London: Stay Well, Do Good

6 01 2011

RP_Exterior_05_Hi
Story by John O’Ceallaigh; above the exterior of The Royal Park;
Originally published in GPS.OutTraveler.com

January’s usually a time of cutbacks and austerity for would-be travelers so it’s good to know that one of the New Year’s best deals is to be found in London — city rarely recommended for its affordability.

Throughout the month sister hotels The Royal Park and The Cranley are supporting two children’s charities with a novel promotion. Guests who book a room for £50 (including breakfast) and stay at either property from 5-31 January are invited to pay what they think the room is worth, with any balance over £50 going directly to either Ndoro Children’s Charity, if you’re staying at The Cranley, or the NSPCC, if you stay at The Royal Park.

Rooms at each hotel routinely start at £149 so savings are significant even if you make a substantial contribution to the causes, and there’s no compromise on quality. Both properties are housed in converted 19th-century townhouses within central London and exude old-school English charm throughout. The complimentary glass of champagne on arrival is a nice touch but the biggest draw is probably the service, which is more personable than many of London’s larger hotels, and the rooms themselves, which are often luxuriously but demurely finished with sturdy, old mahogany furniture and the odd antique.

If you’re keen to make your travel budget stretch even further it’s good to know both are near world-class museums that offer free admittance. The Cranley in exclusive South Kensington is minutes from the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum  — a trip to Harrods just up the road could set you back significantly more. (At press time, £1 will set you back about $1.54.)

Heading across the pond? First, check out our Out Guide to London.

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