A few weeks back we received an invite from Point A Hotel Liverpool Street, asking if we’d like to take a look around the newly refurbished premises. After having the chance to stay at Point A Hotel Shoreditch we jumped at the opportunity. There’s nothing like a London staycation, after all!
The thing we genuinely like about the two Point A Hotels in London that we’ve seen, is that the brand has reinvented what compact is. It’s easier than you might think to get totally ripped off by hotels in London – you’ll pay a fortune thinking you have somewhere nice reserved, only to find it’s run-down, uncomfortable and dowdy.
Our experience with Point A Hotels in London is that they make great use of space, opt for stylish tech and comfy beds.
Best things about Point A Hotel Liverpool Street
Point A Hotel Liverpool Street was one of the original hotels in the network. We experienced the totally refurbished version, and we’re thoroughly impressed! Point a Hotel Liverpool Street is about 5 to 7 minutes walk from the station. It’s just two minutes’ from Spitalfields which has everything you could need for a stay in central London.
Outside of its very convenient location, there’s a spacious outdoor area that you can enjoy if the sun is out. Inside you’ll find a comfortable lounge / chill out space that is also where breakfast is served.
Like its sister property in Shoreditch, the rooms are compact but cleverly designed so that you feel like you’re in a cosy nook. There’s plenty of clever hiding space for luggage too. Topped off by fun mood lighting, black-out curtains and 43-inch Samsung Smart TV, you’ve got everything you need for a total getaway.
Find out more about Point A Liverpool Street Hotel’s refurb here.
Top 4 things to do near Liverpool Street
Old Spitalfields market
This east London hot-spot has seen market activity for over 350 years! Now, Spitalfields is a covered market, brimming with lovely eateries, lively places to have a beer and shops to browse. It’s definitely one of the best things to do near Liverpool Street, and it’s just a couple of minutes’ walk from this London Point A Hotel. There’s over 50 shops and stalls at Spitalfields.
What we like about the place is that the restaurants and bars are big. Plenty of space means a place to sit down. I even managed to get some work done so would add it to our list of fave London digital nomad working spots.
Salesforce Tower and Sushi Samba
Locals know this secret well. For one of the very best things to do near Liverpool Street, and a FREE view of London, head to Salesforce Tower (formerly Heron Tower). The glass lift is swift. That is, in less than 30 seconds you’ll be 39 floors high! The view is spectacular though.
It’s easy to pop into Sushi Samba for a drink on their outdoor deck. You’ll need a reservation to eat there though, or at the dining alternative at the top, The Duck and Waffle. The Drift is on the ground level, also another lovely venue.
Be mindful here, you’ll possibly need dress shoes to enter the building, but outside that, you can enjoy a fun free experience, just a short walk across the road from Liverpool Street.
Described as ‘a 32-acre central London neighbourhood’, Broadgate is the brand new precinct opened next to Liverpool Street station. We wandered through earlier this year just as it was opened. It’s built in a circle type shape, with beautiful restaurants and Instagrammable boutiques throughout.
This spot has everything from pubs to high-end sushi, beautiful meeting spots and table tennis. Read more here.
Finally, if you’re after a bite to eat or a quick drink, there’s plenty of options along Bishopsgate road. This is the main road in front of Liverpool Street train station. Most of our high street eateries are here, including Wasabi, All Bar One, Dirty Martini… You won’t go hungry or thirsty in this part of London.
And when you’re done, head back to Point A for a dreamy sleep.
Point A Hotels are situated across the nation, so ideal for a value for money UK staycation escape. We were sponsored for this stay but the review is our own.
Like many others, Cooper and I have indeed adjusted travel plans because of apprehension over Brexit.
We’ve paid money for fast-track to get in and out of airports amid anticipated chaos; we have 2019 staycation London dates pencilled in the diary, and are considering more local UK travel (rather than heading to Europe).
Staycation London: value for money and a fun city break
The aforementioned survey results reflect our feelings about not letting Brexit stop us from travelling. But rather, we’re encouraged to reconsider our options, which is fine because we have strategies for exploring our own backyard!
So let me ask you a question. If you can’t jump on a plane to go on an adventure, what is it that you want to do on a Friday after a loooong week at work?
I suspect I’m not alone in wanting to grab a drink, put my feet up and chill out in comfort.
According to Point A’s survey, 76% of us also want to enjoy a fun city break. Admittedly, Cooper and I are beat by the weekend, so we miss out on all the cool London experiences we might take advantage of if we were in the thick of the action (read: little effort required).
