Here’s why Hotel Indigo is perfect for a short stay in London

You can really boil hotel stays down into two distinct categories. There are stays in which the hotel is the focal point and a big part of the draw of visiting a particular destination. Then there are stays where the hotel is merely a convenient place to lay your head at night.

The latter reason is what brought me to the Hotel Indigo London — Paddington, an IHG property located around the corner from Paddington Station, a major stop for the London Tube, Heathrow Express and the brand-new Elizabeth Line, among other rail options.


This wasn’t a stay that I wanted to pay extra for to enjoy a taste of luxury. All I required were comfort, recovery, convenience and functionality at a good price.

I had about 48 hours in town after flying on JetBlue’s inaugural flight from Boston to London in August. During my brief time in London, I needed to do three things: rest before a fast-approaching return flight, get a lot of work done and see a bit of the city when I had time.

For me — and the many business travelers and U.S. tourists who frequently find themselves with short stays or stopovers in London — that meant I had a couple of options: I could stay far outside the city center near Heathrow Airport (LHR) to enjoy the easiest access to my terminal, or I could stay at a hotel a bit closer to the city’s most popular attractions without sacrificing too much in the way of convenience or money.

I decided to opt for the latter by staying at the Hotel Indigo London — Paddington. Ultimately, it fit the bill on all fronts.

While far from perfect, I found it was a terrific place to bed down for a variety of reasons.

Paddington Station in London. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Proximity to Heathrow is king

Ironically, my stay at this convenient-to-Heathrow property came after a flight to London Gatwick Airport (LGW), but I wanted to get a sense of how this hotel could be of use to the higher number of travelers who arrive at London’s largest airport.

With Heathrow situated well outside the city — some 15 miles away from Piccadilly Circus — many London visitors hoping to reach their hotel find themselves trying to decide between lengthy rides on the London Underground and pricey rides with cabs or ride-hailing services.

However, by choosing the Hotel Indigo London — Paddington as their temporary home away from home, travelers have an additional and particularly convenient option at their disposal. Rather than take the Tube all the way downtown, visitors can hop on Heathrow Express for a 15-minute ride to Paddington for less than $30.


The quick airport train drops guests off just steps from the property — 230 steps from the turnstiles of Paddington Station’s top-level platform to the hotel’s front door, to be exact.

As you walk out of the station, you certainly get the feeling you’re on a busy London street. The noise of some iconic red double-decker buses rumbling by as I emerged from Paddington Station for the first time helped wake me up after a sleepless overnight flight and a ride on the Tube.

Iconic red double-decker buses rumble by in front of Paddington Station. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

The noise fades a bit as you take your two-minute walk down Sussex Place toward the hotel, which nearly blends into the various storefronts and pubs that sit alongside it. Before you know it, you’ve arrived within 20 minutes of departing Heathrow.


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The on-site dining venue is solid

Since I touched down in London Town just after 6 a.m. local time, I suspected my room wouldn’t be ready upon arrival. That hunch proved true, so I opted to begin my stay with a bite to eat on the outdoor terrace of Bella Italia Paddington, the property’s restaurant.

Right away, I found myself at ease on the terrace. If I had to be up so early while low on energy, grabbing breakfast in the crisp 65-degree morning air with only the sound of soft ambient music playing in the background wasn’t a bad place to be. It was a welcome break from the sounds of jet engines and squealing Tube cars I’d listened to the previous eight or nine hours.

The pleasant outdoor terrace of Bella Italia Paddington, the hotel’s restaurant. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Offering a more laid-back vibe than the restaurant’s dining room, the terrace served as a decent refueling stop — and a reasonably priced one at that. My eggs on sourdough toast (about $7.99), orange juice and cappuccino ( around $3.50) were just what I needed to satiate my appetite after a long travel day.


Other options on the breakfast menu were reminiscent of what you’d expect to find in London, with classic English items like baked beans, croissants and toasted brioche. Should you find yourself on the hungrier side, you can combine a couple of meats, sourdough, eggs and beans for less than 10 pounds ($10.34).

