Sep252015

Tiny Room Comfort Inn Westminster London

Choice Hotels lists 16 hotels for London area with 9 of these having London addresses and 7 hotels in outer London area. At time of booking my London hotel stay, six of the London hotels were priced at 25,000 points per night, one at 20,000 points and two at 16,000 points.

Comfort Inn Westminster is the most centrally located of the two Choice hotels at 16,000 points. The hotel is about ten minutes walk from Victoria Station. The other hotel is in north London in the Hampstead area.

Arriving from London Heathrow Terminal 5, the terminal for British Airways flights, I loaded £10 on my Oyster Card and boarded the Underground  Piccadilly Line. Hotel website directions showed Baron’s Court as the station to change from the Piccadilly Line to the Victoria Line. I spent 90 minutes from the time the aircraft landed at LHR to clearing Passport Control and customs. It was about 75 minutes later when I arrived at Victoria Station in central London by Underground.

From the map of London it looked like Pimlico Station might be closer to the Comfort Inn than Victoria Station, however, there was an issue that kept trains from stopping at Pimlico Station and I ended up exiting the Underground at Victoria Station, the earlier stop. Google Maps shows the hotel as midway between the Pimlico and Victoria Underground Stations at about 7 minutes walk from either station.

Google Maps Comfort Inn Westminster

Upon exiting Victoria Station and walking around the corner,  I saw the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London – Victoria. That hotel is conveniently located across the street from Victoria Station and 60,000 HHonors points per night, if a standard HHonors reward is available.

The skies were dropping a steady rain and I found myself pulling two roller bags along the sidewalk while dodging pedestrian’s umbrellas.

Belgrave Road

Victoria Station is the main connection point for travel to London Gatwick Airport, making hotels on Belgrave Road a convenient location if traveling via London LGW Airport.

Most of Belgrave Road looked to be hotels in Georgian style terraced stucco houses. Wikipedia Belgrave Road describes the street as having more than 20 hotels and a popular tourist location. My observations concur. I saw a Holiday Inn Express and two Best Western hotels walking along Belgrave Street.

Comfort Inn Westminster exterior

The other comment from the Wikipedia article I can confirm is there are very few shops on Belgrave Street. This is hotel row.

Comfort Inn lobby

First impressions were good when I saw the comfortably furnished lobby of the Comfort Inn Westminster.

My next impression was semi-panic when the front desk staffer said he did not see any reservation listed for me on the computer. Then, personal relief when my reservation was located in a notebook binder.

Comfort Inn front desk

Map of London beside front desk with playful descriptions of neighborhoods.

I had already attempted to change my hotel to one near London Heathrow the day before arrival, only to find that affordable London hotels were pretty much sold out and most hotels were going for $300 USD per night and more. Even with points in eight different hotel loyalty programs, there was nothing available around the airport in the chain hotels.

I was chatting up the passport control officer at LHR when she asked me why I was going into central London for an overnight layover rather than staying at a London Heathrow airport hotel? When I told her the prices at LHR hotels were crazy high. She mentioned the Rugby World Cup was starting in two days. This is the first I had heard about the sporting event. After she mentioned rugby I noticed signs were displayed everywhere for Rugby World Cup.

As this ignorant American was soon to learn, Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s biggest sporting events with England hosting the six weeks of matches from September 18 to October 31, 2015. I arrived in London on September 16 and England played the opening match on September 18.

Tiny Room Comfort Inn Westminster London

Comfort Westminster bed   Comfort Westminster TV

Comfort Inn closet   Comfort Inn entryway

I was assigned Room 101. The room was so small that I immediately pulled out my tape measure to check the dimensions. I measured the length at 14 ft. and width at 8 ft. for total square footage at 112 sq. ft., making this one of the top 5 all time small hotel rooms I stayed.

The room may have been suitable, if there were a decent sized bathroom, but it was not a comfortable bathroom space.

The shower was separated from the toilet by a curtain. I measured the dimensions of the bathroom as 66” x 40” or about 20 sq. ft. The bathroom space was the smallest space I have seen outside of staying in some Irish B&Bs.

Comfort Inn toilet   Comfort Inn sink   Comfort Westminster bathroom

There was useless space between the front door and bathroom with only a wall mirror on the main white wall.

One of the promising features of the room was a patio door. I found the door opened, but only a few inches with a chain lock preventing it opening wide.

Comfort Inn patio door

Rainwalker

The rain storm hit London the moment the plane touched down at London Heathrow. Forecast was for 100% rain and the pilot confirmed it was a big storm moving over London. At 4pm in the afternoon, after flying nonstop from San Francisco on a British Airways 747, I wanted to take a long walk, regardless of weather conditions.

Loyalty Traveler – Battered by rain in Battersea London (Sep 16, 2015)

Out my hotel room door, dressed for rain weather, I figured I could walk down one flight of stairs more quickly than taking the elevator. The Comfort Inn hotel is built from at least a couple of row houses. The stairs took me all kinds of directions and I think I went up and down a few floors before I located the lobby doors.

The Neighborhood

A small corner market is located across the street from Comfort Inn, but it is one of those places where beer is not priced and I avoid any market with no displayed prices. The store had snack food, but not much in the way of wholesome food. Good news is a major Sainsbury’s supermarket is within 10 minutes walk of the hotel.

Google Maps Comfort Inn to Sainsburys

Google Maps route from Comfort Inn to major Sainsbury’s Supermarket.

There are few businesses on Belgrave Street besides hotels. Side streets off Belgrave Road offer more businesses. One place that caught my eye was a pub, but I came across it at the beginning of my walk and I did not want to stop so soon. Looking at the map, this pub appears to be one street off Belgrave Road.

London Cask

The Cask, Charlewood Road, London

My overall experience with London hotels is my stays booked with loyalty points often result in being assigned some of the smaller rooms in the hotel. Even so, considering the average price of hotels I have stayed at in London is generally well over $300 USD, I’ll take a tiny room on points rather than pay those kinds of hotel rates.

The room rate for Comfort Inn Westminster at the time I booked August 2 was £118 or $185 USD. This hotel was not available for points by September 14 and the only Choice Hotel still available for a points were the two Choice Hotels in St. Albans, north of London.

Comfort Inn Westminster London 16,000 Choice Privileges reward night

The hotel was a good deal for me at 16,000 points or about $70 based on my purchase rate for points from the U.S. Travel Association Daily Getaways sale price for Choice Privileges points in April 2015. Acquiring 16,000 points through Choice Privileges Points Plus Cash reservations would make this a $120 room night. If you have 8,000 Choice Privileges points, then you can book a Points Plus Cash reservation and buy the remaining points you need at the rate of $7.50per 1,000 points.

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.

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