Archive for the ‘Where to Stay’ Category

Here to Stay

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Maya asks:

I want to take my boyfriend for a day out in Greenwich. I want to stay with him in the area so we don’t have to race home. The stranger the better. He is a big history buff and likes anything from the 18th century. Do you know of anywhere we can stay?

The Phantom replies:

For somewhere that’s such a tourist attraction we seem to specialise in bland chain hotels. If you love the Novotel/Ibis/Premier Inn type place you’re well-in but if you’re after somewhere a little more cosy, there’s only really one place I’d wholeheartedly recommend.

Robert Gray’s quirky guesthouse at Number 16 St Alfege Passage should do the trick nicely – literally round what looks like the back but which is actually the front of the 18th Century St Alfege Church (hint: turn off your speakers before you click on the website.) Robert is a fantastic host and true Greenwich character, and the B&B is right bang in the centre of town.

Hmm. Places to visit that have an 18th Century bent… Well, there’s the obvious big hitters – The Old Royal Naval College and St Alfege Church, but you should also walk up to Ranger’s House, an English Heritage property which has very arcane opening hours but is well worth the trip. I say ‘walk up’ because there are lots of interesting Georgian Houses on the routes up ther e- Crooms Hill, Hyde Vale etc.

If your boyfriend is a Hawksmoor buff, don’t miss the old Conduit House in the park. It’s not open to the public but is a nice example of his less grand work. At the top of Hyde Vale there’s also a little conduit head and in the park, that thing that looks like a hobbit hole near the kiddies’ playground is also Conduit.

He should also take a look at Vanbrugh Castle on the other side of the park – again, not open to the public but worth a look for the castlellation.

I am sure other Phantophiles will have good suggestions for both places to stay and 18th Century things to see.

Let It Be

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

I was intrigued by an article on the BBC local news last night about the scramble for accommodation for the Olympic games. It seemed an odd piece to run on that particular programme because the majority of its viewership presumably won’t be having to resort to tents on a caravan site in Essex or bunk up onboard a German cruise ship. I’d give you the link but as usual BBC TV and its own website  don’t seem to have bothered talking to each other and there are different stories on the telly than online again.

But it got me thinking about those people who are going to be getting the hell out during the games and taking the cash instead. There’s already a bit of a scramble for your house – at least if the agents who have contacted me are anything to go by.

And it is a potential moneyspinner, though it’s by no means certain you’ll be guaranteed millions. There was someone on the box last night who reckons that by the time the circus comes to town there will be far more hotel rooms than there will be folk looking to put their heads down, so a fast buck is in no way assured.

It also makes me wonder what will happen to these rooms after the games – it seems unlikely they’ll be suitable for turning into proper living space, so I have a horrid feeling that dodgy, low-cost, exploitative accommodation beckons, instead of real housing options.

So what is there out there? Certainly all the hospitality places in town are touting for business. INC have everything up for grabs including a certain person’s own gaff (someone did send me the link but I have, cough, 454 un-dealt with emails just now and I just can’t find it) and I’m sure absolutely any church hall, pub upstairs room and restaurant will be happy to hear from potential party organisers.

If you want to join them, I don’t think that Greenwich Council is going to repeat their course on how to turn your place into a B&B like they did for the millennium, but there’s a positive rash of online companies have sprung up to help cater for your every need and they all seem to have dropped through the Phantom mailbox. Accommodation For The Games”, London Rent My House, Crashpadder, Rent During the Games – the list goes on. And on.

I don’t have an axe to grind about any of them and I’m not particularly interested personally as I have every intention of staying around. If there’s going to be a spare inch chez Phantom I’ll be mightily surprised as sundry friends and family suddenly express a long-held desire to come and visit, just coincidentally during those few weeks.

I guess that the one that does intrigue me a little if I was looking to rent out is Staywimi (a name I wouldn’t have chosen) that operates a bit like ebay – you advertise your room with them and only pay if someone actually stays with you.

For me, though, renting out and leaving seems just plain wrong. However much I may fret about the state of the park – and I do still worry, (though I feel generally better thanks to the efforts of a few, who probably think they ‘lost’ because their aim was to stop the equestrian events entirely, when really I’d say they’ve won – a major event is still coming but they’re forcing its organisers to be responsible – I see that as a major win) there is one undeniable thing.

London is going to be THE place to be next year. It’s going to be absolutely buzzing and it’s going to be on our doorsteps. Who would want to miss that?

