When working in London I used to get bored of the usual faceless, nationwide chains offering the exact same rooms, views, meals and reminders of how we can all save the world by drying off on wet towels throughout the stay.
This is when I decided to set a budget and try to find at least one 'interesting' hotel to stay at when working in the capital; 'Stress Less' is certainly worth a mention. Now I did stay at the one in Leyton and eventually found it down a very long road. It looked like any other house and I stayed at the top of the stairs in an attic room that meant if I got up to quickly from the bed I would knock myself out. However, it is the Stress Less in Hoe Street that deserves the plaudits!
For those that are not familiar with London, this Stress Less is in Walthamstow E17. It is at the end of the line on the tube and has excellent bus routes. Walthamstow itself can be a bit intimidating but it is a friendly enough part of East London and has pubs, cafes and restaurants to keep you topped up. There was a fair amount of regeneration going on when I was there so I expect there to be a lot more to do at night now. The good news is that if you are a businessman with sore shoulders that is after a massage, the ground floor of this establishment seemed to be one that would offer you a happy ending to a stressful day!
The picking up of the key was hilarious as my Mandarin was as bad as the "receptionist's" English. But after a lot of pointing I was giving a key and told to go through a door, up some stairs, and through another door to the room. The room was a double. It had an attempt at a curtain over the main road. There were also cupboards, a sink, a bed, another bed in a box, some dumb bells, some plugs from the 1950s and a toilet/shower that you had to hold your breath to squeeze into. If you can imagine a documentary about squalid living you can imagine this room. My first stop was Argos to buy some towels as there were none provided (except one that looked like it had been used to suffocate a rat). I had to share the room with some mould on the walls and ceiling, but it was friendly enough. The decor was based on bodily fluids, which did give the room a somewhat Dickensian charm.
On the whole I could not recommend this place to anyone except those seeking a bit of a thrill and adventure. I don't think I could stay for longer than two nights without the 'novelty' wearing off, or possibly catching some Victorian disease!
One best avoided unless you want to relive a couple of scenes from 'Mona Lisa' (the film, not the painting!)