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For our trip to see the 2012 Olympics Games in London, we left hotel arrangements till the last minute. At the time, there were news that the room prices were dropping because people were scared away from Central London due to the sky-high rates. But, the choicest hotels were all gone and what was left were mediocre hotels charging a slightly elevated high season rate. We used Booking.com which provides for a given hotel, data on when a room was last taken, and how many people are looking at the remaining vacant rooms. After quite a bit of rushed research, we ended up booking two hotels for the 8 days (4+4).

Knowing London, many hotels may still have Victorian to mid-century old plumbing or air-conditioning (this is midsummer), so we were careful in choosing only modern hotels. Our first selection was The Z Hotel Victoria.  It was convenient for us since we were coming from the south coast by coach which terminated at Victoria. We thought at the time the price was not unreasonable. I just checked the room rate just now –  we paid in July almost doubled today’s rate.

The hotel seemed to have just finished renovating so that it could open in time for the Olympics Games. Our room was supposed to measure 14-square meters with a queen-sized bed. Really ? The lack of space was really an issue.  We could not open both our suitcases fully unless we put one of them on the bed.

Our room did not have a window – we did not really care as we were out all hours of the day.  The super-thin 40-inch Samsung TV was appropriately deployed on the wall to give the room some more light, in addition to the upward pointing perimeter white lights. No wardrobe, so jackets, etc. were hanging off the wall.

After four days, we really had enough of it. We were tired after hours of being in crowds but could not relax in the room, and we were getting into each other’s way. Overall, on the plus side, the hotel atmosphere was modern and a bit of wannabe hip – the staff were cheerful and helpful.

Our second hotel is The Blakemore in Bayswater. The hotel is located on a quiet street just a couple of blocks from the bustling Queensway.  While I was a student here many years ago, a group of my friends rented an apartment in this area which has not changed much if any.

After the Z Hotel, the space we had at the Blakemore was palatial in comparison. Plus the window which looked out to the rooftops of west London, it was very much appreciated. Breakfast was included!

The room was on the top floor and the bathroom had a slanted roof. This hotel had apparently gone through a renovation less than six months ago (deduced by Tripadvisor’s warnings of construction noise posted at least 6 months ago).

Debated whether we wanted to show pictures of toilets on the blog. But as a traveler, other than the bed, this is the next most important aspect of a hotel room. There were no bath tub, instead it had a modern roomy rainfall-type shower – relaxing indeed.

Despite our lateness in making arrangements and the crush of tourists in London, we were glad that the accommodation problem was solved.

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