Short Term Lets

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Bergin asks:

“My parents are coming to visit in January for a few weeks after our baby is due and I was wondering if you knew of any short term rentals of flats in Greenwich/ Blackheath area? Perhaps someone wants to escape dark england for a few weeks to sunnier places?”

The Phantom replies:

First of all, congratulations on your forthcoming happy days, Bergin…

I’m not fabulous on ‘where to stay’ – since I live here already, I’ve never actually vacationed in Greenwich…

I was contacted recently, though, by Dawn Harverson of Greenwich Holiday Lets , a company who specialise in self-catering in the centre of Greenwich. They have several properties, from 2-bed to entire houses. I have no experience at all of them, so I can’t personally recommend them, but she tells me they’re the first accommodation company to get 5 stars on two of their properties.

My other thought is to try Robert Gray at Number 16 St Alfege’s Passage – I don’t know if he does slightly longer B&B rates, but you’d be out of season – you never know…

There are the usual hotels, of course – again, you’ll be out of season – might be worth a try. Davenport House and the Novotel are unexciting but central. The Mitre and St Christopher’s aren’t really what I’d send parents to…

Or maybe there’s someone who’s going on holiday here who fancies doing a short let?

Number 37

Friday, September 21st, 2007

37, Burney St, SE10

There’s an interesting new guesthouse/B&B in Burney St which looks quite fun. I haven’t actually been to stay there yet – I need to find some good excuse – but I thought I’d let you know about it in case you’ve got friends or relatives coming to stay and St Alfeges is all booked up now they’re TV stars…

Run by Julia and Steve, Number 37′s only been open a couple of months so it all looks quite new and fresh. The photos on the website look good – but for the moment that is all I can say. I will try to get to stay there when I can , but in the meanwhile, if you or a relative pays a visit, do let me know how you get on…

St Alfege’s Passage (Oooer, Missus…)

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

A charming little early-Victorian slip-though running down beside St Alfege’s church. The house on the end, next to the entrance to the churchyard is by far the prettiest at any time of year as they carefully keep their window boxes full to bursting point. What with the old stone paving, the splendid entrance to St Alfege’s churchyard and the lovely lamp posts, this is an enchanting passageway.

At No 16, is St Alfege’s Guest House, a dear little B&B – from what I can see on the website. I walked down there the other day to see if I could find it (before I looked it up) and it’s so discreet that I couldn’t tell which house it was.

Run by Robert & Nicholas (or so I read) it has, it would appear, three exquisite rooms, one of which is a single; another has a four-poster bed. The sitting room looks cosy too. The prices seem pretty damn reasonable for the centre of Greenwich – nay, for London – from £40 for a single room. It’s predominantly gay, but claims to give straight people an equally warm welcome. Watch out, Robert and Nicholas. The Phantom or one of the team of spooky spies will be staying with you soon…

The Mitre

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

The Mitre Hotel

We were early for our screening at the Picturehouse on Saturday. The Lord Hood was having its jazz day – it was very full and very smoky and the Picturehouse bar looked busy too so we nipped into the Mitre for a quick pint.

The Mitre has always rather appealed to me from the outside. It’s neat and clean – a spruced-up Victorian hotel with beautifully-kept window boxes and spiral-cut conifers in the first floor windows (not dead which is a miracle after several years) It just looks like a nice pub. It’s clearly not the first one on the site as The East Greenwich Madrigal Society used to meet there in 1848, and it was used as a County Court around that time too, under the beady eye of Judge David Sealey.

Inside it’s also very late-Victorian – and much bigger than it looks from the outside. Squashy leather bench-seats and neat tables on different levels – and plenty of them – did look a bit tired by 6.00pm on a Saturday – but it was still a pleasant enough atmosphere. There’s a little paved garden running between the pub and St Alfege’s churchyard where they clearly have barbeques – though there wasn’t one while we were there – and a nice little beer garden/yard at the back which you get to through a conservatory.

The beer’s nothing to write home about – but it’s not awful either and my lime & soda (I was saving the real drinking for after the movie) was at the perfect strength – unusual these days where you either get green water or a glass of acid.

Upstairs they have ensuite rooms – I have no idea what they’re like but from £75 in London (for a single room) which includes breakfast and a car parking space they would have to be exceptionally awful to represent bad value. All in all I quite like the Mitre. I wouldn’t ever go out of my way to visit it, but if I’m in the area (except on a Tuesday when they have an open mic night for amateur performers – bring back the Madrigals, I say) I may well pop in.