For dinner, the cuisine takes on an Italian theme, featuring everything from pasta to pizza. Since I had a narrow window for dinner between work deadlines and Zoom meetings, I decided to return later in my visit to try the evening menu.

While affordable overall, I found the food and wine to be adequate for my needs but unremarkable given the average presentation and taste. Still, the meatballs and ciabatta crouton ($8), carbonara with pancetta ($15) and glass of Chianti (about $9) kept my hunger in check on short notice.


A key drawback to keep in mind, though, is the payment process. Unlike most hotels that let you charge on-site food expenses to your room, meaning you can bolster your points earnings with property charges, this one had a policy against room charges, so I had to pay for my meals with a credit card.

Related: TPG’s favorite restaurants in London

Rest, recovery and productivity are all possible here

Sensing my fatigue from the overnight flight, the front desk staff made every effort to get me into my room a couple of hours early, for which I was grateful.

While there was an elevator, I preferred taking the open staircase to my second-floor room, as it had a somewhat homey feel to it that was reminiscent of heading upstairs at your own house.

The homey staircase to the upper floors. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

You can’t help but pause to admire the setting as you walk to your room. While the walls are a simple stark white, you’ll discover an eye-catching mural of the neighborhood on the ceiling and a bright rainbow-patterned carpet at your feet.

An eye-catching mural of the neighborhood adorns the hallway ceiling and a bright rainbow-patterned carpet on the floor. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

As I entered my room, I was immediately relieved to feel the cool rush of air conditioning. Since Europe had record heat waves this summer, the last thing I wanted to experience was an extremely hot room should an unexpected rise in temperatures occur during my stay.

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Wallpaper resembling Paddington Station adorns one wall in the room. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

It was hard to miss the bold decor, too.

In a fitting nod to the property’s location and on-the-go travelers like myself, the room featured wallpaper resembling the inside of Paddington Station, plus photos of the Tube on the wall. Those details, combined with a bold red rug, cabinetry interiors and accent linens, served as an attention-grabbing contrast to the neutral white walls and light wood floors.

Given the property’s location close to the city center, space in the room was limited, though everything I needed for my brief stay was there. The room featured an open-concept design with dedicated areas for sleeping, working and lounging, plus a bathroom.

The room has an open-concept design with dedicated areas for sleeping, working and lounging. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

The queen-size bed was especially comfortable — it was only my adjustment to the new time zone that interrupted my sleep in any way. On both sides of the bed were nightstands with plenty of electrical outlets, though an adapter for the United Kingdom’s plugs is needed to use the outlets.


Needing to work on this trip, I was pleasantly surprised by the desk space. Located just beneath the flat-screen TV, the mirror-top desk gave me ample room to work on my laptop. The chair, impressively, had a lot more lumbar support for long working hours than you may expect when looking at it.

The desk provides ample room to work as well as a comfortable chair. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

You can even have a cup of coffee or espresso without getting up thanks to the Nespresso machine being ideally situated on top of the desk. I was particularly fond of this perk, as it’s an in-room amenity I hope to see more hotels add instead of traditional single-use coffee makers.

A Nespresso machine is handily located on the desk. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

To the right of the desk was a small wardrobe with a luggage rack, some hangers, a couple of bathrobes and a full-size ironing board.


Roll the door to the left to reveal the opposite side of the closet, where a safe and a minifridge stocked with complimentary sodas, orange juice and water were located.

An added bonus was the free miniature bottle of Vitelli prosecco by the desk. It was a nice touch for those looking to toast their arrival in London.

Beyond the main room was the compact (but well-appointed) bathroom. Much like the bathrooms you’ll find at any mid-level hotel brand in the U.S., this one featured all the essentials, including a step-in shower with a large rain shower head, a toilet and a tiny vanity with a bowl-shaped sink.

Similar to other hotels that are opting for more eco-friendly toiletries, my room at the Hotel Indigo London — Paddington came stocked with full-size, pump-style bottles of shampoo, conditioner, hand wash, body wash and lotion. The Biology Smart Skincare products were locked in place on the wall by the sink and shower.


