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Historical Traveler Reviews Winchester Hotel London
Just returned from a two week holiday in Europe. We started our trip with a three day stay at the Winchester Hotel in London, recommended by Rick Steves' guidebook. It was a very nice, unique experience. Jimmy and Juanita, along with their staff, Andre and Frank and the maids were very friendly and extremely helpful. We had a room on the second floor facing the back and it was very clean and comfortable. The bathroom facilities were fine and one must remember while holidaying, we can't have everything "just like home", otherwise just stay home! The breakfast every morning was an experience in itself, friendly faces with a full English breakfast got us started on the right foot with a full stomach. Our stay was a great start to our holiday and while we went on to other pleasant experiences none were as personal and warm as our stay at the Winchester. I had a couple of early evening chats with Jimmy after a day of touring and before dinner while Andre discussed baseball and politics with me after my return from a night at the theatre.
The location is another plus. Even though the hotel is only 5 minutes away from Victoria Station, it certainly is not as busy and just around the corner lies a street with a great coffee shop and small ethnic restaurants. Of course, around Victoria Station there are plenty more restaurants, supermarkets and a couple of theatres. Very convenient.
This was our first visit to London; we plan on returning for more visits and the Winchester will definitely be our base.
Great Staff at the Winchester
I chose the Winchester after reading such great reviews on this site. The staff particularly Frank were wonderful and most helpful. As others have said they treat you like a long lost friend. The breakfasts were filling and the rooms clean. My only concern was the size of the room, we had a twin on the first floor over looking the road. When away for an extended time you tend to have a lot of baggage and there was simply no where for them to go. The beds too were not all that comfortable and when I asked for an iron I was told that it was against their fire regulations (??) ...hmm I might try that one at home. There was a telephone in the hall way and no tea making facilities. If these things don't bother you then the price was right at 80 pound per night.
Heat Wave and scalding water
After much planning and researching my family stayed for six days at the Winchester Hotel. Initial contacts were very friendly. However we were unlucky enough to have our visit coincide with a heat wave with temps of 90 degreees every day. We were told originally that our two rooms would be on the same floor, but on arrival they were on separate floors only accessible to each other by two different staircases. One room faced the busy street very noisy at night and the other faced an alley with no breeze at all. The one on the alley must have been 100 degrees in the evening and the other was about 85 derees each night. We tried to ask for a different room for the one that faced the allley, but we were told that the only other available room was up four floors and it would only be available for two nights. We did at least receive a fan to use for that room. I told the clerk I was concerned because my daughter has asthma and I am diabetic. Still no change. The first morning after a very hot night my children and I went down to breakfast just before the cut off time. We were running late because we could not sleep, too hot. That same morning my husband was scalded while taking a shower when the building ran out of cold water. I asked for a meal for him since he was having touble bathing. The owner then came out and asked about the plate sitting there. I told him quietly that my husband was late coming to breakfast because he was burned in the shower. The owner said to me that the guests were taking too long of showers and that is why they ran out of cool water. He then picked up the plate and said that he would put in in the oven, but no appology. After my husband came to eat the owner came back out again and I thought here comes tht appology, but no such luck he just looked at my husband and said if everyone at your house took hour long showers you would run out of water too. It only got worse after that, the toilet backed up almost every day, other guests complained about water, my son also got scalded, and we lost all power in one room when my daughter turned on a lamp. I realize the weather was unusal and I understand about busy cities and old hotel buildings. We had just stayed before that in Paris where it was just as hot. The hotel there was quite different. To the Winchester's defence the location was great and the maids very pleasant. I'm sure if you never have a problem or complaint the owners are pleasnt to you however we did and so the rest of the week they were cold and bordering on being rude to us. Oh and of course no appology or I'm sorry for any inconvience and no compensation whatsoever. I would have written this review sooner, but I have been too angry to write one this pleasant. If you travel to London in the summer pay the extra and stay with air conditioning. Needless to say I would never recommend this hotel.
The Winchester Hotel, Warm, Welcoming, a Good Choice for the Budget Conscious
My stay at the Winchester Hotel was mid-September. I had originally booked with Premier Travel Inn, but after picking up a copy of Rick Steves' London 2005, I checked out the Winchester Hotel. First of all I was impressed with the design of their website and all the information it provided. Secondly, I began to consider the value of having a breakfast included with my stay. Third, I liked the close proximity to Victoria Station, which provided several underground lines making it easy to get around the City; and fourth, the review, although only one review at the time it was very favorable and worth a chance.
