Good alternative to hotels in the tourist belt
The Holiday Inn Excel is the newest (August 2003) Holiday Inn in London and very conveniently located on the western border of the Docklands new event center, the Excel.
The hotel's lounge has a minimalistic cubist design, a theme that is carried on throughout the hotel, especially in the bedrooms and the bars, where the strict square shapes are being mellowed by earthy, mediterranean tones.
The hotel features 210 pretty nice rooms (I was able to get a peek of most types), but the best value must be the executive room, which has all mod cons you would expect without the expensive extra space of a suite. A vast pool, sauna, steam room and well equipped gym are free for the hotel guests and are immaculately clean.
The first floor features a huge conference area for the corporate types and some nice quiet lounges to relax, read and enjoy your drinks. The entertainment options in the guestrooms are impressive, with internet access (both on the TV set and via ethernet/dhcp), ca 40 films (which can be paused and reviewed later), plenty of TV channels (but no Radio 4 or CNN. Big Mistake) and the usual soft porn. The bar is well equipped and has a good selection of beers and single malts.
Service is swift and friendly (although while I stayed there were some issues with the refilling of our coffee/tea) and the executive room had ample space, a desk and 2 very nice easychairs.
The hotel is ca 2 km away from London City Airport between plenty of lakes, docks and moorings and has a very convenient Docklands Light Railway station adjacent to the entrance, taking you to Tower Gateway in 15 minutes.
Although a bit away from it all, this has to be the first choice if you want your hotel away from the mass-tourism of the West End, Kensington et al. with all their annoying features (American tourists, etc) but still be able to have access to the important parts of London (Docklands, East End, City) and have quick access to an efficient airport that's not overrun with charter tourism.
Four out of Five stars on my personal comfort scale, with a minus for housekeeping and lack of Radio 4 and CNN.
Holiday Inn London-Docklands ExCeL
Royal Victoria Dock
Tel: +44 870 990 9692