Bitterwallet checks into the new budget Tune Hotel
It's been enjoying plenty of media coverage in the past couple of days, but what did Bitterwallet make of the Tune Hotel in London?
Lazy hacks are comparing it to Ryanair, because if you expect anything beyond the basics, you have to pay ancillary charges. So does staying there feel as cheap as the price (from £35 per room per night for a double), or does it live up to Tune Hotel's boasts of '5 star beds at 1 star prices'? Your avid and thoroughly frugal Bitterwallet editor checked in last night to investigate.
So what's good about it?
• The location; it's next to North Lambeth tube station, meaning you're just five stops from Piccadilly Circus, and ten minutes walk from Waterloo station. It's South of the River, you slaaaag, but it's easy to get about. The hotel itself looks like a 1970s office block for photocopier wholesales, but it's what inside that counts.
• It's new! I was probably the first person to sleep in my bed - there's no way they stuck the bird from the BBC on the first floor. So while the rooms are tiny, all the fixtures and fittings are brand spanking new, the walls are unscuffed and everything works. Winner.
• It does what it says on the tin. The beds may be five-star (they're very high quality and amazingly comfortable) although it's hardly a five-star experience, obviously; 'new' doesn't equate to service, value or stature. But compared to what you'd get for the same price elsewhere in London - I'm thinking of the shitholes around Paddington that'll stick a bed in a kitchen and hope you don't notice - the Tune Hotel wins hands down. The bathroom is actually a child-sized wet room, but it is en-suite.
For that reason, it'll appeal to students and frugal travellers - £35 for a double with en-suite is a brilliant price. If all you need is a place to sleep, then that's exactly what the Tune Hotel offers - nothing more, nothing less.
Right then. So what can possibly be wrong about a hotel that costs £35 a night? There are a couple of issues:
• You can't pay the ancillary charges by debit or credit card. If you want the extras, you'll be sent to the cash machine over the road. More of an irritation than a problem, but it'll catch people out.
• You can't have a shit with the bathroom door shut. Well you probably can, but you'll have to be shorter than six foot. Otherwise your husband, wife, partner or one-night stand will have to watch you sit there bollock naked while you crimp one out.
• There's no wardrobe, which isn't a problem in itself. There's next-to-no floor space, which isn't an issue in itself either. Together though, it means there's nowhere to put anything. If you've any more than hand luggage with you, you're screwed.
• The front door isn't flush with the ground, and consequently there's a gap just large enough for a mouse to fit through. And at half past two this morning, after I got up to visit the all-night supermarket across the road (as you do), a mouse slipped under the front door, scurried across reception and disappeared behind the vending machines. It may have been lost, of course, but those little buggers do like to breed.
Overall, then? Assuming there isn't a vermin problem, the Tune Hotel does a top job of offering the budget traveller a cheap, frills-free night in London. Just make sure you share the room with somebody you're well acquianted with.