I enjoy the anonymity of travel, which is why I don’t enjoy many B&Bs;, where they insist that everyone gather together at the breakfast table and get to know one another. I stayed at a B&B; in Washington State that was like this, and I will not go back even though it was a nice, clean place run by nice people who cooked nice food. Hotel breakfast chitchat is fine after a Catskills mixer from the 1960s–not fine when all you want is coffee and contemplative silence. I would rather stay at the Tower of London prisoners’ quarters than engage in contrived pleasantries with strangers at that hour. Looks quiet and peaceful there, right?
At the Jesmond Hotel in London, I found the peace and quiet I craved–a B&B; where no one asked me my name, just whether I wanted bacon or sausage or both with my eggs (I admit, sometimes I ordered both). Guests in the breakfast room spoke French and English while sitting quietly at their own individual tables. Everyone was friendly, and looking far more polished and hip than I could muster at 8 o’clock in the morning, and everyone respected each other’s personal space and desire for solitude. Perfect.
What was also perfect was Jesmond’s price, location, and cheery atmosphere. Maybe it was the Christmas decorations strewn about the breakfast room and staircase, for the Jesmond had a very warm and welcoming vibe. Located just two blocks from the Goodge Street tube station, and a five-minute walk from the British Museum, the Jesmond is the ideal crash pad for an urban vacation.
Gower Street was lined with townhome-style hotels so the Jesmond gets lost among the crowd there. I can’t remember why we picked the Jesmond other than the name sounded very English and the price was right. We paid about $187 USD/night for a family of three, and $15 USD for a week’s worth of in-room wi-fi. Our hotel included a robust breakfast every morning served by the same stout woman who always wore bright-colored aprons. Staying at a budget hotel freed up money to do fun stuff, like visit the London aquarium, ice skate at Somerset House, and ride the London Eye:
The Jesmond isn’t designed for lounging about during the day–rooms are small and simple, the beds are not fancy, but are comfortable. The whole idea is for you to sleep, eat, and then get out the door. I will note the shower pressure in our bathroom was the best I’ve experienced worldwide–no joke. Mike and I raved about it the whole week, for it simultaneously soothed and awakened. I can only describe it as part massage and part warm, wet blanket. That first hot shower after the red-eye flight from America–wow! The shower alone is worth staying at the Jesmond–ask for room 17.
This hotel is perfect for families vacationing on a budget–as we always are–and for those who just need a place to snooze, nosh, who have high standards for hot showers, and who want to connect online after a busy day of sightseeing. We definitely look forward to visiting London and the Jesmond again.