I stayed in a non-AC room for one night in December 2012. As a solo female traveller, I felt safe in the hotel. The staff (and by this, I mostly mean the guys at the front desk) were always nice, helpful and respectful.
The room was spacious though clearly very old and run-down. However, it served my purposes (ie to have a bed for one night) well. Hot water worked fine.
I was a bit worried because there was a window in the room but there were no glass panes - just metal railings. This was covered by the curtains. I thought this meant it was possible for someone outside to stick his/her arm in and move the curtains away, but I didn't check in detail. So there might be an issue of privacy, apart from the noise from outside if you like to sleep very early.
There's not much soundproofing between the rooms, so I'm glad the kids next door shut up after a while.
As for location, it's about 25 minutes by train away from CST station (otherwise known as Victoria Terminus). The advantage is that it's less than half an hour away from the airport.