Preparing for our annual August trip to visit my in-laws, including a 7 night respite in London. As usual, there are three of us, including our college age son. Yes, of course, it would be better to book two rooms, but no, we are not. That kind of expense is not in the cards, and I am unwilling to stay as far away as Heathrow or Windsor (where we could manage two rooms). One added complication this year is that I broke my ankle last month. I should be out of the boot by August, but I would prefer a shorter walk to the tube.
This year our options are a bit more limited than usual, and all involve compromises. I would really appreciate advice from folks who have stayed in these locations regarding how I should rank our options. I've included an obsessive amount of detail regarding our priorities.
We have a Deluxe King room booked at the JW Grosvenor House. We've stayed there before and really liked it. The problem is that in order for three of us to stay there, we have to be upgraded to a Superior room. This worked out on our previous stay, but at the moment the hotel appears to be sold out (or close to it), and there are no Superior rooms available. There may, however, be cancellations closer to the dates of our stay. If we manage a complimentary upgrade to a Superior room, we'll be paying an additional £35 per night for a rollaway, for a total cost of £245.
Upsides: Moderate cost, great lounge, and location (especially because our bus to/from Oxford stops nearby).
Downsides: Longer walk to the tube than I would prefer, ability to stay there depends on increased room availability (beyond our control).
We have a double double booked at the County Hall. We've stayed there before and had nice (and sometimes super) upgrades. There would be no additional charges for us at this hotel. At the same time, the hotel is currently undergoing renovations, the lounge (never great) is in a temporary location, and the pool is closed.
Upsides: Free, two real beds, large rooms, possible upgrades.
Downsides: Meh breakfast last time I stayed, long walks to rooms, I hate walking across Westminster Bridge to the tube, potentially old/unrefurbished room, no pool, construction noise.
We have a Barlow King booked at the Renaissance St. Pancras, and conflicting emails from different people regarding costs. One email said that they would assign us a room that could take a rollaway, and that the charge for the rollaway would be £50 per night for a total of £350 over the stay. Another email said that only a Barlow Premium room could take a rollaway, and that would cost us an additional £30, for a total of £560 for the stay. And the website itself shows neither Barlow nor Barlow Premium rooms as accommodating rollaways, requiring us to upgrade to a Junior Chambers Suite at £120 per night, plus the £50 per night fee for the rollaway for a total of £1190.
Upsides: Close to transit, great lounge.
Downsides: Potentially very high cost, uncertainty (don't want to arrive expecting one room/price and be forced to upgrade to something else at a substantially higher price), pretty dull rooms in the Barlow wing.
We have a double double booked at St. Ermin's. This carries an additional charge of £50 per night for a total of £350 for the stay. Reviews for this location are great on Tripadvisor, in fact the best of all Marriott properties in London (I know, I know...). Not sure if the reviews are so good because its rates are usually substantially cheaper than other centrally located Marriott properties, so expectations are lower. I emailed the hotel last week (as well as the other three) about upgrade options and this is the only location from which I have received no reply.
Upsides: Moderate cost, two real beds, proximity to the tube, rumors of upgrade possibilitiesr.
Downsides: No lounge, concerns re: lack of response to email inquiry, very small rooms unless upgraded, most annoying/least useful tube lines (District & Circle).