FINDING A LONDON PUB THAT'S JUST RIGHT
JUST as they'll tell you in the real estate game that it's all to do with Position, Position, Position, so too is it when it comes to the hotel business, although those at the latter will tend to use the more evocative Location, Location, Location.
And this generally equates to the best of beaches with sand and sea at guest's very doors or to be enjoyed from bar or restaurant, atop the finest headlands with grandest views, in the most-remote heartlands of near-pristine wilderness, or conversely in the busiest of CBD locations…
None of these "bests of" will come cheaply, of course, and a few months back we sought a hotel in London whose Location, Location, Location needed to be near the CBD without being actually in it, reasonably close to a few attractions we wanted to visit, and near to a major rail station.
A big ask, but we needed that station in particular to give us good access to trains not only around London, but with connections to several regional lines as well – and even up to Scotland for good measure.
And yes, our hotel needed to be at a price that would not burn too big a hole in the budget.
Remarkably we found that what ticked all our boxes was economy-priced (for London,) and actually below what we expected to pay. It was the Ibis Euston St Pancras on Cardington Street in Central London, and just 3km to the CBD as well as such things as Covent Garden, Soho's theatre district and the West End – while Oxford Street and Bond Street shopping were also conveniently close, and the combined Underground and Overground Euston Station just 3-minutes over the road.
And when my wife was off shopping, I found the hotel equally handy to the British Museum, Madame Tussaud's and the London Planetarium…
The 177-years old Euston Station is actually the 6th busiest in London and not only offers those London Underground and Overground services, but Virgin Trains, London Midland, and First ScotsRail to such diverse centres as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Coventry and Lockerbie to name a few…
And if you want to go to other far flung places not served by Euston, a mere half- kilometre and one station up the line is the massive Kings Cross/St Pancras complex that has more Underground line-connections than any other London station, and also serves the East Midlands, Britain's South-eastern district, ThamesLink whose trains run to Brighton, Surrey, Bedford and numerous other regional centres, while Britain's only high-speed train, Eurostar departs here for Paris and onwards to Brussels, Lille, the French and Swiss Alps and Geneva.
And it was from Kings Cross/St Pancras my wife got the train to Inverness in Scotland after our London stay.
Opened in 1868, Kings Cross/St Pancras is today almost a destination in itself, with shops, bars and restaurants within the station complex and thick on the ground around it… and with one platform housing Searcy St Pancras Grand Champagne Bar that at 98m in length boasts being the longest Champagne bar in Europe. At Terrace level with plenty of glass, it's an ideal place to sip Champers and take-in the entire rail terminal's comings and goings below while awaiting your own train.
Euston and Kings Cross/St Pancras stations alone can be good enough reason to choose the Ibis Euston St Pancras, whose 380 rooms, while maybe not quite as large as some others', are very clean, neat, have TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities – and free WiFi.
A restaurant at night has a small but very acceptable menu with starters, salads, sandwiches or a half-dozen or so main courses, a handful of desserts, and there's a modest wine list. There is also a separate bar throughout the day and night.
Breakfasts are rewarding with a choice of Continental (fruit juices, teas, coffees, pastries, fruits and jams/spreads,) or Full English including the Continental choices plus cereals, scrambled or boiled eggs, bacon, pork sausages, pan-fried mushrooms, hash browns, ham and turkey slices…
Ibis Euston St Pancras room rates start seasonally from 72GBP (about AU$133) a night, with breakfast additional (around AU$8.30 for Continental and AU$16.50 Full English.) For details and bookings, go to www.ibis.com/euston_st_pancras or see travel agents.
 LONDON'S Ibis Euston St Pancras – Location, Location, Location. (Ibis.com)
 ROOMS small but very clean, neat and close to almost-budget in price. (Ibis.com)
 LOUNGE at London's Ibis Euston St Pancras Hotel. (Ibis.com)
 EUSTON Station is 3 minutes across the road, and London's sixth busiest with both Underground and Overground rail services. (VisitLondon.com)
 Kings Cross/St Pancras Station, built in 1868 with rail services now reaching across Great Britain and to Paris and Europe. (WikiPedia)
 SEARCY St Pancras Champagne Bar is the longest Champagne Bar in Europe. (Searcy Champagne Bar)
Originally FOR WEEK BEGINNING 08 DECEMBER 2014