Where: Euston, London, England.
Long story short: Quirky, ethical and station-centric bargain
Short story long: The Wesley is a welcome treat as you step off the train at Euston. Especially when you have traversed Luxembourg and crossed the Channel that same day and are exhausted, hungry and a little bit weepy. I was weepy enough to feel a little bit religious as I walked through the doors.
The experience was intensified by the fact I was greeted by Uriah Heep, who was so accommodating he almost scraped the floor as he bowed. I’m being unnecessarily mean. The welcome on arrival was lovely and was exactly what I needed. My room (OK, the Jubilee Suite) was situated right behind the reception, which meant I didn’t have to lug my really heavy bag any further than I needed to and I gratefully fell into it, eagerly devouring the complimentary shortbreads as I went.
I’d been in a right old iffy place in Luxembourg too, so this was living the high life proper. A bowl of fresh flowers (isn’t a bowl of flowers SO much posher than a vase?), stiff white bedding and two (count ‘em!) boxes of complimentary (I hope) toiletries sealed the deal. But, to be fair, it had me on “very close to Euston”.
I took in my surroundings. I was in shock after Luxembleurgh. I made a hot chocolate. Then I turned all the lamps on and off. There were four lamps and you can always tell the quality of a hotel room by the number of lamps it has. Two bottles of water and two shower heads. Why? I don’t know.
Later, I peeped back out in the foyer and saw people of all denominations wandering happily in and out, arm in arm (maybe) as though they had been placed there for a photoshoot or for the purposes of this review. It made me feel warm and connected, in the heart of London but in a place with heart.
The Wesley was originally established in Bayswater in 1950 as Methodist International House, part of missionary Hilda Porter’s pledge to open student hostels offering safe and hospitable accommodation for international students in post-war Britain. The hotel and conference centre has been in situ since 1998 but rebranded in 2013 as the UK’s “first ethical hotel”.
I fiddled with the TV a bit (all seemed in order) but was so tired that I flaked as soon as my head hit the pillow. But at around 2am I was awoken by the ghost of John Wesley himself (well, ok, a train) admonishing me for not brushing my teeth (which is honestly the worst thing I did in there) or somesuch. This small issue aside, the bed was very comfortable and the pillows incredibly squishy. And There Was No Full-Length Mirror. I like to think this was another of Wesley’s touches. It just wouldn’t do, would it, to preen oneself, in a place like this.
I awoke reluctantly the following morning and could have stayed in bed for a good few more hours but I hauled my sinner’s ass down to the atrium for breakfast. The atrium is a large, airy, well, atrium, designed for meetings and meals. It was spotless, like my room, but welcoming, like the rest of the hotel. I braced myself for a jarring lack of European “Bonjour madame” from my fellow diners but instead got a flurry of smiles from happy campers. I dithered for a nano-second over the buffet and a man came and assisted me. I took a free newspaper (one of each of the good one, plus a few respectable magazines). The breakfast (I had the full works, plus fruit, plus cheese, plus a croissant) was delicious and the coffee strong enough to start the day.
I had, I have, no gripes. The Wesley is great. It’s functional, it’s friendly and it’s convenient but it doesn’t scrimp on warmth. It can be harder than you would ever imagine to find a central London hotel that’s affordable and decent. Hotels in the capital veer from eye-wateringly expensive and opulent to eye-wateringly expensive and utter cesspits and the architecture and location does nothing to help the consumer weed out the rogues. No disrespect to somewhere like the Travelodge but, well, it’s horrible, and the Wesley does what it really should be doing; offering warm and friendly accommodation at affordable prices without feeling like you are sleeping in a vending machine.
Rooms are definitely basic and my Jubilee Suite was no exception but The Wesley doesn’t make any attempt to be luxurious or fashionable. Its focus is on comfort (I noted the generous 2pm check-in time too, don’t think I didn’t) and it works. I shall return.
Champagne tastes: £180 for the Jubilee Suite
Shandy Pockets: Single rooms from £79
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Review by Hazel Davis
Wesley Hotel, Euston, London :