I was disappointed with a recent stay at the Griffin House Holiday Apartments. Based on the #1 ranking on tripadvisor I had higher expectations. That said, I can see the pros and cons of the apartment and how those might play out differently for different types of travelers, so I'll try to lay them out here so that you can weight the importance of each component within your own mind.
PROS: I did a lot of research into lodging for families, understanding that London is an expensive city and doesn't always accommodate families well. I do believe that Griffin House is a reasonable price in comparison to other options in London. As others have noted in previous reviews, the hosts were kind and left us with fresh eggs and milk in the refrigerator, which was gracious and inviting. The garden is nice and hard to find in a big city.
CONS: Several items interplayed to make this (in hindsight) not the best choice for us. The biggest con for our family was that the apartment had a bad odor. I know that the hosts have a cat that lives upstairs and I think that was the culprit. Our family has allergies and if I had known that there was any chance of cat in the apartment we would have chosen a different accommodation. This impacted how we felt during the trip, which hampered our ability to enjoy the city to the maximum degree. We knew based on other reviews that the neighborhood was a bit sketchy, and we found this to be the case. We also knew the apartment was a bit out of the city center but didn't fully understand how much this would impact travel with children. There is currently some major road construction going on right outside the apartment and this made for a noisy environment. In terms of cleanliness, the apartment could benefit from a deep cleaning.
For us, the cons in conjunction with each other outweighed the pros. I would not recommend the apartment for somebody with animal allergies.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Many thanks for your review and we appreciate the positive things you said about Griffin House, namely that we offer excellent value for money and you enjoyed our garden. However we take issue with the rest of your review, which we find inaccurate and unjustified.
Report response as inappropriate
Firstly, with regard to our pets and your family’s cat allergy. We do have a cat and a dog and indeed chickens at the bottom of the garden. None of the animals are allowed in the apartments – Barney, our dog, and Filou, our cat, live in our space only, though of course guests might encounter them in our garden. Your children played frequently in the garden, and stroked both Barney and Filou – perhaps this is why they showed signs of an allergy? You state you did careful research about our place before you came, yet you did not pick up on the fact that we have animals, which is clearly on our website and in many of the tripadvisor reviews. You also never mentioned your problem to us during your stay. To others reading this response, we would say that if you do have issues with exposure to animals, perhaps Griffin House is not the place for you.
You mention there was an ‘odor’ in the apartment during your stay – again we would have appreciated it if you had said something to us while you were here as perhaps we could have done something about it. We think that if there were indeed a smell, it might have come from the road works for drainage that were going on during the days you were here. For this we can only apologise. With regard to your comment about the apartment needing a deep clean, we find this just plain wrong. We have the highest standards of cleanliness and over 140 reviews on tripadvisor bear this out.
Next, addressing your complaints about our location – it is clearly stated on our website how far Griffin House is from the Underground station and the centre of London. For the record, it is a five to ten minute walk to the station and then takes around 10 minutes to get to places such as Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace on the train. You state that the neighbourhood is ‘sketchy’, I am sorry but we find this comment ignorant and ill informed. We note you come from Anchorage in Alaska, so have probably had little exposure to a multicultural melting pot like London. We are proud of our neighbourhood’s diversity – it is home to people a huge variety of people – gay and straight, black and white, Christian, Muslim and Jewish. This is a real London neighbourhood with shops, schools, churches and mosques. Anchorage it certainly is not. If this sort of neighbourhood makes you feel uneasy, and you find this ‘sketchy’, Griffin House is not the place for you.
Finally we are saddened that your stay at Griffin House did not live up to your expectations. We offer a different kind of environment to the usual small hotel rooms you would get in other parts of London for the same price. We provide gay-friendly and family friendly apartments – a place where you’ll have a great space with plenty of room and access to a garden with resident pets that is situated in a real London neighbourhood – in short, a home from home. We’re sorry this isn’t what you wanted and hope you have better luck in finding something that meets your needs next time.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.