I've always praised the Best Western Corona on Belgrave Road, but the most recent visit revealed some changes. The first positive change is that WiFi is now free throughout the hotel, a dramatic improvement over the previous pay-to-play deal through Coova (a hotel industry wireless hotspot provider). On top of the that, WiFi reception seems quite good throughout the hotel. We had two rooms on different floors and in different sections of the building, and WiFi was good and stable in both locations. I also noticed, on the one evening that I turned on the TV, that the hotel appears to feeding the rooms with HD signals rather than the stretched, standard definition signals we've all seen so often on hotel LCD panels. Finally!
The breakfast room manager is her same, competent and efficient self. It was nice to see her still running the show downstairs, and the coffee is still good. Breakfast room fare hasn't changed in years at the Corona - it's average, there are no cough/sneeze guards over the open bowls of yogurt, fruit, cold cuts and cheese, and the selection is limited to cold stuff only. No hard boiled eggs or scrambled eggs or sausages/bacon - continental breakfast only.
The shower stalls are surprisingly roomy - whomever designed the last room renovations a number of years ago made a smart decision there - and water control (and temperature) is just as good as it has always been.
Unfortunately, prices have increased slightly and the last room renovations are now too many years old from what I can tell. The bathroom sink is small - tiny in fact - so if you're a traveller who does a bit of laundry in the sink each night, you're going to have to do it very, very carefully. Bigger sinks please! Room carpets need more frequent deep cleaning - the carpet in my room was barely passable. Then again, room carpeting in most hotels could use more frequent deep cleaning. It's a very good idea to always pack rubber slippers or flip-flops for any hotel stay and a stay at the Corona is no exception.
The Belgrave Road strip and first-block side streets from Bessborough up to Victoria Station (about eight blocks) is occupied by, among other things, more than 40 small hotels and somewhere around 10 hostels and 5 B&Bs. It can be a bit of zoo at night these days - friendly but busy - which means getting to bed early requires earplugs, so don't forget to pack them.
The single, large window in each room is a tall, doorway style, wood frame, single glazed pair of units which don't seal up or lock into position very tightly. That means a bit of a rattle if there's any sort of wind outside and it also means the traffic noise from Belgrave Road (if you're on that side of the hotel) is quite audible. A wedge of newspaper easily solves the rattle problem, but the hotel should instead have its handyman or custodian install some weatherstripping to help silence the windows. It's a small amount of work and an inexpensive effort that would greatly increase guest comfort.
The carpeting in the common areas (stairwells and hallways) is showing signs of wearing out in many places, with quite a few actual holes and threadbare spots. Either patch the carpet or replace it, but don't leave it as it is because the worst spots are a minor trip hazard (and I might not have noticed one spot near the top of the 1st floor stairs if I hadn't snagged it accidentally).
Come on Best Western! You can do better than this!
So rates have crept up a bit, which is natural enough, but the place is definitely a bit worse for wear and the rooms are getting very dated. I've stayed at the Corona a couple of times, but I might have to book elsewhere - and possibly not at a Best Western, Diamond member though I am - when I visit London again in October. A number of the Best Western locations in London are in serious need of TLC as of May 2013, so it might be best for me to stay elsewhere until Best Western does some renovating.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An elegant Victorian conversion, the hotel is centrally located, just a stroll away from Buckingham Palace and close to everything London has to offer, which is a lot! Whether you're here on business or staying with us on a short break, there'll be plenty to do and plenty to look forward to when you come and stay with us again. After all, one trip to London is never enough! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Best Western Corona Hotel London
- Best Western Hotel Corona
- Best Western London
- London Best Western
- BEST WESTERN Corona London, England