Sunset on the River Thames

Sunset on the River Thames. Photo by Annette Thompson

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. It can easily blow any vacation budget. Savvy travelers know that renting a flat vs. hotel stays saves money in the long run. However, the list of vacation rental sites can be overwhelming. Ivy Lettings is a fairly new dog in town and this boutique rental site is perfect for solo female travelers.

My rental flat last fall was in the very posh Marylebone neighborhood. No AC but it was still cheaper than a hotel for two weeks. Photo by Deanne Revel

My rental flat last fall was in the posh Marylebone neighborhood. No AC but it was still cheaper than a hotel for two weeks. Photo by Deanne Revel

Location, Location, Location
Unlike other rental sites, Ivy Lettings only rents flats in Central London’s most-coveted neighborhoods, Zone 1 and Zone 2. Ever booked a rental in a neighborhood that wasn’t as close to town and attractions as the description said? We’ve all been fooled. But Ivy Lettings takes the pressure off because you know any flat listed is in one area. And the company headquarters is in town, too, making house calls easy. “Most of our properties are located throughout South West London and our office is located in Chelsea,” said Ivy Letting’s Host and Marketing Manager Michaela Ward. “We prefer not to be too far away from our properties if there are any maintenance issues that arise.”

 

 

London Side Street

My London neighborhood. Photo by Deanne Revel

Luxury for Less
Not only are the flats listed in good locations, they’re decorated with tons of English charm and even offer luxury amenities such as private gardens, orthopedic beds, and heated flooring. I appreciated a towel warmer in my flat last fall. Some rentals even include AC—a rare London treat on a hot July day. And every flat includes a washer/dryer, nice linens and towels, and a full kitchen so you can save money on going out to eat all the time. Because meals are not cheap in this town.

 

 

I loved being right down the road from the Sherlock Holmes fictional apartment and the Baker Street tube station which is decked out in Sherlock art. Photo by Deanne Revel

I loved being right down the road from the Sherlock Holmes fictional apartment and the Baker Street tube station which is decked out in Sherlock art. Photo by Deanne Revel

Safety
I’m always a little hesitant about renting as a solo female traveler. How well-lit is a location at night? Will I be okay walking home from the tube station? These are questions that can be hard to answer when booking internationally. Ivy Lettings vets every flat listed on their website, not just the owner. “We only list homes that we feel comfortable visiting ourselves,” said Ward. “Considering that we send our housekeeping staff to visit at all times of day (mostly female), safety is very important to us. As members of our team have visited each of our properties, this enables us to give useful advice about what to expect in the surrounding area to those concerned.”

And they vet renters, too. You have to list your passport once booked to confirm identity. And you also have to be at least 30 years old to rent. Other people in the party may be younger but the renter must be at least 30 years old.

London Crosswalk

Walking in London—always look both ways before crossing the road. Photo by Deanne Revel

 

Ward also noted that the Ivy Lettings team is mostly female and that many staffers enjoy traveling solo. “We can particularly relate to having a safe place to stay. We’re here to make suggestions on particular neighbourhoods and amenities that we recommend for female solo travelers, and of course, answer any questions they might have to put their mind at ease while planning or during their stay.”

Second Chance Travels Lodging