I was not disappointed. From the beginning communications between me and hotel owner, Jimmy McGoldrick, was excellent. Any email correspondence was answered right away. Even when I was expecting a special delivery, I was assured that I had no worries, and in fact the letter was there and in my room awaiting my arrival. When I arrived, I received a very warm greeting at the steps of the front door by Frank, a member of the staff, and even though we hadn't yet exchanged names, he had been expecting me and called me by name, which made me feel welcomed.
Our check-in was quick, and Frank was full of helpful advice. I had reserved a twin room, but due to unforeseen circumstances we were given a quad-room our first night. It would have been nice to fully unpack and not worry about our luggage having to be moved to our new room the next day, but truthfully we did not consider this a problem and were more than happy to accommodate anyway we could.
Our first night was in Room #1, which was located on the floor below the main floor and the same floor as the dining room. The room was large with vanity and mirror and one chair. The bathroom was huge. The decor, although a few years old and showing wear, is still very nice. There were French doors that opened out to a small patio. The patio was not private to the room, but just a patio that was located off our room. The French doors could be opened part way, but a chain prevented the doors from be opened all the way. There was a TV that had a selection of about five or six channels.
The negative I'd have to mention is that there is no air conditioning and this could be uncomfortable during those few months when the weather is extremely warm. However, for us when our door was propped open and the French doors opened we got a nice cross-breeze. An additional mention particular to this room, is that the only electrical outlet was located just outside the bathroom door. The cord to the blow dryer was not long enough to allow you to stand in front of the bathroom mirror and was too far away from the vanity mirror. So, as you blow dried your hair you had to lean over to see yourself in the mirror and that was from about four feet back. There was a good sized closet for hanging clothes, but no drawers, except for two small ones in the night stand between two of the twin beds, and an additional smaller one located in another nightstand, as well as, a long shallow drawer on the vanity.
The dining room is wonderful and the breakfast served there is excellent. There were seven tables seating anywhere from four to six people. Each had white linen table cloths and a setting of real china along with silver eating utensils. There was plenty of seating for breakfast served between 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. The environment welcomes the sharing of tables; however I found that most of the guests tended to take an open table rather than sit at a table with someone they didn't know. We did have the occasion to share a table with another couple and found it enjoyable. It was nice to talk to others and find out where they were from and what was on their itinerary.
There were intercoms in each room so each morning you received an announcement that breakfast was being served. Once you made it to the dining room the young ladies came to your table offering two choices of cereal, coffee, tea, orange juice, hot chocolate, and mini-muffins. Your full English breakfast consisted of eggs prepared the way you like, as much bacon and/or sausage you wanted, baked tomato, toast, croissants, and butter & jam. The breakfast was so filling that we rarely required lunch and it was just a great start to what would be very active days. We never felt rushed and always felt we could take our time and enjoy our meal. I noticed that once guests finished and left the dining area the unoccupied space was quickly cleaned and another place setting put in to place for the next guest.
Our second room was #7 located on the floor just above the main floor. Again we had French doors that led out to a balcony over the hotel entrance; however a chain on the doors did not allow them to be opened all the way. The room had two comfortable chairs and a vanity with mirror. There was a closet, although much smaller than the one we had in Room #1, and the depth of the closet was such that you couldn't close the closet door with clothes hanging in it. Again there were no drawers to place any clothing except for two drawers in the nightstand between the two twin beds and a long shallow drawer underneath the vanity mirror. What I did like and appreciate was an electrical outlet directly under the vanity and mirror.
The bathroom was much smaller than that of the quad-room, but was roomy enough for two people. I did notice also that the shower stall was smaller by a few inches. The water pressure for the toilet wasn't always the best so it sometimes required flushing a couple of times. The water pressure in the shower was excellent in both rooms and there was plenty of hot water.
Now, even though I enjoyed my stay, I feel I must also warn those considering this hotel that there was a water issue. Every day, around 8:00 a.m., there was no water, no hot and no cold, and the lack of water seemed to last about a half hour. It is my understanding that London and the Greater Thames Region is experiencing a period of drought. Additionally, the City's water pipes are over 150 years old and prone to bursts and water leakage so water pressure has been reduced. The hotel did not verbally forewarn problems with water pressure, but I did find a newspaper article regarding the issue posted in both rooms I stayed.
