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Avoiding Basement Hotel Rooms in London: Why you should use a travel agent.

If you like what you read, please consider reaching out to me and letting me plan your travel. I am a London specialist and I can do as much as finding you an organized tour or planning your itninerary or as little as finding and booking you a great hotel room. Which, is a great introduction to this post topic....

I belong to a lot of travel group specializing in travel to London and the UK. I am even a moderator on one of them. But, I find that way too often, traverlers get poor and downright inaccurate information. I've written about it in THIS post.

There are lots of people who are genuinely there to help and offer really good information. I have learned a thing or two that I then researched for accuracy (because in the words of a US President, "Trust, but verify"). But, sometimes, people who live in London and don't always experience it through the eyes of a tourist, or those who have been ONCE and are now "experts" in their own minds can really give people inaccurate information simply because they have limited experience and don't know what they don't know.

This weekend, someone on one of these groups asked about "basement hotel rooms". They are generally called "lower ground floor rooms" in London, but Americans would call it a "basement". I have stayed in a basement hotel room before and I don't entirely care for it. They don't bother my husband. But, I like to look out windows. The basement room we stayed in was in a converted Georgian house. You see them all over West London - they are usually more of a daylight basement in that there is often a staircase down to a door where servants once resided. Those are all closed off and the stairs are often also blocked, but you'll have a bigger window and a concreted stairwell area. The top of the window is usually at pavement level so you see and hear shoes.

A London Hotel
Those pavement level windows could be hotel rooms

When I mentioned on this group that basement hotel rooms were all over West London and that most hotels will not guarantee you won't be in one unless you get a room category (usually the expensive ones) that doesn't have basement rooms. Weirdly, the thread kind of exploded with lots of people calling me either clueless or a liar because they HAD NEVER in their ENTIRE LIFE heard of or stayed in a basement room in a hotel. It was actually kind of weird how almost angry people got over me saying that.

Someone said if it WAS true, it was only the low-budget dodgy hotels that would have them. Others said that because I wasn't naming any that clearly I wasn't telling the truth. Again, it must have been a slow night because there was a lot of weird offense being taken over a simple statement.

So, I put on my research hat and made a list of just a few and they went from $$$ to $. There were Hiltons, Best Westerns, upscale boutique hotels and even one of the beloved Premier Inns everyone is quick to recommend. Most of them were found in the Kensington, South Kensington, Mayfair, Earls Court, Chelsea and Paddington areas where you are most likely to find hotels in converted Georgian houses. But, there are hotels all across London that have basement rooms. Some of the MOST expensive hotels will have a gym or pool down there, but there are still some 5 star hotels with basement rooms.

A window
What you see from a basement hotel room

So, this is why you should use a knowlegeable travel advisor. Random people on a Facebook group are not responsible for you ending up in a basement room - especially after they INSISTED they weren't a thing (and you find out the hard way that they are). They don't REALLY care that much about whether or not you have a great trip because they have no skin in your travel game. But, a travel agent or advisor will have taken on the responsibility to make sure you have the best trip you can possibly have. That means researching the heck out every detail to make sure it matches up to what your vision of your trip is. And, that means, in my case and in my experience, knowing WHO has basement rooms and trying to keep you out of one (same goes for windowless rooms) IF THAT IS WHAT YOU REQUEST. Some people don't care as long as they get a good price and a good location - like my husband. But, I think most people would be disappointed on their first trip to London to not even have a view of the street.

So, I'm hear to declare that, YES, many London hotels (mostly West London) have lower ground floor or basement rooms even if 50 people on a travel group have never had to stay in one so they don't believe they exist. Or even if 15 Londoners who have probably never stayed in a London hotel don't believe they exist. They exist.

The job of a travel agent is to know things and if we don't know something, it's our job to do research. I do online trainings and seminars every week and read about destinations and activities every day. I'm always seeking information and ideas to make trips for my clients the best they can be. Let's plan your trip together!

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