Sep 5, 2012

London, England: The Portobello Room

In case you missed it: London: day 1.5

Finding a place to stay in London that's clean, safe, in a good location, and within your budget can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack. Not because of a lack of options, but because it's London and there are almost too many options.

my photo—view from our bathroom
I've been to London many  times, but I was younger, single, and much more care free. At the time, staying at a hostel was the perfect option, but now that I'm married and didn't have to eat Ramen noodles while I was there (been there, done that...literally), I wanted a decent place to stay. I also realized that I would be in London and wouldn't be spending much time in the hotel, so I still couldn't fathom paying a ton of money just for a place to sleep. The problem is that every time I found a good-looking place, it was incredibly expensive when you factored in the exchange rate. Or if the price was good, the reviews were horrible.

Enter, AirBnB. This option isn't for everyone, but it can be a good deal for a young couple, group of traveling friends, or singletons who want all the things listed above. Basically, people list their place (apartment, home, room, castle, villa) on this site and you can rent it out. I personally only look at places that have been verified and have at least a handful of good reviews.

AirBnB photo
I kept going back and forth between several places on my wish list and eventually picked The Portobello Room based on its location (steps away from Notting Hill), the price ($150 a night), the reviews (all stellar), their correspondence (I asked several questions and they wrote back immediately, even before I booked), the photos (looked like a fun and quirky place to stay!), and the breakfast (a guy living there is a chef). 

AirBnB photo
AirBnB photo


AirBnB photo

Like I said in my last post, we arrived into London pretty late at night, but I let our hosts know our time-frame beforehand, so they were waiting up when we arrived. I wasn't expecting a long flight of stairs, but luckily we're able-bodied and made the haul up to the top flat easily thanks to the fact that we now use a large backpack for a suitcase when we travel instead of messing around with luggage with wheels. 


AirBnB photo

AirBnB photo

The place was absolutely spotless and looked just like it did in the photos—although, they used a wide-angle lens for the bedroom, so I was expecting our room to be a tad bit bigger. No matter, that first night we were so tired we fell asleep almost before we could even turn out the light. 


AirBnB photo

Both mornings we sat down at the funky dining room table (those seats are surprisingly more comfy than they look) and breakfast was served! We both got a bowl of fresh fruit with ginger and mint, yogurt, toast with butter and jam, a mini cupcake (!), orange juice, coffee, and tea. It was a good start to our morning.


my photo

my photo
Our hosts also had a packet of information about the area. I loved that they put their own spin on it by letting their guests know the good and not-so-good places to eat at—eating at a bad restaurant while on vacation always stinks—and their favorite things to do and how to get there. Since we were there for such a short time we didn't take advantage of their suggestions, but if it was our first time to London it would've been a big help.

I'm happy I picked The Portobello Room for our first AirBnb experience. The location was great, the price was right, it was safe, clean, and just what we needed! 

Have you used AirBnb before or anything similar? 


*Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with AirBnb or the dudes running The Portobello Room. I just liked where we stayed and wanted to tell people about it.

6 comments:

  1. I've heard of it before but have never been brave enough to try. Maybe I'll give it a shot this fall since we have to travel twice?!

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  2. I think Anni (anni cee photographie) uses them often! Looks like you guys had a fabulous flat!

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  3. This places beats our scary hostel any day of the week.

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