Crescent Hotel 49-50 Cartwright Gardens, in Bloomsbury, 011-44-(0)20 7387 1515. 27 rooms. Full breakfast.
Located on a crescent-shaped street across from the bucolic Cartwright Gardens, where tennis courts and a playground beckon, this aptly-named bed and breakfast is situated within a converted Georgian building dating from 1810. Because it is an historic building, regulations forbid putting in a lift, so unless you luck out with a room on the ground floor, you do have to lug your suitcase up some narrow stairs. It has private bathrooms as well as triple and quadruple rooms--important features that can be difficult for families to find abroad. Bear in mind, though, that the bathrooms seem to be converted closets and are very, very small. It was here that I found myself across the breakfast table from my testy pre-teen and innocently commented, "You look really nice today. Are you wearing make-up?" She cuttingly replied, "No, I didn't bother. There's no one here to impress."
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image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers