Its aim is to make visitors feel and live like locals in London, offering homes in neighborhoods that might not be catered to by luxury hotels. With keys to your own temporary front door, you can greet your neighbors, explore the side streets and discover some hidden gems.
Self-styled as an ‘unhotel,' the reservation process is as seamless as with a regular hotel, but with an added element of the personal touch. On arrival, a member of the staff will greet you at the property to give you a full tour, explain the intricacies of the property and hand you a pre-loaded iPhone that you can use at your leisure throughout your stay.
We stayed in a three bedroom townhouse on the Chelsea/Fulham border, which was smart, spacious, and had plenty of room to entertain. With full use of a large kitchen and separate dining room, a dinner party was inevitable. Having spent the afternoon in the kitchen surrounded by whisks and piping bags, drowning in olive oil and seasoning, when it came to turning on the oven hours later to warm the hors d’oeuvres, the oven decided not to work.
We called someone in customer service who was very polite and helpful but, having spent an hour looking through manuals, they kindly offered to send us a food hamper instead. We declined the offer and managed by using the hobs instead of the oven, something that confirmed the need for a team of sous chefs for all future dinner parties.
Despite everything working out for us, the incident highlighted a potential pitfall for onefinestay — without a maintenance man on the premises, such issues could eventually become rather problematic for them. However, given the efficiency with which they handled our issue and the solution that they had offered (they still kindly sent us a couple of bottles of wine despite not needing the food basket), I’m confident that they could handle anything thrown at them.
With a whole house filled with photographs, books and CDs to explore it’s difficult not to be nosey, but certain cupboards and drawers are discreetly sealed with special tamper proof tape to prevent you from peering too closely. One of the joys of onefinestay is that you get to feel like you’re at home, surrounded by all the comforts and amenities that you could wish for, but going to sleep with someone else’s wedding photos on your side table can be a strange feeling.
The price will depend on your specific property; our three bedroom house starts from £400 per night, which, if traveling with friends or family, is very reasonable for the quality and service. Each house is fully cleaned before and after each visit with a daily maid service available with fresh linens, towels and The White Company bath products.
For those who require 24 hour room service, a business center, and fully equipped gym, onefinestay is never going to be the answer, but if you want to experience life as a Londoner in luxurious and spacious surroundings at a reasonable cost, onefinestay might be right up your alley.
FYI: onefinestay has expanded from just six host members in 2010 to more than 250 today. The company backed by venture capital firm Index Ventures along with Brent Hoberman, co-founder & CEO of Lastminute.com, among other angel investors. Visit onefinestay.com to learn more.
Emyr Thomas is the founder and director of Bon Vivant, a concierge service and luxury travel company with an emphasis on providing great personal service. We specialise in every travel, leisure and lifestyle need that you don't have the time, inclination or expertise to do yourself so you can maximise your free time. Based in London with global coverage. Please visit our website at www.bonviva...(Read More)