Last time in London we stayed at the Grosvenor Hotel in the Victoria area. It's a convenient location for tourists, but it's also expensive, okay for a stay about 2 days or so, but may not be such a good idea for our next visit for about 7-10 days. The idea is to find a hotel away from the city center (hoping it will be cheaper), as long as it has decent public transportation system so we won't waste too much time on traffic, and the hotel is clean and safe. We would rather save the hotel costs and spend more in sightseeing, restaurants, tickets, etc. So, what are the tips of finding those inexpensive/clean/safe/decent_public_transportation hotels in the Greater London area?
We tried a little search ourselves, using the date July 19-20 and search for the Holiday Inn brand, most are not cheap, the rate for Holiday Inn-Commercial Road is 115.5 GBP ($190) is among the lowest (still not cheap enough), but several reviewers complained about bad neighborhood with one calling "Tower Hamlets is the most deprived borough in London". Is Tower Hamlets really that bad as to be not safe enough? We are not that familiar with each London neighborhood. So a side question is "What are the good areas/neighborhoods to choose and what are the bad areas/neighborhoods to avoid?" (What are the areas/neighborhoods that are known for inexpensive but decent hotels?)
Speaking of hotel brands, based on our experiences, roughly 98% of Holiday Inn are fine (a few bad apples), 88% of Holiday Inn Express are okay (a few more bad apples); that probably means Best Westerns are also okay. But those are just American brand hotels. What are UK hotel brands (or even EU hotel brands) that are known for being inexpensive while still decent?
Timing can playing a big role too. What time is a year that hotels in London are hot (thus to avoid), and what time in a year that hotel rates tend to be lower?
The above may be some general principles or rules. But if you know of any specific hotels that are inexpensive and decent, please let us know too!
Or there are popular promotions we should be aware of?
Bottom line: what hotels give biggest bang for the buck? Not luxury hotels, just inexpensive and decent.
Any tips are welcome! Thanks in advance!