I stayed here over the weekend. I had previously a lot of problems trying to get a room here over many years; it was only through the very kind intervention of Barbara that I managed to get a room. Thank you, however the fundamental problem still exists of the place being over subscribed, I'll explore this later but on to the good and bad points of the UJC.
Ok, it is very well situated next to Waterloo and on the south bank, it is an easy walk to the Houses of Parliament the theatre area, trafalgar square etc. It is better situated than the victory the other service persons club in London to visit the very center of London. However the victory is probably better for shopping being situated near the top of Oxford street.
The foyer of the UJC seems nicer with military art everywhere and a coffee shop. The UJC has a small parking area with truly tiny parking places requiring some skill in reversing to get into the tiny space I was allocated. The cost was £15 per night for parking. Prior to arrival I rang the UJC asking what I needed to do to park, I was told nothing just drive down the underground car park. Ok, so on arrival we drive to the gate and .....it's locked! So we ring the number on the gate and are told some one will be there in two mins.....ten mins later we are still sat there....so I walk to the UJC where I dutifully state to the lady at reception I am trying to park and the gate is locked. "Yes yes she says, just drive to the second gate" I replied, "I can't as the first gate is locked.".....no no " she says "drive to the second gate",...I replied "..no you don't understand the gate at the road is locked so I can't drive anywhere"......"yes yes (in Eastern European accent?) just drive down into the car park to second gate".......(face palm) "no you don't understand the first gate is locked"..."yes yes the man will be down to open second gate just drive down"....I left,....this lady obviously could not understand that the first gate at the roadside was locked....so I get back to the car look down and confirm there are three gates.....then the security man comes and asks me to drive down the exit ramp into the car park.....and not through all the gates.
We get to the room and the room is very small probably just enough room to walk around the bed. The rooms were not really modern even though I had been told they were modernised and hence the popularity of the UJC. My room was a bit tatty looking for example the bathroom door was broken underneath. The tv was ok and there was a kettle. However room service didn't renew some of the toiletries. The major problem however was the bed it was on castors and so just touching the bed slightly would move it. The prospect of sitting up in bed surfing the net or watching tv was absolutely impossible as the headboard was on the wall and so as soon as you rested your back against the wall the bed skidded across the bedroom! The view across London however was spectacular!
Breakfast was ok but I never saw any fruit or dried fruit to add to cereal. Coffee wasn't forthcoming until you virtually had to grab the waiter...
Ok, still with me? Good, getting a room here is problematic. I did obviously manage to get a room after the very very kind intervention of a member of staff. However, the UJC was set up and still is a charity serving the armed forces and it is very very difficult without giving massive notice to get a room. So it is a surprise that the fire brigade are allowed to stay as are the police the ambulance service other emergency services , nurses and retired officers .....my point is when does sheer running a business for profit over ride the original founding principles? Why should I not get a room but a fireman can, when this place was specifically set up for service personnel? Also, I seem to remember when joining the UJC having a conversation on the phone about no officers able to stay, why do I then meet a rather pompous retired officer lording it about in an other ranks club? No, the fundamental founding principles have gone astray, a few years ago I couldn't get a room because French train drivers from Eurostar were billeted at the UJC ...so what's changed ..... nothing it's now firemen nurses ambulance men police retired officers etc.
In summary, great location. Poor quality room, restricted parking and very poor service in relation to being able to book.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Union Jack Club is a Service charity for serving and former non-commissioned members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces and their families and provides a comfortable and friendly base from which to explore London. Versatile accommodation for individuals,couples, families and groups and fully accessible. Come and experience the Union Jack Club yourself. ... more less