Point A Hotels put us to the staycation London challenge by giving us a chance to experience their Shoreditch property last Friday night. As it turns out, it was right up our street.
The Shoreditch Point A Hotel is as cool as its neighbourhood. It’s situated just a short walk from Shoreditch High Street or Liverpool Street stations, so about as convenient as it gets.
Point A Shoreditch – the London staycation offering
I arrived a little earlier than Cooper so checked-in, eager to have a look around at our staycation London digs. My check-in experience was terrific. The staff were all lovely and offered helpful advice on what to do in the area and how to take advantage of the discounts associated with the hotel.
Zooming up to level 6, I noticed that the hotel’s tech seemed to be sleek and smooth – from the lighting to the elevator and automated options on the room doors, everything feels fresh and contemporary.
We like fresh and contemporary!
Our room, while compact, continued to impress throughout the stay. From the SMART TV to the [very] comfy bed, lighting options and importantly clear instructions on how to adjust heat, cold, brightness – everything felt nice and easy. Imperative for a short staycation.
To be honest, most London accommodation – even the expensive stuff – is small. We’ve stayed in rooms that were old and cramped yet still ridiculously over-priced. This we feel, is great value for money, and the design of the room made it feel bigger than it probably was.
Our room was compact, yet super stylish and offered clever storage options.
I really liked the offering on the television menu too – a digestible guide to the local area including bars, restaurants, shopping, attractions, coffee, culture and clubs. This helped us to not have to think too much about what to do or where to go.
Shoreditch is easy to walk around and explore. We’d forgotten how fun it is. We may have had a bit too much fun, if I’m honest, but that’s what a staycation in London is for, right?
Point A also offers a bundle of discounts and freebies to take advantage of during your London staycation, including local food and drink deals, and sometimes gym passes.
I’m not going to lie, there’s no way I was going to the gym. Not. A. Chance. It’s my staycation London time – to be treasured. Where’s the bar?
We sum up our stay at Point A Hotel Shoreditch as being stylish, convenient, comfortable and contemporary. Cooper and I were both very impressed at the effort put in to bring the latest tech and style into the space.
We enjoyed the perfect Friday night and short stay in London – with a glass (maybe more) of wine, snuggly and chic place to chill out in, and a pampering offering far better than what we have on offer at home (sorry, Cooper :). Oh, and to top things off, the breakfast (a mix of healthy and naughty) was delicious too.
Point A Hotels are situated across the nation, so ideal for a value for money UK staycation escape. We were sponsored for this stay but the review is our own.
Get lost in paradise on a Santorini Greece vacation!
Keep an eye on here for more Santorini Greece vacation stories, on the way soon (plus plenty of other summer Euro inspiration).
Santorini Greece vacation
In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of what we saw…
Summer love in Santorini
A Santorini Greece vacation is something most people want to tick off their travel bucket-list in a lifetime. We stayed in an amazing place called Manos Small World, overlooking the spectacular bay, volcanic structures and plenty of cruise ships coming in and out of the port.
This lovely spot was set on Caldera cliff and just a ten minute walk from plenty of shops and restaurants. The walk into town is along the cliff with extraordinary views at any time of day. There’s also a few cool bars along the way that serve delicious cocktails, perfect for sunset.
The area was very central and easy to get on a day tour coach (as we did) that explores the island. I’d recommend it for your Santorini Greece vacation, as it’s an easy way to see the whole island, its pockets, beach bars and views. Just Google ‘Santorini coach day trips’ for options.
An obligatory trip to Oia, Santorini, for the sunset was in order too. Oia is a town brimming with whitewashed houses that are carved into rugged clifftops. It overlooks a vast caldera filled with water, and is a famous sunset spot. Oia gets very very busy coming into the sunset hours, so if you are there for the spectacle, you’ll want to find a spot earlier in the afternoon and wait there.
Santorini is almost too beautiful, and is full of Grecian charm, like Athens is. I think we definitely have a thing for islands, because this trip is up there with some of our favourites like Ibiza or Mallorca. Santorini Greece is absolutely worth a visit and adding to your Greece vacation list.
A note on animal rights
I rarely preach on this blog, but PLEASE do respect animal rights on your trip. Consider how you can support the many stray dogs that are here, as well as promote a better attitude towards looking after dogs.
To be honest, I saw some things here that did not impress me in this respect.
Additionally, rethink donkey rides – this is unnecessary and goes against animal rights as far as many are concerned. They are not there for amusement, or at least, shouldn’t be. Enjoy your Santorini Greece vacation responsibly.
