Quiet Pimlico, south of Victoria station, is full of budget hotels; Belgrave Road has the highest number. Quality tends to improve farther from the station. Though the area is fairly close to major sights such as Parliament and Buckingham Palace, there’s little in the way of restaurants or nightlife.
Alexander Hotel, 13 Belgrave Rd. SW1V 1RB (a 7834 9738; www.alexanderho-tel.co.uk). Tube: Victoria. Rooms are lavishly furnished with quality fittings, oak dressers, and comfy beds. Sunny breakfast room. Prices vary according to demand. Singles £45; doubles £65; triples from £75; quads and quints £120. MCV.
Westminster House Hotel, 96 Ebury St. (7730 7850; www.westminsterhouseho-tel.co.uk). Tube: Victoria. The welcoming proprietors keep the 10 rooms spotless. Almost all with private bath. English breakfast included. Singles £50, with bath £55; doubles £7080; triples with bath £90; quads with bath £100. AmExMCV.
Melbourne House, 79 Belgrave Rd. (S'(020) 7828 3516; www.melbournehouseho-tel.co.uk). Tube: Pimlico. Clean and recently refurbished with friendly staff. Non-smoking. Phones in rooms. Basement double has a bathtub for 2. Continental breakfast included. Reserve 2 weeks ahead. Singles £30, with bath £55; doubles with bath £75; triples with bath £95; quad with bath £110. MCV (payment on arrival).
Luna Simone Hotel, 47-49 Belgrave Rd. (7834 5897). Tube: Victoria. Modern rooms with TV and phone are concealed by a Victorian facade. English breakfast included. Singles £40, with bath £60; doubles £6080; triples with bath £110. Off-season discounts for longer stays. MCV.
James and Cartref House, 108 and 129 Ebury St. ( 7730 7338; www.jamesandcar-tref.co.uk). Tube: Victoria. Sparkling rooms and well-kept hallways. All rooms come with kettle, hairdryer, and fan. English breakfast included. Reserve with 1-night deposit. Singles £52, with bath £62; doubles £7085; triples £95110; family room (1 double and 2 bunks for under-12s) with bath £135. AmExMCV.
Morgan House, 120 Ebury St. ( 7730 2384; www.morganhouse.co.uk). Tube: Victoria. Small rooms with kettle and phone for incoming calls (pay phone downstairs); a few have fireplaces. English breakfast included. Reserve 2-3 months ahead. Singles £46; doubles £6686; triples £110; quad with bath £122. MCV.
Georgian House Hotel, 35 St. George’s Dr. (7834 1438; www.georgianhouseho-tel.co.uk). Tube: Victoria. Large rooms with phone, hair dryer, and kettle. Student rooms are smaller. English breakfast included. Internet access. Reserve 1 month ahead for Sa-Su and student rooms. Singles £39, students £29, with bath £50; doubles £53 4569; triples £736787; quads students £77, with bath £97. MCV.
Forget stale stereotypes: In terms of quality and choice, London’s restaurants offer a gastronomic experience as diverse, stylish, and satisfying as you’ll find, albeit an expensive one. An entree under £10 is regarded as cheap; add drinks and service and you’re nudging £15. Special offers at lunchtime and in the early evening make it possible to dine in style and stay on budget. Pubs offer hearty staples, but many of the best budget meals are found in ethnic restaurants. For the best ethnic food, head to the source: Whitechapel for Bengali baltis, Islington for Turkish meze, Marylebone for Lebanese schwarma, and Soho for Cantonese dim sum.