For a travelling Australian, passing through London can be an expensive endeavour. Take one part “poor Aussie dollar” and throw in another part “general expensive nature of one of the world’s greatest cities” and you have a recipe for an expensive holiday. Last year, I made tracks through the city as I headed back towards Australia from The Great Escape in Brighton. Travelling with equipment and an overwhelming state of exhaustion, a crowded hostel was not on the cards. So what other options are there? This is where Tune Hotels comes in – a comfortable hotel option for travellers on a budget.
The brand – which recently opened its first Australian location in Melbourne – comes to us from the same people who created the AirAsia brand, and their no frills approach comes with it: pay for what you need, and nothing more. Rooms at one of their five London locations – including King’s Cross, where I stayed – start from £55 (which is on the higher end of the spectrum for the brand, but serves as relative to its location), and then you add on extra for the things you need. Want to use the TV? Want a Towel? Want Internet? Want Windows? Want to store your bags? Basically, the things that you would normally be inclusive in a full service hotel aren’t included. Otherwise all you’re paying for is the bed – which comes as either a double or a twin.
This may seem like a drastic approach to accommodation – and when you’re paying £2.50 to rent a towel or leave your bag for an afternoon (which, with a 10am check-out, is likely to be the sort of thing you’ll need to do – late check outs are available but – and no surprises here – it will cost you extra), it can certainly start to add up. Though selecting bundle options like the “Comfort Package” which includes TV, hair dryer, amenities (soap, body wash), towel, safe and internet connection at the time of booking can save you some serious coin. So the question comes down to: what do you need in a hotel room? If all you need is a clean room with a bed – and a firm and comfortable beds at that – then this is just the hotel for you.
If you need all the usual trimmings, then you may end up paying just as much as other hotels – but they have certainly managed their price point in such a way that even in that scenario, you still are living cheaper than your alternatives. The 3pm check in is one of its less redeeming qualities, with a £15 charge for an early check in (and seemingly no flexibility even if your room is available) feeling like a bit of a rip off – but as the saying goes, you’re getting what you pay for.
If you are happy to spend the money, the TV is a brand new, flat screen Samsung, and has all the local channels. The rooms are designed well – with a very Asian hotelier sensibility, fitting as much as they can practically within the space provided. The fold out above will serve as your plugs to charge any devices, while a small space next to the bed acts as a makeshift desk.
This tight design applies for the bathroom as well, but everything operates well, is clean as a whistle and you’ll be sure to have a very pleasant shower during your stay – beating any hostel sharing situation any day.
It may seem like I’m being hard on a hotel that is exactly what it’s advertised as, but I’m not. I just want to do my duty of care and make sure you know what’s being advertised. It’s not the hotel option that will suit everyone, but for someone like myself – who is usually travelling on a budget but wants nothing more than his own space, it really doesn’t get better and more reliable than the Tune Hotel brand. And now that they’re starting to pop up all over the world, it’s a brand every traveller needs to know exists.
The King’s Cross location is a solid one too – a short walk from the station, but out of the madness of one of London’s busiest transport hubs. If this location doesn’t take your fancy, Tune Hotels operates in five London locations. As well as King’s Cross you can find them at Westminster, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Canary Wharf, with a sixth in Shoreditch due to open later this year.
Rooms start from £55. For more details, and to find out where else in the UK you’ll find the brand, head to their official UK website.
The writer stayed as a guest of the hotel.