Perfect base to explore London

Travelodge, 2013 room.
Travelodge, 2013 room.
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When it comes to hotels in London, I have always been under the - apparently false - impression that a lot of money has to be spent in order to find a room bigger than the average cupboard.

Travelodge is well known as one of the more budget friendly brands of hotels, so I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the company’s hotel in Southwark, London recently.

What drew me along to the hotel was the fact that I had heard about the new Travelodge room concept which has been part of a £223 million company investment.

The room is said to encourage a good night’s sleep, which obviously sounds like an advertising slogan, but when I walked into the room I could see what the brains behind Travelodge were striving for.

The bed is kitted out with a ‘Travelodge Dreamer’ mattress by Sleepeezee, which was very comfortable. The room - despite being in central London - was spacious and airy and the colour tones of both the bathroom and room itself included calming whites and pale blues.

The room is minimalist but doesn’t feel cheaply put together and all the modern features one would expect from a big hotel chain are there, such as tea and coffee making facilities, flat screen TV and WiFi access.

It was a great base from which my husband and I could explore the capital. The hotel takes just a few minutes to walk from Southwark tube station and we found the location ideal for enjoying our favourite part of London.

We arrived on a Friday evening and stayed at the hotel for two nights. On Saturday morning, after a delicious Travelodge buffet breakfast, we ventured out for a walk along the river and found ourselves at the wonderful Borough Market where we picked up some super-healthy smoothies and enjoyed seeing all the beautiful cheeses, meats and other foods being sold.

We then wandered into Shakespeare’s Globe theatre (about 10 or 15 minutes walk from the hotel) in the hope of return tickets for a sold-out show. We were in luck and picked up seated tickets for a matinee performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; which turned out to be perhaps the best performance of Shakespeare I have ever seen.

Afterwards we took a walk along the Southbank and enjoyed all the sights and sounds to be seen that day along the river. On the weekend we visited, that included a South of France festival complete with wine tasting stands and live music; as well as the usual book and food stalls.

After all of that activity, we still had enough time to take a short tube ride to Oxford Circus where we had dinner at our favourite Masala Zone restaurant.

I then still had time to pop into Liberty on Carnaby Street to buy some make-up and look at all the beautiful designer items they have on sale (sadly most of which I can’t afford!)

After all of that walking in London, one could have argued that I may have slept well anyway, but as it turned out, I found the Travelodge ‘new room’ very conducive to a good night’s sleep. This could have been the colour scheme, the airy feel or the comfy bed. It may also have had something to do with the absence of my pet cat, who has developed the habit of jumping through my bedroom window at home in the middle of the night!

By Sunday morning, we were sad to leave, having enjoyed a perfect day in London seeing all the sights we love best. And, having experienced a night in one of the Travelodge’s new rooms, I am also newly impressed with a hotel chain I had previously, and too quickly, dismissed. If you haven’t stayed in a Travelodge for a while, it is worth revisiting to see the improvements which have been made.

Fact file:

-Travelodge hotel rooms in London range in price from £39.

-For booking information, visit www.travelodge.co.uk