Victoria station hotel booking service

Vespa

Member
Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
760
Location
Merseyside
Who remembers Victoria station hotel booking service ?

Pre internet or smartphones era.

I saw a photo from 1988 credited to Ben Brooksbank on the internet and it brought back nostalgic memories of my youth when regularly visit London during my regular long weekend from work.

I used to get the train but more often than not I got the National Express as the coach station is next door and I would queue to get a room, they got a commission and I got a room with directions to get to it.

I've stayed in some interesting rooms including University halls of residence, it was certainly an adventure to someone so young as me.
 

Attachments

  • 1634051986897.jpg
    1634051986897.jpg
    50.2 KB · Views: 95
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

shap summit

Member
Joined
24 Jul 2017
Messages
24
Location
Roslin
I do, used it a few times when visiting London, had some very nice hotel stays through them. Then one year went to book a stay and found the office was no longer there.
 

Vespa

Member
Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
760
Location
Merseyside
I do, used it a few times when visiting London, had some very nice hotel stays through them. Then one year went to book a stay and found the office was no longer there.
What year did you think it closed down ?

I'm trying to remember myself.....
 
Joined
7 Nov 2013
Messages
899
Location
Where my keyboard has no £ key
Who remembers Victoria station hotel booking service ? Pre internet or smartphones era.
. . . . . . I've stayed in some interesting rooms . . . . .
I definitely remember seeing that hotel booking centre in the 1970s, and did consider using it for my weekend visits to London.

However as an impoverished provincial youth, I was wary of arriving in the Big Smoke without confirmed accommodation already arranged. Not helped by well-meaning but parochial parents and grandparents, who could not understand why anyone would want to go to London, and warned me variously about the perils of gangsters, serial killers, foreigners of all kinds, flat beer and everything there being a "dear do".

So instead I would consult the small ads at the back of our local newspaper, where a handful of cheap London hotels would advertise, and booked ahead. As a result I ended up staying in some decidedly grubby, non-boutique places in shabby, ungentrified areas - all in that finest gerry-built, fire-trap, hear-the-person-next-door-break-wind style of 1970s London.

I never stayed in the same place twice, and must have been hopelessly optimistic thinking the next hotel from the back pages of the newspaper would be any better. I would have been no worse off using the booking centre at Victoria, and possibly might have scored some place that was actually pleasant and/or interesting, and not just c**p.


There was a similar hotel booking centre at Amsterdam Centraal station, which I used several times in the 1980s (actually it was outside by the tram terminus, not in the station) and always worked well for me. It seemed to be staffed by pleasant, efficient, young Dutch women with impeccable English, who would wish you a nice stay in Amsterdam as they dispatched you with city map, tram ticket, hotel chit and directions in hand. It was a very welcoming introduction to Amsterdam in my experience - I wonder whether the staff at Victoria were all similarly friendly and helpful, or could visitors risk sometimes coming across surly 1970s-style British customer service?
 
Last edited:

Vespa

Member
Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
760
Location
Merseyside
I found the Victoria hotel booking staffs to be pleasant and efficient, you were always guaranteed a hotel of some standard never a flea pit, mind this was the late 80s, I wouldn't know what it was like in the 70s.
 

Neo9320

Member
Joined
17 Feb 2019
Messages
84
Location
Somerset
I definitely remember seeing that hotel booking centre in the 1970s, and did consider using it for my weekend visits to London.

However as an impoverished provincial youth, I was wary of arriving in the Big Smoke without confirmed accommodation already arranged. Not helped by well-meaning but parochial parents and grandparents, who could not understand why anyone would want to go to London, and warned me variously about the perils of gangsters, serial killers, foreigners of all kinds
This I can relate to. My mother was convinced that London was a hell hole and always warned me that if I ever went I’d be stabbed! I was so disappointed when I got then and wasn’t stabbed…letdown London…
 

Steddenm

Member
Joined
2 Mar 2017
Messages
520
Location
Clane, Co. Kildare
There was a few offices dotted around London - one I recall was in Euston. Originally branded as a Thomas Cook, then it went to Lastminute.com before closing completely. They were all owned by a company called Hotel and Travel Reservations Limited (HTRL). I think there was a desk at Paddington too at some point.

When you booked they called the hotel directly and you got given a voucher to hand into the hotel (printed on quad ply dot matrix continuous paper). When the Internet was getting larger they started to book on line - sometimes via a Teletext-based system Travel agents used.

At some point in the mid to late 90s these desks popped up everywhere bit didn't last long.
 
Joined
11 Jan 2015
Messages
392
I used one at Madrid Chamartin in September 1987. I was found a single room in a small pension in fairly central Madrid for about 4 pounds (c800 pesetas) with 200 pesetas for a shower. Daylight robbery by modern day prices, and certainly cheaper than anything in France where my trip took me later.
 

Top