Finding affordable accommodation in one of the most expensive cities in the world – London – is no easy feat. There are hotels galore, but most have higher than high pricing that makes it very challenging for families who need more than a closet for a room.
For our long weekend in London, we decided to find an Apartment in London rather than a standard hotel room. We worked with HouseTrip, a European-based home rental agency. HouseTrip has a strong rental network with a wide range of apartment and home offerings throughout Europe and beyond, with more than 19,000 destinations around the world.
How to find an apartment in London with HouseTrip
HouseTrip is easy to use
HouseTrip is a member-based rental service, but signing up is easy and free. HouseTrip’s search database is very user-friendly. Type in location, dates and guest number, and – boom! – rental options pop up, along with a location map that makes it easy to pinpoint neighborhood and area amenities. Photos, a room guide, user reviews, and numbers of past guests are included to allow you to research rental (and owner) quality and trust-factor.
You can further narrow the search by clicking categories like non-smoking, parking, laundry facilities, and whether kids are welcome (rather important!), to drill down to finding the perfect rental for you.
After you find the rental property that suits your needs, you can make a Booking Request to engage the Host in reserving the apartment, arranging payment, and finalizing a check-in time and key exchange.
They have a happiness pledge
It goes without saying that the trust factor in using a holiday rental service is very important. But how are you actually protected? First off, do your homework and minimize risk. Read the reviews and note the quality rating of the Host. Were they responsive when contacted, were previous guests happy and glowing in their praise? Quality shines through, and those reviews are important in helping your decision-making process.
Equally important is HouseTrip’s Happiness Pledge. This Pledge ensures that your stay is guaranteed by the company, that your money is safe in trust until you’ve checked-in and are happy with the accommodation provided. They have a 24/7, multi-lingual service team to trouble-shoot issues should they arise (within 24 hours of arrival).
HouseTrip also has the power to penalize and remove hosts and properties that no longer meet their criteria, so bad apples don’t stay long in the barrel of choices. Accommodations are not shared, you are renting a self-contained flat or home for your own use. There is no worry about staying with strangers or having to be on best behavior as a guest. You have the place to yourself.
Our HouseTrip Vacation Rental Experience
We found the HouseTrip site very easy to navigate. The biggest challenge is narrowing down the number of possible rental options, as there are so many apartments to choose from. We found what we thought was the perfect flat for our family of four, in the busy and central Oxford Circus area of London.
We were corresponding back and forth with our host, when he just stopped communicating with us. We emailed HouseTrip, who tried to help contact the host, but they struck out as well. We hadn’t sent any payment so we weren’t on the hook for the booking, but time was ticking down as we were getting a bit stressed about finding something. HouseTrip helped us locate some other options, and find an apartment in London, a two-bedroom serviced apartment in the Bermondsey area of south London, close to the London Bridge Tube station, and in walking distance to the Tower Bridge.
While Bermondsey wasn’t in the central part of London as we’d hoped, we were delighted to discover the neighborhood, which is an up-and-coming area of London with excellent restaurants and a young, hip vibe. It became our adopted ‘hood for the stay.
Our Bermondsey apartment
In renting a holiday apartment, we wanted more space, a good location, and access to kitchen facilities to help on meal prep and cut dining costs. We were very happy with our two bedroom flat. It was spacious, had a great little kitchen, two bathrooms (extra bonus), a TV and free Wifi. Everything we needed, except air conditioning, which I normally wouldn’t have minded. But as it happened, our visit coincided with London’s hottest summer in six years, with temperatures of over 35 C (95F). The city was an oven, and our flat was, too. AC would have been very welcome in the heat!
Checking in and out was easy, as the apartments were serviced by an agency and had staffed reception desks during extended business hours. They rented conveniences like power converters and other travel supplies, which was a nice touch for forgetful travellers.
Our rental apartment was located about a 15 minute walk to Tower Bridge and London Bridge Tube station, respectively. Between each destination were unique shops and lots of restaurants serving every kind of cuisine imaginable. We enjoyed Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, Spanish tapas, and of course, the legendary English breakfast (the top desire of my youngest child).
Holiday rentals equal holiday happiness
I would recommend using HouseTrip for your holiday rental apartment needs, if you need to find an apartment in London or other major city. HouseTrip was easy to deal with, and helped out promptly when we experienced problems during the booking process. The quality of the rental property was high, and met our needs and expectations.
Having your own home-away-from-home crash pad is a luxury, but it doesn’t have to come with a luxe price. If you are a family of four (or more), it’s often a challenge to find adequate hotel accommodations in Europe. Many European city hotel rooms cannot accommodate everyone, and renting two separate rooms is prohibitively expensive. Having the extra space, as well as some kitchen facilities, offers the comforts of home, while saving important vacation dollars that can be better spent on riding the London eye or visiting Versailles.
Photo Credits: C Laroye.
Have you rented a holiday apartment in London or elsewhere? Share your comments below.
A Note from the Travelling Mom: Thank you to HouseTrip for hosting our visit in London. As always, our opinions are honest and our own.