We've never had a hotel quite like this one.
As we stood basking in the neon glow of the electric orange paint, key card in hand, I shot Ryan a sharp look. “Promise me”, I said, “Promise me that whatever’s behind this door you’ll give me your usual, cheerful ‘Oh, now this isn’t so bad!’”.
With a whoosh, we slid the key card through the slot and stepped into our hotel room. Ryan’s face fell. “Oh”, he said flatly, “This isn’t so bad?” And with that dubious and doubtful start we began the first of four days inside an EasyHotel.
High maintenance travelers need not apply.
Have you ever said to yourself that it doesn’t matter where you stay, so long as it’s clean and safe? Or that you’ll be so busy by day that you don’t care where you crash at night? We've uttered all of these promises and more over the years, all in the name of value travel. But until now, we've never called ourselves on it. Not until London's EasyHotel Victoria.
The premise behind the EasyHotel chain is simple. You get the door that locks. You get the clean bed. And absolutely nothing else! There is no artwork on the walls, there are no fancy throw cushions, and there is no coffee pot on the shelf – perhaps in part because there is no shelf. There is no closet, no bureau, no carpet, no nightstand, no lamps. There’s also no housekeeping, no Wi-Fi, no TV, and no window –not unless you’re willing to pay extra. This is as bare-bones as it gets.
So exactly what do you get in an EasyHotel room?
And as you may have guessed, there’s also no floor space. The ‘small’ rooms are so tiny that there is no space between the bed and the walls – it’s like the room was built around the bed. If you chose the more expensive, upgraded ‘standard’ room like we did, you gain about an extra foot of space at the end of the bed and about two feet of space at the bedside. Even so, we had barely enough space to put our backpacks on the floor! EasyHotel rooms have been described as 'upscale submarine cabins' and I found this description highly accurate.
So with no space and no amenities, exactly what do you get? At EasyHotel, you get one double bed, made up with clean sheets, a duvet, and two pillows. You get two towels and a bath mat. You get two hooks on the wall. You get a wall mounted mirror and a TV – but no remote unless you pay! And you get the tiniest private bathroom imaginable. The bathroom comes with a toilet (and yes, toilet paper), a tiny sink, a mirror, and a shower.
Surprisingly, the room did have several tiny touches that I grew to greatly appreciate. The towels were large, thick, and soft, better in fact than most other, fancier, hotels. There were wall mounted containers of Lux shampoo and Dove body wash in the washroom. The shower was hot and had great water pressure. The rooms had individual temperature control and, while there was no lamp, there was a second light switch by our bed so we could dim or turn off the light without getting up. And we always found the staff to be warm, friendly, welcoming, and helpful.
Paying a pauper's price.
EasyHotel does include one other amenities that no traveler can ignore - a microscopic price tag. They are the least expensive form of hygienic accommodation in town, easily beating out all other hotels, hostel private rooms, and sometimes even hostel dorm rooms. We paid just 45GBP a night for London’s EasyHotel Victoria and, with a bit of luck and advanced booking, you can find London EasyHotel properties for around 30GBP a night.
Is EasyHotel right for you?
EasyHotel is a great change of pace for budget travelers who are craving a few nights of privacy and solitude and long for a break from hostels and couch surfing. It's also a good option for travelers of all backgrounds who just need a basic room for one short night, say, beside an airport prior to an early morning flight. It would also be a good option for value focused travelers who need to cut back on costs in one area so they can afford to splurge in another. You won't mind EasyHotel's stark decor when you know the savings went towards your incredible theatre tickets!
But if you like hanging out and relaxing in your hotel room at night, if you and your spouse have different sleep schedules, if you get easily claustrophobic, you should probably take a pass on EasyHotel. And if you know you are likely to purchase some of their many add-ons, you're likely better off financially to look at other forms of budget accommodations, such as private hotel rooms or humble bed & breakfasts.
So are we glad we tried it? Would we do it again?
I always say that the most important thing about any accommodation is whether or not you sleep well and in the case of EasyHotel the answer is yes. The room was dark (duh! no windows!) and quiet. The temperature was comfortable, as was the bed - if barely. It was one of those curious mattresses that is more comfortable to sleep on than sit on but we still managed a good quality sleep each night.
Working in our favor was the fact that we were spending all our daylight hours at a conference and still trying to sneak in some London sightseeing by night - we spent very little time in our room beyond sleeping. We also made a strong effort to be extra courteous to one another, with plenty of 'excuse me's', which went a long way towards making sure we didn't kill each other in the tiny space!
Overall, the experience was better than I had anticipated and the price point was irresistible. I'm not sure I'll be craving a repeat visit anytime soon (those rooms really are small!) I would definitely consider staying in an EasyHotel again.
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