Have you ever dreamed of living like a local in London? We fulfilled this dream during our recent London apartment hotel stay with City Relay. See what our stay was like and why you should try it too when you visit London.
London has become a home away from home for us since we’ve become full-time travelers. It may be one of the world’s biggest cities, but we always feel comfortable in the bustling British metropolis, especially when we stay in furnished flats or apartments in London.
Staying at a London apartment (called a flat in London) lets us relax at night whether we’re in town for a conference or if we’re blitzing the city with a fun London itinerary.
As a bonus, this type of accommodation allows us to shop for food at the best London food markets and eat some of our meals at home. Not only is cooking a cost-effective meal option, but it’s also a good way for us to stay healthy while traveling.
We’re always happy for an excuse to shop at the Borough Market. Seriously, this historic market is a treasure with its fabulous selection of meat pies, fresh produce and other local food products.
→ Read our London market guide.
Our Stay at a London Apartment Hotel with City Relay
We decided to try something different during our recent visit to London.
After house-sitting for friends (thank you Laura and Nick!) in Shoreditch, we relocated to an City Relay apartment hotel in West Kensington for the last two nights of our London visit.
Though we’ve previously stayed in short-term apartment rentals, we thought it prudent to collaborate with a local apartment specialist in London so that we could have an easy experience for our relatively short stay.
Plus, we wanted the opportunity to check out a new (to us) neighborhood in West Kensington. That’s how we ended up in a City Relay apartment.
After a City Relay representative greeted us and walked us up the four flights of stairs to the London flat, we were astounded by the sun-drenched space that was ours to enjoy for 48 hours. The spacious lounge spilled into a fully equipped kitchen with plenty of counter space and all of the necessary tools necessary for cooking and entertaining.
Beyond the entertaining areas, the London apartment hotel included two cosy bedrooms and a full ensuite bathroom. Although we only utilized one of the bedrooms, it was clean, comfortable and tastefully decorated.
More importantly, the shower had plenty of hot water and proper water pressure. What can we say? We love taking a good shower while we’re traveling!
You can easily rent additional items like espresso machines and air mattresses if you need to customize a longer stay at a City Relay apartment.
Even though the City Relay apartment hotel was not a typical hotel room, it had all of the amenities that we require when we travel. In many ways, the amenities were superior to those typically found in a hotel room. Bonus amenities included a washing machine and dishwasher.
For us, though, the best amenity was the reliable wi-fi. Though we think that decent internet should be a standard offering everywhere we stay, we are often disappointed with inadequate internet service. We were not disappointed by this internet. It always worked and had decent speed, which is not always the case with short-term rental flats in London.
For travelers like us, the entire city of London is an attraction. A wise person anonymously said that a bad day in London is better than a good day anywhere else, and we wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment.
Beyond typical London attractions like the Harry Potter tour and Madame Tussauds, we prefer to do more low-key activities like food tours and restaurant meals. Most of all, we like to walk around the different London neighborhoods and eat all kinds of ethnic food. Seriously, the food in London is among the best in the world.
We found the location of the London apartment hotel to be highly convenient.
We splurged on takeaway Chinese food from Fortune Restaurant just down the block one night when we didn’t feel like cooking, and we picked up necessary provisions at the nearby Tesco Super Store.
If we had one more night, we would have checked out Famous Three Kings, a typical London gastro pub. Based on the crowds spilling out of the pub and on to the sidewalk, this local pub is a winner.
Transportation and Logistics
We like to take the tube to get around London, so it’s important for us to stay near a tube station.
The West Kensington station is just a five-minute walk from this hotel apartment, and the walk between the two locations is pedestrian-friendly. The West Kensington tube station has metro stops for both the District line and the Picadilly line, providing ample transit options throughout the city.
Although the metro is the easiest way to get to the airport, we opted to take a city bus to the Stansted Airport bus based on the super early departure time of our flight to Bucharest. The bus stop was right near the 24-hour Tesco Super Store and was well-lit despite the pre-dawn hour.
Booking an apartment hotel stay is easy with City Relay. The real estate company has a user-friendly website that features a detailed list of their London apartments complete with prices, photos and detailed descriptions.
Once you book the apartment hotel, check-in is personal and straightforward. Although the company provides written documentation regarding the apartment (i.e. Wi-Fi, TV, rubbish, etc.), a company employee is available to ensure a smooth check-in.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
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