Experiencing London Like A Local

Posted on February 15, 2012 by

Since my last experience staying in a short-term apartment rental in Madrid, I’d been hooked – hooked on the conveniences of an apartment, the freedom and space, and most of all, the ability to experience the city like a local. On a recent trip to London, Roomorama gave me a chance to test out one of their vacation home rentals and although there were a few hiccups along the way, I’m happy to say that I’m still a short-term apartment rental convert.


In the last few years, numerous short-term apartment rental websites have popped up in the travel industry, amongst which Roomorama stands out for its wide variety of accommodation and a huge database (over 30,000 properties in over 500 global destinations). Properties range from chic Cape Town beach pads to luxurious villas in Bali and breezy town houses in Melbourne. Prices vary widely as well – meeting the needs of young flashpackers to well-heeled travelers.

A Local’s Corner

Our stylish and spacious apartment was situated in Hoxton, one of the more overlooked districts of London – centrally located yet far enough from the city center to enjoy some tranquility and local culture. Just a five-minute walk from Haggerston overland rail (though not on any of the tube lines), it was quite an easy commute to London ExCeL, where the travel conference was held. I’d shared the apartment with two other friends and it was a perfect size for us – with three bedrooms, a spacious living room fitted with a well-equipped kitchen and dining table as well as a nice balcony that overlooked the Regent Canal.

Staying in an apartment is an excellent arrangement when traveling with friends. During our stay, we would return to the comfort of our apartment after an entire day of travel conference, and just unwind, chat and relax. We even had more friends come over for pizzas and beers – something rarely possible in a hotel or hostel. Because of all the cooking and washing facilities we had, we also managed to get groceries from the corner shop and whip up our own meals – which saved us some expenses and also gave us a cozy feeling of living locally.

But our experience didn’t start out as smoothly though. On the day before my arrival, our apartment reservation had fallen through without our knowledge – as a result, my roommates who had arrived earlier, were stuck in a wild goose chase, trying to find an apartment replacement with our Roomorama contact. Fortunately, we were in capable hands and our contact turned it around within a day, finding us this apartment just before I arrived.

Another hiccup we had was the dysfunctional internet connection – it didn’t work properly during our entire stay and I was stuck without internet access for the whole time, which was fine if I hadn’t been there for work. While I don’t consider this a major problem, what bugged me was the problem of not having an on-site contact there to help resolve the problem.

But looking at things from an overall perspective, I did enjoy the apartment-rental experience, especially the freedom and local experience it gave me. I know this will surely not be the last time I’m staying in an apartment.

Prices for this apartment start from £150 (US$237) a night and it accommodates up to six persons.

*Photos above are courtesy of Roomorama.


Disclaimer: My stay was made possible by Roomorama, but all opinions are my own.

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

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