Travel responsibly. We do not support riding animals for fun, here, Thailand or anywhere else for that matter.
Let us know your thoughts or questions on any of this – drop us a line in the comments.
The school holidays are fast approaching and no doubt you’re already planning a trip with the family – but this begs the question: pet hotel, or what else to do with the fur child?
Cooper and I have had dogs most of our lives. We know that they all have different personalities and cope in varying ways outside of our company. Also, we learnt lessons from the years spent as younger, less experienced dog owners, on what is good or not so good for pets when we are absent.
Pet hotel, in home sitting or take them with you? Questions to ask yourself about your pooch:
Does my dog have problems with unfamiliar people or surroundings?
Does my dog get along well with other dogs?
How long is reasonable to leave my dog at home on his/her own for (keeping in mind, they are social creatures)?
How much exercise does my dog need, even if we’re travelling/on holidays?
The answers to these questions take you some way to deciding on what you need to arrange for your four-legged friend(s) when planning your own break away.
Pet hotel and dog-friendly accommodation: can you take your dog with you?
Of course, one option is to take your pooch with you and this requires a lot of planning. The main things to keep in mind are to book dog friendly accommodation and to choose a travel destination that best fits your dog’s breed. It might not be ideal to go hiking with a dachshund, for example. But a hotel that allows dogs (dog hotel) is perfect.
You also have to think about if you will travel by car or plane (and the high costs of the latter). Both in the car and on a plane, the dog should be in a dog crate. It will take time for your dog to get used to staying in a crate over an extended period of time, which means you have to train him/her before you go on a holiday. Travelling can mean a lot of stress for your pooch if it’s not facilitated in the right way.
Not everything that is expensive is the best option. A boarding kennel is one of the most expensive and usually least ideal options to consider (I personally have had both wonderful and terrible experiences, and it truly depends on whether the establishment is run by genuine, caring ‘dog people’ or not).
Your dog is in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people and won’t get a lot of individual attention, because the sitter-to-dog ratio can be as low as 1:100. The dogs often sleep and stay in small cages. A positive however, is that your dog has a lot of friends to play with when in the running yard (assuming there is one – which there should be).
Friends and family
This might be the best and most trustworthy option (shout out to our family in Cairns – you know who you are). Your dog is already familiar with the people and surroundings, this means less stress when you’re away.
If your dog stays with friends or family, make sure they have their favourite toy and/or dog bed. We’d also leave something that smelled like us (eg. an old t-shirt). It only makes sense that your dog stays there if your friend or family member is at home often enough to take care of the pooch and has fun doing it.
Your dog can also stay at your home and someone comes to feed and walk him/her every day, but keep in mind that dogs can break things, tip over their water bowl, get hurt or very anxious if left alone for extended periods of time.
In-home dog sitting
When your dog feels uncomfortable being in unfamiliar surroundings for a long period of time this is a good option, as long as it’s something you are happy with too.
A dog sitter will come and live in your house for the time you’re on holiday. There are many options advertised in local newspapers and online, but you’ll want to be satisfied with references before leaving someone the keys to your home.
A great alternative for dogs that need that extra level of TLC, and easy to find thanks to the internet. Dog sitters are mostly passionate ‘dog people’ who currently own a dog, or who have had a dog in the past but cannot make the long-term commitment.
As you can meet the minder prior to committing, you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing your dog is in good hands. There’s plenty of services we are aware of, like Borrow My Doggy in the UK, or FindADogMinder.com.au in Australia, where you can even choose the kind of property your prefer for your pooch to hang out at, and all minders are insured and screened too.
Do you have tips, thoughts or suggestions on caring for dogs while you’re on holidays? We’re passionate dog people so would love to hear from you… leave a note in the comments below.
Dog tired? There are plenty of options for pet friendly travel in Australia. Wotif.com has shared some ideas with us for holidays to get tails wagging.
Image by thekarmapolice, Flickr creative commons tinyurl.com/pk5ltek
NSW – Carool Tailwaggers Rainforest Retreat
Escape to (3.5 star – self rated) Tailwaggers Rainforest Retreat with your four-legged friend. Relax in a self-contained cabin with a fenced yard purrfect for your pet and take advantage of the nearby walking trails. Linen is included for pets as well and there’s even a dedicated hydrobath to wash your pet.
VIC – Rutherglen Must Love Dogs B&B
Dog lovers should head to (4.5 star – self rated) Must Love Dogs B&B. Get spoilt with treats and chocolates for all guests and take advantage of free pet sitting.
