Thursday, October 11, 2012

Out of the Ordinary in London and New York

Readers ask us all the time about accommodations in London and New York and we rarely have a good answer. Hotels are expensive, and, well ... hotels. We have all stayed in plenty of them and no matter how fabulous, a hotel room is never a home. Recently we were approached by the company onefinestay with an offering that got us really excited. That's why we have invited them to share their story with No Crowds. Caveat emptor - we haven't stayed in one of their properties yet, but we are sorely tempted and we think you will be too.

With London and New York ranking amongst the most crowded cities in the world, they don’t seem the obvious choice of holiday destination from someone looking for the quieter life, however London based accommodation company onefinestay is offering travellers the chance to escape the crowds and live like a local in upscale homes while the owners are out of town. The collection of homes is ever growing, with over 600 in London, and now 77 homes in New York since launching there in May 2012.

This idea of sharing resources, known as collaborative consumption, has gained a lot of momentum in recent years, and after all the greenest hotel is the one that you never build. Many of the homes that onefinestay offers accommodate larger groups or families so room-for-room are actually a cheaper option staying in a hotel, plus the added bonus of being able to eat breakfast in your pyjamas without having to worry about getting odd looks!

For families with children, staying somewhere like Lambton Place or Hilary Street, both in west London means that children get to explore whole rooms of new and exciting toys and games giving parents some well needed time to relax! If you are really looking for something out of the ordinary then Russell Gardens Mews, a very stylish home owned by a DJ turned architect and his family, comes complete with a dance floor and DJ booth, cinema room, Jacuzzi and sauna!

If that’s not your style then there are plenty of other interesting choices.  Hidden away in the clock tower of St Pancras station is a two bedroom apartment where you can climb the spiral staircase to the tower sitting room and watch the people below through the arched brick windows. Or if you are on a more historical trail then Albert Terrace, a home built for the doctor of Queen Victoria, can be your own private museum.  For those heading to New York, the selection is just as eclectic: warehouse chic in a converted rubber factory in Tribeca, or for those looking for a room with a view then 4th Avenue certainly delivers.

Each of the homes comes with its own iPhone loaded with local recommendations from the home owner which means you can avoid the usual tourist haunts and head straight to the more hidden places off the tourist trail. With all the services of a 5 star hotel, but with the charm and personality of a home, it is a great accommodation option for someone looking for something a little different.

Photo of Albert Terrace - the home of Queen Victoria's doctor


  1. This sounds brilliant and definitely something different, but personally I don't know how I would feel about going into someone's actual home, and I'm sure some others would agree. I use serviced apartments in London quite regularly on my travels as I've found they offer the same privacy as the apartments you have mentioned above, are often cheaper and more homely than hotel rooms, too.

  2. Thanks for sharing. It was nice reading this blog

  3. Deluxe hotel in bhubaneswar with excellent exterior as well as interior, outstanding services, food, accomodations, staffs and spectacular environment.

  4. We had the pleasure of staying at a onefinestay property just last month -- Kingsley Mews. Everything was fabulous -- the iphone a wonderful addition and the price quite reasonable for a lovely home that was beautifully decorated. Would definitely use them again.

  5. We have used onefinestay in London -- beautiful Mews house, simple but lovely decor, and a great gourmet kitchen. Much better than a hotel and the price is more reasonable for far more room. The iphone was great for getting around and the staff was great. While I love a luxury or boutique hotel as much as the next seasoned traveler, I'd much rather stay in a property like this -- particularly when traveling with my daughters who were studying abroad.