Why Saving Money Isn’t Always a Good Idea

Written by Karen Bryan

County Hotel LondonI believe in getting value for money, which is why I was so annoyed at the price of hotels in London. I was looking for cheap accommodation for 4 nights in early November. I was shocked by the prices quoted by the supposed budget hotel chains, Travelodge rooms were £80-£100 and Premier Inn £100 upwards for weekday nights. I managed to find a room at Euston Travelodge for £32 on the Sunday night, but wasn’t prepared to pay almost three times that price for a weekday night.

I scoured the HotelsCombined price comparison site searching for a reasonably priced single room. The cheapest room I could find was £142 for 3 nights at the County Hotel, booked through a 10% Otels.com discount offer. The reviews suggested that the County Hotel was just about OK. I knew I’d be out most of the time, so only needed somewhere to sleep.

The County Hotel is located in Upper Woburn Place, just down from Euston Station.  I asked for a quiet room when I checked in and was allocated a room on the third floor at the back of the hotel away from the main road.

My room at the County Hotel London

My single room was very old fashioned and basic; I felt as though I’d gone back in time a few decades.  I thought that a prison cell is probably better appointed. The door didn’t have a secure lock, just a yale lock that could be easily forced open. There was what looked like a bathroom door lock to give a bit more security when you were in the room. The back of the door looked pretty grubby. I examined the sheets and towels and they appeared to be clean. The bed had a blanket and bedspread and I couldn’t help but wonder when they had last been washed. I left most of my clothes in my suitcase, as I didn’t want to put them in the drawers.

After about 20 minutes in bed on the first night I started to feel itchy sensations on my skin. I told myself it was just my overactive imagination, but when I started sneezing, I realised I was having an allergic reaction to something in the bed. I reckon it was the bed, as I’d spent a couple of hours working online in the room that afternoon with no side effects.

I suffer from hayfever and get a reaction to cats and most dogs. It always starts with an itchy sensation, usually on my arms, followed by sneezing. If I don’t take anti-histimine at that point, my eyes get really itchy and I get wheezy. However, that’s the first time I had an allergic reaction in a hotel bed.

The following two nights I took an anti-histime tablet before going to bed.

The communual toilets and showers were generally pretty clean and I never had any problems getting access to the ones just across the corridor from my room. However, I had to avert my eyes as a rather portly guy dashed out of the shower across the corridor to his room with the towel barely able to fit round his tummy. Then I almost bumped into another guy in his pyjamas as we both came out the toilet cubicles at the same time.

Breakfast was OK. There was fruit juice, three types of cereal, toast, rolls and a rather greasy hot buffet.

Suffice to say, I will not be staying at the County Hotel ever again, even if it is the cheapest hotel in central London. Sometimes saving money is not a good strategy if it means staying in a hotel as unappealing as the County.

2 Responses to “Why Saving Money Isn’t Always a Good Idea”

  1. I remember going to Berlin for work and being booked in a hotel that had a shower in the room (and non-stop porn channel free) but no toilets. Worst nigh of my life. Next night I moved and after that was so upset at the airport that the lady there booked me to come home a day early (at a normal price, I mean).

    Karen, sorry to hear about your experience – seeing mostly naked men can be fun if they look like George Clooney. Unfortunately most don’t!

  2. Maria – I’m sure I look pretty awful first thing in the morning, but at least I was fully dressed when leaving my bedroom.