One Fine Stay

Buckingham Palace BedroomWhen I was looking for a last-minute hotel for my stay in London, I was quoted for a suite of rooms in Buckingham Palace. (Well that’s my assumption – based on the price I was quoted!).

All other hotels were booked by rail-thin models and flamboyant clothes designers in town to walk the catwalks of London Fashion Week, or by burly rugby players in short-shorts, defying fashion etiquette.

After a minor flirtation with the Airbnb website I stumbled across One Fine Stay. They run a similar kind of private rental model as Airbnb, but with a little bit more of a boutique flair and white-glove service. They’re only in a few major cities .. but thankfully one of them was in London (the others are Paris, New York and Los Angeles).

What makes One Fine Stay better than Air BnB?

As well as being met by a friendly face to walk me through my new temporary home, I was given an iPhone with free local phone services access that also gave me access to a virtual front desk in case I needed help.

One Fine Stay is like Airbnb with a layer of concierge services on top.

a friendly face to meet you, beds made with pristine sheets, the towels and toiletries taken care of to our exacting standards. We know that your leisure time is a canvas and that you want space and freedom to create your own experiences. So we’re available 24/7 if you need us, but we step back when you don’t

Yes .. the sheets and towels were hotel quality, and the bathroom was kitted out with the usual array of small bottles of potions and lotions.

Location, Location, Location.

On an earlier trip to London for London Book Fair this year I stayed in an Airbnb within an easy stroll of Bond Street Tube station. Being that close to Oxford Street and all the surrounding services spoilt me for choice, and was convenient to getting around town. So during this stay I wanted to replicate the convenience of location.

It was a last minute trip, so slim pickings on all of the accommodation sites, but I did find a really great looking One Fine Stay flat in the heart of Soho, and requested a booking, but 24 hours later they declined it, and I was back to the drawing board in search of a bed. By that time my heart was set on Soho, and luckily I found this little beauty.

Soho London flat One Fine Stay Soho London flat One Fine Stay Soho London flat One Fine Stay

Although it was only a studio (and it had a murphy bed that I didn’t murphy), the flat was Soho-chic with a healthy dose of retro.

It was within a 2 minute walk of Carnaby Street, and had a mini-mart and pub on the doorstep.

Hotel Vs. Private Rental

I’m partial to a hotel every now and then, but when I’m staying in a town for more than a few days, I want the privacy and independence of a private rental. Being in my One Fine Stay flat was like adopting a new life, albeit temporarily.

Key in hand, and letting myself in and out of the front door made me feel like a local. It’s been many decades since I called London my full-time home, but it only takes me a couple of days to slip this city back on. Once worn, never forgotten.