Tune Hotel, London SE1

Blogher writer Alison took the opportunity to stay in London’s newest low cost hotel – Tune London.

Last week I checked in to the latest UK budget hotel sensation — Tune Hotel in “Westminster”. Actually, in a similar way to flights to London actually land at airports many miles away from the city centre, it’s in Lambeth North (a 10m stroll from the Tube station). Having had the chance to sample easyHotels, Travelodges, Ramadas and Premier Inns in the past — and having once spent a night in a coffin-like capsule hotel in Japan — I felt as though I knew my low-cost hotel onions. I was curious to discover what it was all about.

It was better than the Japanese capsule (that really was a weird, cramped experience). It was also dirt-cheap, according to the advertising at least: from £35 a night if you book well in advance. But then there were the extra charges I found on the internet site when making my booking for things such as watching the TV (£3), having a towel and toiletries (£1.50), using the safe (£2) and accessing the internet (£1.50).

My room rate was £65. With a few extras, the bill came to £71. While this still seemed reasonable for Central London, it was not exactly a mind-blowing bargain, I thought, as I entered the starkly bright reception with a couple of vending machines. Chocolate bars and crisps are the in-house dining options.

A woman handed me a room key and I took a lift to the 6th floor, opening a door with “great escapes that don’t cost the earth” written on it. Inside I found a small but surprisingly bright space with a little window with a view of an apartment block and Canary Wharf in the distance.

A titchy double bed was fitted into an alcove beyond a shower room about the size of a telephone box. One of the walls was covered in pale-green wallpaper with a swirling, psychedelic flower pattern.

There was also a neat Samsung TV, a fold-down desk and a picture of an Indonesian woman in golden headgear, smiling and dancing, with an ancient temple in the background. A message on the picture said: “In Bali, land of the Gods.” Tune Hotels, which is an offshoot of the Far East budget airline AirAsia, has another property in Bali. It looked a little more tempting than Lambeth in September.

Nevertheless, I ventured outside. Directly opposite there was a Costcutter, and underneath the hotel, a Costa Coffee. Next door I found The Horse pub, a trendy place with Latino-style dance music playing and a Thai menu. I ordered an excellent curry (imagining that I was in the Far East after all).

The cool pub, the café and the mini-market are all very handy for stays. I had a good night’s sleep on a comfortable bed. The mattresses (a brand called Hypnos) are also used in five-star hotels. Tune Hotel’s rooms are going for a song … and they don’t disappoint, either.

Tune Hotels (tunehotels.com), 118-120 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7RW.

Alison paid £71 room only.