London – Newham (Borough of) – ExCel Centre Holiday Inn Express

Conveniently located near to the Royal Albert DLR station, I picked this hotel as there was an offer on points which I thought I’d take advantage of. The check-in was efficient and the Government’s slightly onerous rules were explained by a helpful member of staff. Normally there is an offer of a welcome drink or bonus points, but they were just giving extra points which seemed reasonable enough given the current Tier 2 situation.

The room, all clean and well presented. However, I wasn’t that keen on the whole arrangement as this is one of those hermetically sealed hotels with no opening windows. That was coupled with a decision made by the hotel to set the temperature to that similar to that of a furnace in full operation. Making that worse was that the air conditioning was very basic, so customers can’t set it (there was a panel on the wall, more as a placebo effect as the hotel is all heated or cooled to the same temperature). It’s just a decision to do things on the cheap by IHG and it means I won’t stay here again. As an aside, I’d heard about a travel writer saying the best thing to do was to soak a towel in cold water and put under your feet or head, and that worked rather well. But it’s hardly ideal.

I risked going down to breakfast at the “very busy, queues are highly likely” time. Although it makes me wonder why the hotel hasn’t changed the capacity to deal with that, but that’s a different matter for when the hospitality industry recovers.

Here’s the very busy breakfast area.

And the queues.

There was a full English breakfast option available, but I opted for a bacon butty which was of a perfectly good quality. The drinks options were coffee, tea, pre-packaged juices and the like, but given the challenging times at the moment, this was all sufficient. Incidentally, the staff members were making a huge effort to explain the breakfast arrangements, take orders and engage with customers.

So, if the hotel hadn’t skimped on its air conditioning arrangements then I might come here again as the staffing was on point and everything seemed clean and professionally run. For those who don’t mind warmer rooms, it’s probably all quite unproblematic as a hotel though.