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“Excellent value in a great location” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Penn Club

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The Penn Club
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21-23 Bedford Place, London WC1B 5JJ, England (Bloomsbury / Holborn)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #318 of 1,066 Hotels in London
Exeter, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Excellent value in a great location”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

If you want wifi, t.v. or luxury, don't bother this one. But if all you want is a very comfortable bed, a powerful, hot shower, a friendly place to stay and a great breakfast at a great price (breakfast included) in Bloomsbury, do choose this one. (Cheaper still if you're happy to share a bathroom.) Based on Quaker principles, this is a lovely, peaceful place to stay (noise to a minimum in the lounge - and no expensive bar) and a perfect location. We loved the lack of extras, the 'freebies' for which you always pay a premium in other hotels, so remember to take your own shampoo! Yet, you can make as much tea as you like at no extra cost, and yes, there are tea/coffee making facilities in the bedrooms. You get a key to the front door, so you can come and go as you please.

Room Tip: Rooms at the back overlook a little garden as opposed to the ones overlooking the main road. We chos...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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96 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    45
    9
    4
    0
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (31)
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English first
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

Was in London for a business trip, but hubby was going to be sightseeing; as expected he spent a good bit of time at the British Museum, so this location was ideal. The conference hotels were quite a bit more expensive and the reviews were scattered, the reviews for The Penn Club indicated it was clean and quiet which we absolutely found to be the case. The room was quite large and was very clean; was on the first floor a bit far from the entrance so a little cumbersome to get too with our luggage. Our room overlooked a garden and except for the noise from the extractor in the bathroom was very quiet. The beds were okay, not the most comfortable on the trip, but not the worst. Is not a phone or as far as I saw an alarm clock in the room, so glad I had my phone to wake me up in time for my meeting. Also, did not notice a hair dryer, but did not look very hard either.

We did the breakfast one morning and although there was a good selection, the quality was only okay - scrambled eggs not good, fried eggs okay, lots of toast, nice fresh fruit. We left a bit of the food on our plates and that seemed to draw some nasty looks from others. It is included in the room price, so if you are on a budget worth a try. My husband spent some time in the common room one night watching TV with some other guests and had a nice experience.

Although everything was mostly as expected, my one real complaint was the service. I understand it is not a hotel and I was not expecting to have beck and call service. Still, I would have expected at least some common courtesy. We had a morning train arrival and wanted to do some sightseeing before my conference began, so headed straight to the club. I fully expected to just leave the luggage, but said we were there to check in as frequently the rooms are ready and they will let you go ahead and check in, this seemed to draw some ire, but they did allow us to leave our luggage - other guests had done so too. Was checked in by another staff member who was a wee bit nicer, but still did not feel like we were a welcomed guest. That evening, I stopped by to ask if they could call a taxi and again the response was not very pleasant like I was asking for some herculean task, she did say it was easy to catch one outside; not upset that they didn't do it, just in the way they responded to my request. They did do me a favor the next morning, so it wasn't all bad. Oh, and a tip, be very careful with your key, they are real keys (not electronic) and require a room deposit (5GBP each set), if you lose it, you have to pay 25 GBP - one poor lady had that happen while we were there.

Overall it was a nice place to stay, very spacious rooms - especially for London, very convenient and a good value. If you might be a high maintenance traveler, not the place for you.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle, Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

Penn Club Has the calm of its Quaker connections. There is a simplicity in its basic rooms and a simplicity in its breakfast in a dining area free of mobile noise. The public areas are not areas for the chatter of our mobile society. The Reading Room is a haven in which to relax. Penn Club is very conveniently placed for travel from Russell Square - a station on the direct line to Heathrow. Bloomsbury is a fine area to experience London style and the British Museum is around the block. Great walks in the area and it is a comfortable walk to London landmarks such as St Paul's and central London. Penn Club is a bargain in the expensive metropolis.

Room Tip: Budget is on top floor. No lift. This is clearly set out when booking on line. If you choose shared...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kendal, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

If you're turned off by multi-national hotel chains with expensively crafted "mission statements", then here's one place that genuinely delivers what it promises: "The Club’s purpose is to provide premises in central London for the enjoyment of members and guests; and to foster a spirit of fellowship in accordance with its Quaker ethos ... Our employment and purchasing policies reflect our Quaker association. We seek to encourage community whilst respecting the individual’s privacy." Although it's a members' club, anyone can stay there.

And that's it. It's very well placed - 10-15 minutes' walk from Euston and King's Cross; two minute's walk from Russell Sq tube (for Heathrow). Popular tourist destinations such as Oxford St, West End theatres, Trafalgar Square, even the Houses of Parliament are all within walking distance for an averagely fit person. There are public gardens close by.

The accomodation is basic but comfortable (don't expect air con). The club has an 'interesting' internal layout (two buildings joined together, four floors, no lifts). The only meal served in breakfast, "full English". It's not a gourmet dining experience, but you won't go hungry either.

What makes the Club special is its atmosphere. It's a very 'safe' place for solo travellers. If you want company, then the Club provides subtle ways to bring people together; if you want to be left to yourself, then your wishes will be respected. It's a peaceful, genuine place, where hospitality means much more than teaching the staff to smile and say "Have a nice day" at every opportunity.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

I have been staying in The Penn Club on and off for the last ten years. It's really good for solo travellers as it's reasonable rates, friendly, quiet, very clean and located in my favourite London location. I stopped staying for a couple years because I couldn't negotiate the stairs and preferred to find a hotel with lifts (and air conditioning in the summer). I've returned now that I can manage the stairs again. However, note that there are two rooms (for two) on the ground floor you can request, and I book these when visiting with my elderly mother. I prefer a single, all of which, I believe, are upstairs. You can always get help with your bags on arrival to get to your room. You usually need to book well in advance, but it's always worth a try.

Room Tip: Rooms on the garden side are quieter.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Voorschoten, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
113 reviews 113 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2012

No carpet on the floor, many shared, old fashioned bathrooms (and some en suite). No carpet on the floor, just a rug by the bed, and very simple furniture. The resident's lounge has mandatory silence for a period each evening, and also a simple quiet worship and prayer service.
The huge full English breakfast (or kippers, or smoked haddock), is probably the best breakfast in London.
If you want a quiet oasis of calm whilst visiting London, use the Penn Club. But if it is summer, and hot, you might like to ask for a room at the rear, as Bedford Place has quite a lot of traffic noise, and a lot of student accommodation.

Room Tip: rear rooms are quieter, higher floor rooms are quieter (but there is no elevator!).
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chesterfield, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2012

I stay at the Penn Club from time to time, as its central, and an easy walk from St Pancras, and not too far from the Angel, and Regent's Park which is where I am usually going.

Its not the latest plastic and chrome, corporate, production line hotel. Its much more like an old-fashioned boarding house. The floorbaords creak, buses rev-up outside, but the beds are clean and comfortable and the breakfast is one of the best I have had anywhere.

The communal table is a brilliant idea - I always end up in interesting conversations, with fascinating people and have to discipline myself in order not to be late for my meetings.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Penn Club

Address: 21-23 Bedford Place, London WC1B 5JJ, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > London > Bloomsbury / Holborn
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant
Hotel Style:
#280 Family Hotel in London
#340 Business Hotel in London
Number of rooms: 45
Also Known As:
The Penn Club Hotel London
Penn Hotel London
The Penn Club London, England

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