Although I personally would have liked to have been forewarned of the problem when I checked in, I'd like to stress that the friendliness of the staff; and the cleanliness of this charming, budget-friendly, hotel far overshadowed any problems the lack of water caused for the short period of time I experienced. I didn't feel the hotel was at fault and I simply just worked around it.
I'd also like to add that this particular room, and probably any of the rooms located in the front of the hotel gets some traffic noise, which didn't seem to slow down until after midnight; so ear plugs are recommended for light sleepers.
I hope this is useful information. I did enjoy my stay at Winchester Hotel. It was clean, the staff very helpful and friendly and I found the neighborhood safe, even when I had to flag down a taxi at 4:00 a.m. We had a choice of walking to Victoria Station and using the tube or walking around the corner and a short distance to Wilton Road to catch a bus, which we did several times. The #24 takes you to Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square.
There were several restaurants within easy walking distance of the hotel. L'Arco, an Italian restaurant near Victoria Station, and Seafresh, a fresh seafood restaurant located on Wilton Road nearer the hotel were two that we tried and enjoyed. There is also a Sainsbury's grocery store located on Wilton, a short walk from the hotel and where the bus stop is located.
All in all I'd return to stay at the Winchester Hotel.
Finding an economical London hotel where the staff welcome you like long lost friends is like winning the lottery. The Winchester is clean, comfortable, and convenient for Victoria train and bus stations. But best of all, friendly staff who go out of their way to help you.
Great service at the Winchester
The Winchester and it's staff were fantastic. The hotel was very clean and relaxing. The owners, Jimmy and Juanita made us feel very welcome, and the staff, Andre and Paul, gave excellent suggestions for getting around London. The hotel is located about a five minute walk from Victoria train station. We can't wait to return.
Given the state of the dollar, this is your best bet
What a shock to visit England and pay $2.00 for every pound. The hotel bill could spoil your trip. We found a great price at the Winchester Hotel, near Victoria Station. Rooms are small and there's no lobby but everything is very clean, breakfast is huge and excellent, and the staff super friendly.
It's not the Ritz, but you'll return home with some money in your pocket.
This hotel was difficult for us to find. They do need to put better directions on their website. The hotel was nice with a good size room and bathroom and in the terrific area called Belgravia near Victoria Station. It was close to Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Parliament and many restaurants.The included breakfast was delicious, but we felt rushed since there were many people staying at the hotel who wanted breakfast at the same time and not enough tables. The tables were fitted with crisp, white cloths, nice dishes and silver..a very pleasing room and the servers were excellent.
A good value for those seeking a clean, good sized room and fine breakfast while keeping your budget in check.
Winchester a Winner
After researching London hotels for weeks and being unable to book the ones I wanted, I happened across the Winchester Hotel. Even though there weren't many reviews, in desperation I contacted the owner and decided to book it for a week in March. My husband and I were not disappointed.
The location is fantastic--close to Victoria Station and with restaurants and pubs nearby; the owners are conscientious, caring and fun to talk with; an enormous hot breakfast is served each morning; the staff is extremely helpful with sightseeing suggestions, directions, etc.; our room was large by London standards and had plenty of hangers; and, the cost is extremely reasonable. If you need a hairdryer or alarm clock, just ask at the desk.
Credit cards are not accepted, so you'll need cash or traveler's checks. There are no elevators, so you must be able to climb stairs.
Safe and well cared for by the crew at the Winchester
Cannot say enough good about the wonderful, wonderful owners and staff at the friendly Winchester Hotel on Belgrave Road. Beginning each day with a substantial and delicious breakfast (I'm still craving the roasted tomatoes!) and owner, Jimmy's insightful recommendations, of "What to do and how," made us always feel so well cared for.
Friendly staff on the front desk were a delight to come "home" to every day -- allowing us to report in on our adventures and making helpful suggestions for the following day.
Our 3rd floor room, altho smallish, was cozy and warm(it was November) and immaculate. Every morning we would notice staff polishing baseboards, wiping down salt and pepper shakers and generally felt that the hotel (even the front steps) got a good scrubbing every day.
With a news agent across the street and various shops, pubs and restaurants only one block behind we never lacked for a thing in this neighborhood. The Victoria Train Station and Coach (Bus) Station were just a few blocks away -- with its own Tourist Information Office in case we had ANY questions that Jimmy and crew hadn't already answered.
If clean, home-y, and friendly appeals to you - the Winchester won't disappoint.
TripAdvisor Reviews Winchester Hotel London
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