Jul132015

Rock history and a view at Holiday Inn London Camden Lock

Holiday Inn London Camden Lock has attitude. Attitude in a good way. After a week in luxury London hotels, where most men are walking around in a suit and tie and I am going in and out of the hotel lobby in shorts and sandals on hot July days, arriving at the unpretentious Holiday Inn Camden Lock was like a breath of fresh air.

For a tourist, Camden Town is a part of London you might love or hate. I do not recommend staying in this area of London as a family hotel destination, although it is an easy walk to Regent’s Park and the London Zoo. Camden Town streets are not really a child-friendly area with thick crowds of people partying and drinking outside beside the canal. On warm weekend days, drinking beer by the canal was exactly the kind of activity we were into on our London holiday.

Holiday Inn Camden Lock

Holiday Inn Camden Lock is a pretty laid back place in a popular part of London where alternative lifestyles are the norm.

I don’t really like most luxury hotels, where there are generally loads of staff standing around to greet you and talk to you and ask you if there is anything they can do for you, and then waiting for a tip, if you get any assistance. I generally choose luxury hotels when I can stay for free on points or free night credits due to the location and the fact that I know there will be a good firm bed.

Holiday Inn London Camden Lock

We arrived early in the day to the hotel, around noon. At check-in I received a voucher for two free drinks at the hotel bar. Our room was not ready, so we checked our luggage at the desk and headed out to walk through Regent’s Park.

Camden Lock

The actual Camden Lock is located by the Holiday Inn seen in the left background of photo. This photo was taken on a Sunday morning. When we arrived at the hotel on Saturday afternoon, this area had hundreds of people.

Camden lock crowd

We returned around 2 pm and our room was still not ready, so we went to the street market across the canal where there were numerous food stalls.

Camden Market food

We came back to the Holiday Inn with an Indian take-away and sat down in the bar with our two free glasses of Stella Artois for lunch. I certainly would not have felt comfortable doing that at The May Fair or InterContinental Park Lane, and those hotels probably would have given me attitude for bringing food into the hotel. Holiday Inn Camden Lock is pretty laid back. We settled in and watched Serena Williams win the Wimbledon 2015 Tennis Championship.

HI Camden bar TV

The bar area was quiet in the afternoon. Step outside the hotel though and there were hundreds of people partying and dining in the immediate vicinity around the hotel. Every café and restaurant was packed and most of the canal side was filled with people eating takeaway and drinking beer and wine.

Camden canal partiers

View from our room 222 at Holiday Inn London Camden Lock.

HI Camden bar lounge

Holiday Inn London Camden Lock bar lounge area.

The lobby area had numerous newspapers and a guest computer. There were several interesting books on the shelves and even board games.

HI Camden computers   HI Camden bar games

HI Camden books   HI Camden newspapers

The hotel upgraded me to a canal view room for my IHG Rewards Club Platinum status. There are five floors. Our room was 222.

The hallway has large color images of Camden Town scenes.

HI Camden poster-1

HI Camden poster-2   Camden Lock (2)

The images were nice to see since the crowds on the streets of Camden Town were so intense on a warm July Saturday afternoon, I was not sure I would get my own photographs. On Sunday morning I hit the streets early before the crowds had arrived.

Holiday Inn London Camden Town Room 222

After a week in London hotels, this was the first room where there was an interesting view.

The May Fair and InterContinental Park Lane had better beds and pillows, but the view kind of made up for the lower quality room furnishings. Best part was a patio door that opened wide.

HI Camden 222-1   HI Camden 222-2

HI Camden 222-3   HI Camden 222-4

HI Camden 222-5   HI Camden 222-6

The patio door had a chain lock limiting the degree to which the door opened. Kelley figured out quickly how to unchain the door.

HI Camden patio door

The major disadvantage of the canal side room was the pounding music and crowd noise that went on until about midnight. I was writing, not sleeping, and did not mind the noise.

A major bonus of the hotel location is a Morrisons supermarket five minutes walk away. I mean a real supermarket with aisles and aisles of food and a car parking lot in front. Morrisons is the largest grocery store I have seen in London and prices were about one-third less than small markets like Sainsbury, Tesco and Marks & Spencer in the city center where I had been shopping.

So what do I mean about hotel attitude?

Rock music history is one of my passionate interests. Holiday Inn Camden Lock has a great rock history map for Camden Town in the lobby and I learned quite a bit from reading the map.

Camden Town Rock   Camden Town Rock-2

You know this is not your grandparents kind of Holiday Inn when you read ‘Fuck’ on the wall of the lobby.

HI Camden rock history

Holiday Inn London Camden Lock has attitude, in a good punk rocker sort of way.

Holiday Inn London Camden Lock is 35,000 points per reward night. I redeemed IHG Rewards Club points for our weekend stay when published rates were 269 GBP per night, around $400 USD.

The hotel is highly rated in IHG reviews with a 4.6 rating as one of the highest rated IHG hotels in London. The hotel is rated highly on TripAdvisor too.

Camden Lock boat

Canal boat in Camden Lock

Related post: Loyalty Traveler – Alternative London in Camden Town.

I walked around Camden Town and photographed several of the music venues mentioned in the wall mural. I’ll cover those locations in another post about Camden Town and rock and roll history.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

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Comments

  1. Was that a Wile E Coyote door that just opens up and you step out into nothing if there’s no barrier? How was transportation, and how many points did the hotel run you? Any idea if the street market is there every day?

  2. @Christian – Too many drinks and you could fall over the rail directly into Camden Canal.

    Transportation is something I should have mentioned in this post, but I was saving the Underground for the next post.

    Important to know that Camden Town Underground station is exit-only arrivals on weekends in the afternoon from about 13:00 to 18:00. The station is overwhelmed with passengers for its size. If you want to leave Camden Town on the weekend in the afternoon, you must walk about ten minutes to the adjacent Underground stations, and that can be very difficult to navigate with the crowds on the sidewalks.

    From 10am the escalators are all dedicated for one way exit-only. If you want to go down to catch a train, you have to walk 96 stairs. I did not count the stairs. There are signs telling you the number of stairs at the entrance. Pretty tough if you are carrying luggage. Easiest thing is walking down the street about ten minutes, slightly downhill from Camden Town Underground Station to Mornington Crescent Underground Station.

    http://www.camden-market.org/

    The website does warn people against taking a stroller and young children due to crowds. I saw a young girl about four years old stop on the main street sidewalk and bend over to do something with her shoe. She was almost trampled by the crowd of adults who could not see her. I could not tell who were her parents and I stood there for several seconds blocking the crowd from stepping on her, until an adult grabbed her hand.

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