One feature I was particularly fond of was the bathroom’s towel warmer. It’s a uniquely European touch that you rarely find in the U.S.


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There’s a place to grab a drink

While there were several aspects of the property that I thoroughly enjoyed, one of my favorites was the on-site bar and lounge. Despite technically not being part of the Hotel Indigo London — Paddington, it was accessible without ever stepping foot outside.

Situated down a short hallway just beyond the front desk, the venue was an excellent place to grab a drink as a guest of this hotel or the adjacent Mercure London Hyde Park Hotel, as it’s connected to both properties.

Once inside, it was easy to relax. The living room-inspired setting featured a number of cozy seating options, including tall chairs with bold colors and animal-influenced fabrics, modern bar seats and a large tufted leather couch tucked into a corner. A dark ceiling with tiny lights emulating the night sky added to the cool, comfortable ambiance.

After a long day of work, the space proved to be the perfect low-key setting to unwind with a glass of merlot (about $7.50) without having to stray too far from my room.

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It’s easy to reach central London


In addition to being a convenient stop for travelers who have to go to the airport, I’d return to the Paddington area for its affordable yet convenient access to everything worth seeing in London.

A brief walk down this city block brings you to Paddington Station. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Within just a couple of hundred steps, you’ll reach the top platform at Paddington Station.

From there, you can take the escalator down to catch the Tube. The Bakerloo Line will bring you to Oxford Circus after five stops or Picadilly Circus after six — both are about 10 minutes away from the hotel.

Heading down the escalator to the Tube at Paddington Station. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

If you buy a Transport for London day pass, hopping on the Tube at Paddington and taking it a few stops to another part of London is every bit as easy as wandering the streets near the hotel looking for somewhere to eat. Put another way? You could walk 10 minutes down the street to a pub near the hotel you found online (and there are plenty), or you can ride the Tube for the same amount of time to reach the city center.

The Tube can whisk you to the city center for sightseeing or dinner. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Depending on where you want to go, it can be even quicker and easier to catch the Elizabeth Line, named for the late Queen Elizabeth II.

During my brief work trip, I found it easy enough (and a nice change of pace) to attend a Zoom meeting in my room, then catch the Tube to another part of town (like Oxford Circus) to get some more work done at, say, a coffee shop in a cozy alley without wasting too much time in transit.

I even found it relatively simple to catch the Tube’s District Line out to Southfields (which is about a 15-minute ride away) to cross an item off my bucket list: a tour of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, also known as Wimbledon. The ease of this outing was further evidence of how staying in Paddington can really serve as a convenient option for both leisure and travel days.

Wimbledon is about a 15-minute-ride away. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Related: 10 awesome things to do in London for free

The rates are reasonable

Like most hotels, the Hotel Indigo London — Paddington’s room rates will largely depend on the timing of your stay and demand on those nights. However, I frequently found prices for standard rooms hovering around £270 ($300) when looking at the coming months. For instance, an entry-level room went for £278 ($322) on a weeknight in October.


You could pay about £35 ($40) more for the highest level “Premium” room, though the site doesn’t specify what you get for that extra cost beyond “extra space and comfort.”

While an award redemption that night would require more than 60,000 IHG One Rewards points, I was able to reserve my standard room for a much lower rate of 49,000 points the first night and 54,000 points the second night.


Given that this award rate equals about £230 ($255) per night, according to TPG’s latest valuations, I feel certain I got a great deal on my room, especially when factoring in all that I enjoyed during my stay.

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Bottom line

If you’re looking for luxury while visiting London, the Hotel Indigo London — Paddington may not be the right option for you.

However, if your visit is brief, leading to your preference to stay in a convenient location that will let you maximize your time in the city without straying too far from the airport, this property is an ideal place to hang your hat.


I may not have another trip to London planned right now, but the next time I’m transiting through or popping by quickly for work, I know it’ll be at the top of my list of hotels to consider.

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