WA – Albany Emu Beach Chalets
Pack your doggy or kitty bag and head to (3 star – AAA rated) Emu Beach Chalets for a pet-friendly break. Spread out in a self-contained chalet surrounded by bushland, just steps away from the beach.
QLD – Mooloolaba Saltwater Villas
Pamper your four-legged friend with a holiday at (3.5 star – self rated) Saltwater Villas. Kick up your feet/paws and relax in a waterfront villa with pet sitting, a day spa, water sports, pool and spa – it could be your next purrfect holiday.
SA – Robe Arches Spa Apartments and Complex
Get cosy with your plus one and four-legged friend in the Patsy Ryan Cottage at (4 star – AAA rated) Arches Spa Apartments and Complex. Settle into the 1850’s style cottage complete with a country kitchen and two bedrooms.
VIC – Mildura Emaroo Cottages Mildura
There’s no need to leave your pet behind when you stay at the (4 star – self rated) Emaroo Cottage Mildura. Pets are charged at AU$30 per stay.
TAS – Cambridge Riversdale Estate Cottages
Stay in a self-catering cottage at this (4.5 star – self rated) private vineyard and olive grove estate located only 15 minutes from Hobart CBD. Pets are charged from AU$10 per pet per night.
TOP PET TRAVEL TIPS
Image by Nathan Rupert, Flickr creative commons tinyurl.com/o4wb9uo
Wotif.com’s Product Director, Donna Rodios, shares tips for a stress-free holiday with a pet in tow…
“Remember pets can be susceptible to car sickness, especially on longer journeys, so it’s wise to avoid a big meal before you hit the road and definitely don’t give them anything new or exotic. Unlike one respondent who fed tuna to their dog the night before a long journey – needless to say it wasn’t a very pleasant car trip.”
“When flying, dogs and cats have to travel in a cage which meets the airline’s guidelines so make sure you check their requirements.”
“If your pet isn’t familiar with a cage, it pays to prepare them by placing them in one overnight in the lead up to your trip and reward them with treats for a job well done. That way they’re less likely to throw a wobbly when you check them in.
“It’s always a good idea to pack some of your pet’s home comforts so they feel as comfortable as possible in their new environment – remember they can be fussy so letting them eat out of their own bowl is a good way to help them settle.”
Located in central Paris, St Christopher’s Inn Paris – Gare du Nord is situated just 400m from Gare du Nord Train Station and a 2 minute walk from the Metro station, meaning no expensive cab fares from the airport are required. Bustling Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur are also just a 15-minute walk away, allowing travellers to save on transport costs when heading off to see the sights of this magical city.
Complete with three bars, a chill-out room with a foosball table and free Wi-Fi throughout, guests will love the relaxed vibe of this hostel, with plenty to do. All rooms and dormitories enjoy heating, with a choice of either shared or private bathroom facilities. A continental or buffet breakfast is included in the room rate and provided each morning, saving even more money for Paris shopping. A range of fantastic restaurants can also be found within walking distance of the Inn.
Nestled around beautiful Modernist architecture, Casa Gràcia is a modern hostel at the top of Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia – an area known for it’s exclusive shops, restaurants and bars. It features spacious, air-conditioned rooms, free individual lockers to keep belongings safe, free Wi-Fi in all areas, as well as a fully-equipped kitchen meaning you can save money by preparing their own meals whenever you like.
Complete with a communal terrace, expansive lounge, game hall and dining area, buffet breakfast is also served daily and is included in the room rate. Free tea and coffee are also available 24 hours a day!
For those looking to join in on some cheap and easy activities, the hostel arranges group events every evening, as well as daily walking tours of the city.
Santa Tere Hostel offers guests brightly styled and spacious rooms with bed lined included, free WiFi access, it’s own sparkling outdoor pool and a relaxed bar and lounge space complete with a pool table. Complimentary breakfast is also provided daily by the hostel and a shared kitchen gives you the option to save some coin by preparing your own meals and snacks each day.
Gloria Underground Train Station is just 800m away from the hostel, with Rio’s buzzing city centre and Praia de Copacabana beach both short drives away, easy access to all the wondrous sights of Rio!
Close to shops and restaurants, Santa Tere Hostel is just a few kilometres away from stunning Guanabara Bay and there are several parks along the water’s edge where guests can relax and enjoy the warm South American sunshine.
