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December 8 2013 Latest news:
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Looking for a hotel that's clean and comfortable but won't break the bank? Karen Bowerman tested a budget brand that's recently opened several hotels in London...
Through the round window, over stacks of terracotta chimney pots, I could see old and new London: the illuminated dome of St Pauls cathedral, the glittering shard, the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf and the gherkin squatted in between.
I was on the fourth floor of the Tune Hotel at Kings Cross, in room 420, (worth noting, since I peeked into a few others and mine definitely had the monopoly on space).
Kings Cross is an area of London known for its budget and backpacker accommodation. The Tune is the most recent addition to the fold, constructed in an old TUC building on Grays Inn Road.
The philosophy of the brand is simple and similar to Easyhotel budget accommodation where you pay for any extras, but here you get the impression style still matters too.
My room was white with a pale green signature wall. A large mirror ran above the bed. There were glass, retro bedside tables and square, inset lights: all rather classy.
Storage was limited to a rail with a handful of coat hangers but there was plenty of room for an overnight stay. And most importantly, the hotel is well placed for visitors to London. Its a couple of minutes walk from Kings Cross railway station, St Pancras International (for Eurostar) and on several bus routes.
If you prefer to sightsee by bicycle, there are around 15 Boris bikes available for rent just a few streets away while nearby attractions include the British Library, Camden with its famous flea market, the chic shops of Islington and Londons free Wellcome Collection, home to more than two million items, many associated with the study of the history of medicine. Theres also Londons canal museum, hidden in backstreets, just a short walk away.
And jump on a tube and you can be almost anywhere in London within 50 minutes Westminster, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye are easily accessible for a day out.
If you want to eat closer to home, there are several cafes (some offering internet access) fast food joints and bars. At the bottom of Grays Inn Road (near Kings Cross station) there are also two Indian restaurants next door to each other. The night I stayed, both were offering a starter, curry and rice for 7.95 per person and both were packed!
Of course, when it comes to booking a hotel room in London budget doesnt necessarily mean cheap. Tune doesnt offer breakfast or any in room tea or coffee making facilities, youll be charged up 15 for early check-in or a late check-out, and extras such as TV and toiletries can soon add up.
But if you cut out most of the extras, dine out for dinner and eat breakfast on the go, then Tune could be your answer. Its an easy, affordable way to spend a night or two in the capital...
Tune Hotel, Kings Cross London, www.tunehotels.com