at a hostel for £35 a night for 3 nights In Nice for the Monaco Grand Prix (when ‘normal’ hotel prices were through the roof). It was perfectly fine and enabled me to spend my budget on great seats for the GP! Can’t remember if I had to take my own towel (don’t think so)!

        • Nothing wrong with a hostel stay, especially if you can get a private room for a decent price (some hostels seem to charge huge amounts for them).

          One of my favourite places I’ve stayed ever was a hostel in Barcelona

      • RussellH says:

        No towels is one step too far, particularly when you are not warned in advance.

        I was put up in a private room in a Meininger Hostel in Berlin on a trade fair + educational visit a few years ago. Arrived about 0930 after sleeper from Bruxelles (which did have towels in the cabin, but Deutsche Bahn did not go as far as donating a cabin with shower on a free ticket. I was almost in the shower when I noticed that there were no towels in the room. I phoned down to reception (yes there was a phone in the room) to be told that towels required a €5 deposit – I had to get dressed and go back to reception for a towel.

        The other tour operators staying there were French; they were just as unimpressed. Later, at the trade fair I won a Meiniger T-shirt. Ironic!!

  3. Brian Dromey says:

    Can’t see what’s PLUS about this to be honest, unless its that they haven’t leased the ground floor space to COSTA?

  4. wetboy1uk says:

    Travelodge is still cheaper than most premier inns. God some people just need to mona about PETTY little things. get a grip. Are you saying the demographics of people who read head for points are snobs? I stay in travleodges but look at this website. Seems there are less about point on this site and more about snobbery.

  5. I will be staying at the Gatwick one (after a recommendation on here) next week before a flight out early the next morning. Family of 4 for £38. Can’t complain at that price for some sleep. Won’t be using any of the other facilities.

    • Wally1976 says:

      We stayed there a couple of years ago and, from memory, it was fine. Used the Courtyard on Marriott points last year and will be again this year (17.5k for a family room on the new points regime) which is walking distance to the South terminal.

  6. Any recommendations for a reasonably priced hotel this Saturday night in the Waterloo area?

    All the IHG/Hilton offerings seem a bit pricy. I’d rather save my IHG points too.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      I’ve seen the Novotel on Southwark Street at good prices, about a 10 min walk to Waterloo.

  7. We stayed in a PLUS room at the Farringdon one for £100 on a Saturday night – oldish building but interior had been fully refurbished and good aircon and sound-proofing. Rob forgot to mention the 2 free mini KitKats and shower gel and hand wash dispensers, as previously used to only give you one small soap. NOTE You can usually include breakfast in your booking rate! This one is a between tube stations so a longish walk or Bus to either Farringdon or Kings Cross but is right by the Royal Mail Mount Pleasant – where their new museum and underground railway is (worth a quirky visit – provided no too tall!). Not bad for the price!

  8. Sorry to divert the conversation to one of their major competitors… I know that there isn’t an official loyalty program for Premier Inn, but I may be booking regular (but inexpensive) rooms in the near future, are there any benefits at all for making regular bookings? – Or any advantage for me to coordinate these rather than letting others take ownership of their own bookings?

  9. OT – Best Western Rewards warning – if you have changed your preferred airline scheme (eg UA to BA) the website might show your change as done BUT it may actually not be your “Preferred” scheme – so may not be the one they post points to! Seems you can only do that by phone and they won’t do anything else once miles have posted. Also if posting to BA your £20 voucher from the recent offer may not arrive for 1-2 months as they wait for BA to “confirm” after each stay before issuing their own extra rewards.

  10. Alan Wan says:

    Great review

    I haven’t stayed in a Travelodge in years having vowed never again. If forced to stay overnight for business I’d rather get out of bed early and suffer a long morning journey than stay in one. After reading the review I’m still not convinced it’s worth staying.

  11. Last time I stayed in a Doubletree there were no tissues in the bathroom. There were a multitude of small issues during that stay but I felt that was really the tipping point for me. Obviously no reply from management to my email after the stay (would have complained at checkout but the lady took my key card and ran away before I had the chance to say a word).

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