We are a proudly simple, family-run, eco-friendly, budget, bed & breakfast hotel in the heart of London.
The Geyer family, through 3 generations, has been running the St Athans Hotel for over 50 years. We recognise the demand for clean, simple and inexpensive accommodation while still caring for the environment, and aim to fulfill these criteria while adding down-to-earth friendliness and a bit of character into the mix.
The hotel is situated in grand 200 year old historic Georgian townhouses, so many of our rooms are small, the floors and walls lean, and there are numerous quirky original features, like exposed pipework, long corridors and some steep staircases. We also have no elevator so if you have mobility issues please let us know when booking and we can arrange for your room to be on a lower floor.
Dotted around the family hotel are many works of original art by Stefan, one of the brothers. Since leaving John Cass School of Art, Whitechapel, he has made one or two pieces for the hotel each year – you can see pictures of his large mosaics at the front of the hotel, numerous stained glass panels and various odd paintings if you click on our Gallery Page or if you’d like to see more of each piece and how they were made go to his website www.StefanGeyer.co.uk
History of the Area
Tavistock Place is named after the ground landlord, the Duke of Bedford, Marquess of Tavistock, and was built c. 1807. Our local area is known as Bloomsbury and is most famous for its literary figures, such as Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf’s Bloomsbury Group; these literary legends lived just around the corner on Tavistock Square.
Bloomsbury has also been home to many other great people including Bob Marley, John Maynard Keynes, Charles Darwin, Kenneth Williams, Lenin and William Butler Yeats (not in any order of greatness). To read more about the people that lived in this fascinating area read Three Men and a Field, and Tales of Brunswick Square (Bloomsbury’s Untold Past) both by local historian Ricci de Freitas and available to buy from our area’s best bookshop Skoob.
Not as famous, but one whose legacy certainly lives on was the philanthropist, Thomas Coram, who in 1741 opened the Foundling Hospital nearby – it is now the Foundling Museum. This was Britain’s first home for abandoned children and is said to be the world’s first incorporated charity.
Bloomsbury is also home to the University of London (est. 1836), 11 colleges, and to no fewer than 6 hospitals (the most famous being Great Ormond St. Children’s Hospital est. 1852). Tavistock Place is also home to the original Mary Ward centre, considered to be one of the finest Arts & Crafts buildings in London.
History of the Owners
The hotel has been with the same family since 1964 and is now run by brothers Hans Jnr, Stefan & Karl, with the occasional help of their opera directing sister, Maria-Lisa. Their grandparents, Elena and Giovanni, Italian immigrants, first took over the lease of the hotel in 1964 from a Welsh couple. This is where we think the name of the hotel comes from – St. Athan is a town in Wales named after Tathan, daughter of the King of Gwent.
Their parents, Lucia and her German husband Hans, then leased the property next door, the Roma hotel, before then taking charge of the St Athans Hotel, too. In 2002, Hans passed away, then in 2016 Lucia too, but the family continues to keep the business going, doing what they do best: welcoming guests from all over the world.