Saphaipae Hostel offers stylish accommodations in Bangkok’s Silom area, close to downtown Bangkok and just a five minute walk from Surasak BTS Skytrain Station. Both dormitory rooms and private rooms come with free Wi-Fi and are fully air-conditioned, with a free buffet breakfast included in the room rate.
Providing easy access to downtown Bangkok, the hostel is just four stops away via Skytrain to MBK Shopping Centre and using the Airport Train service, just a 45 minute train ride to Suvarnabhumi International Airport – no expensive cab fares!
The hostel offers pool tables and internet stations, as well as coin-operated washing machines to keep your washing pile at a minimum while roaming the globe.
In the heart of Melbourne’s restaurant and theatre district on Little Bourke Street, Ovolo Laneways features original artwork, luxurious bathrooms, quality furnishings and free high-speed wireless internet. While the rates may not be considered ‘shoestring’, Ovolo Laneways Melbourne are experts in providing the best bang for your buck.
All rooms not only have a work desk, Apple TV, cable TV channels and black-out curtains, they also include free local calls plus a complimentary minibar! That’s right – everything you can find in the minibar is included in your room rate. As if that wasn’t enough, the hotel also provides a free ‘grab n go’ breakfast which includes breakfast juice, pastries and coffee/tea, perfect for powering you up for a day of sightseeing.
As the hotel is situated just a quick walk from both Parliament and Treasury Gardens, guests are able to immerse themselves in everything Melbourne has to offer with theatre, shopping, sports arenas, art galleries, restaurants and bars all within easy walking distance – no taxi fares!
Close to public transport, Xi’an Green Forest Hotel is situated just under half a mile from Anyuanmen subway station (Line 2), 1 mile away from Xi’an Train Station and 3.5 miles away from Xi’an North Train Station, saving visitors plenty on unnecessary travel costs.
Sightseers will enjoy visiting The Bell and Drum Tower which is just 2 subway stops from the Hotel and the Tangdaminggong Hanyuandian Relic Site is only a 20 minute stroll away.
Complete with a tour desk and accommodations with free Wi-Fi, guests will also have access to heating and cosy slippers – perfect after a long day of sightseeing!
Boasting a central location in Dresden’s historic quarter, free Wi-Fi internet access and a complimentary, hearty breakfast buffet each morning, this hostel is an excellent choice for travelers of any age.
In the Cityherberge’s guest kitchen, you will find all you need to store your food and prepare meals, including an oven, fridge, microwave, silverware, herbs, dishwasher and towels.
The 24 hour service doesn’t only apply to the reception, but also to the cozy bar, where you can always find a friendly member of staff with tips and recommendations.
The Cityherberge is a great base from which you can explore Dresden and all of its famous sights as well as popular night-life spots.
This property is just 150 metres from Gävle’s main square, Stortorget and boasts free Wi-Fi, free sauna access and beautifully modern rooms.
Organic, locally produced items are served on Pensionat City’s daily breakfast buffet and guests can also enjoy traditional Swedish cuisine for lunch and dinner at the on-site HC Bar & Restaurant – no need to splurge on cabs for a hearty meal.
Gävle Central Station is a 10-minute walk away, the Swedish Railway Museum just 4 km away, while Furuvik Zoo and Amusement Park is less than 20 minutes’ drive from the hostel.
Visitors to Sydney should make a beeline to the Bounce Sydney Hostel, situated in Sydney’s artistic quarter, Surry Hills. Several chic bars and restaurants are on its doorstep and Chinatown and the popular Crown Street and Oxford Street are both within a 10-minute walk of the hostel.
Buses to Bondi Beach and several other beaches are available just outside the hotel.
Positioned across from Central Train Station, the Bounce Sydney provides budget accommodations just 6 miles from Sydney Airport. It features a restaurant, a bar and a rooftop terrace and BBQ area showcasing terrific views of Sydney.
Guests also have access to a fully-equipped shared kitchen which includes eight refrigerators – don’t worry about spending cash on three meals per day when you can easily prepare your own!
Welcome to Travel Live learn, where we are passionate about living a life full of great adventures. We are Sarah + Cooper: we know life's short, and we're here to encourage you to make the most of it! We have worked in media, communication and creative roles for many years, and have spent over 10 years living and working abroad. Our hottest content topics here are pet friendly travel, house + pet sitting, and designing a life as expats or digital nomads wherever in the world you want to be. Join our community of over 11,000 like-minded adventurers - find out more by signing up for the mailing list and our Facebook Group. Find us on YouTube too. NEW podcast now live: search 'Freedom and Four Paws' on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts or your fave podcast service provider.