Oh hi there. Happy New Year and all that. I hope you all had a good one. I certainly did…I managed to score it off work on account of boyfriend flying in for the occasion, so that was a treat. We spent it in London, which was more hassle than it sounds on paper. If you’ve ever tried to find somewhere to stay on New Years Eve in a major city without it costing the earth, you’ll understand the struggle. Every one of our go-to hotels had hiked their prices up to about four times the usual rate, but rightly so if you ask me – it is the biggest night of the year, why the hell wouldn’t they. Just as we were about to succumb to paying the extortionate rates, I took a punt at checking the Premier Inn website. I don’t often bother anymore for London hotel searches, because, and I wonder if anyone else has noticed this, Premier Inn got premier prices! Often we’re managed to bag a night in a 5 star Tower Bridge spot for almost the same price as a PI, with rates often exceeding £150 per night even on weeknights. Anyway, I came across the new HUB hotel, which is a new brand under the Premier Inn umbrella. I had briefly heard about the concept a while back, but wasn’t aware it was already underway. The idea is basically smart techno compact hotels in key cities, which don’t claim to boast ample space or leisure facilities, but do offer savvy space saving rooms for both business and pleasure travellers. This was priced at £140 per night for Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st December (so right over NYE). In comparison to other offerings, nothing else at this price was anywhere near as central.
We read some reviews before we left, and were a little concerned about the space, noise complaints, and the apparent glitches with the completely new and innovative app controlled in-room features, but having been ourselves, I really felt I needed to write this review as people are clearly unrealistic in their expectations of this hotel concept, and are not seeing it for what it is. UTTERLY FANTASTIC. The existing reviews do not do it justice at all, so give this a read before you snub the Hub!
It opened late in 2014, and is snuggled in between Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden, on St Martin’s Lane. The location is undoubtedly faultless. One step outside and you’re in the middle of theatreland, a few minutes walk from any tube line or us route you want, more restaurants and bars than I can count, and loads of tourist spots (Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, The Strand, Covent Garden, Oxford Street….to name but a few!).
Upon check in, I was greeted by a friendly receptionist, and I proceeded to one of the check in points. I stood there for a second glaring at it questioning how, at 23, the technological era seems to have swallowed me up and spat me out, and it began to dawn on me that a five year old in this day and age could probably decode this robot better than I could. Luckily, the aforementioned receptionist trotted over and began to translate. She instructed me to open my Hub by Premier Inn app on my iPhone and bring up my booking and the QR code that came with it (that’s those funny splodges that look like space invaders that somehow contain data). I scanned it and my booking appeared on the screen. I filled in the necessary details, and chose whether or not we wanted any breakfast delivered during our stay. I declined, but don’t worry, you can order it at a later time using your app! You then pick up a room card from the stack on the machine, swipe it, and tah-dah, you’re checked in! Despite being filled with glee at my exceptional check in experience, I proceeded to our room with a slight apprehension at what would await. Half of me was expecting a pokey dormitory fit for an army of mice, but I remained positive. The corridors were wide, everything was sparklingly new and sleek.
We had been given an accessible room, as that was all that was available at the time of booking, so I had hoped our “mouse dorm” might have a bit more space. WELL. A bit more space you ask? It. Was. Huge. Room 501 greeted me with a large wet room bathroom, ample floor space, a large double bed, plenty of storage for suitcases, and a million well-placed plug sockets (which is a real game changer for me in hotel rooms). Previous reviews complained that there was no tea and coffee making facilities, which, no, there wasn’t, but a complimentary lounge on the ground floor serves hot drinks free of change 24 hours a day, which is really better than a few tea bags and long life milk on a tray, isn’t it?!
One of the coolest features of the HUB, is the use of the app to control in-room features like temperature and lighting. Don’t panic, if you’re still in a happy relationship with your Nokia 3310, you can still stay here. Please please ignore all the reviews that are marinated in a snide “you’ve got to have a smartphone” tone, because you don’t. There’s a modern panel above your head in bed with touch buttons, which contrary to some reviews, you absolutely DO NOT accidentally lean on with your pillows, unless you insist on sleeping on a 10 foot pile of cushions. The air con was brilliant to cool the room down, and the second it got to chilly, turning the temperature back up quickly adjusted the room a warmer setting. It really bothers me when hotel rooms are too hot or too cold, so it was really nice to be able to adjust it yourself. Noise was not a problem at all. We expected a certain level of noise with it being New Years Eve, and expected other couples like us to be coming in quite late, but we didn’t hear a peep out of anyone, despite the hotel being full.
I would say the only downside is that their isn’t a phone to contact reception. Our smart TV was playing up, but I called the main hotel number from my phone and they sent someone right away to fix it. The staff were pleasant, check in and out was super easy, the rooms were a fine size and extremely well equipped, and the location was faultless. Overall a fantastic stay, not to mention the crash course in 21st century technology that comes with operating the intelligently stylish features.
If you’re looking for a plush, boutique hotel stay with ample leisure facilities and room service, then no, this isn’t for you, and I won’t pretend it is. But a high number of visitors to London are simply looking for a reliable, comfortable crash pad, close to everything they want to see and do, without it costing the earth. This is certainly that. Overall, a fantastic addition to the Premier Inn group. I can’t wait to try more locations!
Click here to see the Hub by Premier Inn website and book your London stay now!