It's a long story, but I was in London four times last year, sometimes staying at more than one inexpensive hotel in one trip. I'm like you--I'm OK with simple, but not OK with dirty, unsafe, or anything with a shared bathroom. I'm sure you can find something in this list. :)
- Kensington Rooms Hotel London—this is my favorite little budget hotel in London. I stayed here for about a week last June and loved it. It was clean, convenient, and very close to a tube station (that goes directly into Heathrow!). This has definitely become my go-to hotel in London.
- Sofitel London Gatwick –if you’re flying into Gatwick (which I actually think is a much better airport than Heathrow), this is an excellent place to stay. Obviously, you’ll have to pay to get into London each day, but it’s an excellent value and is actually almost elegant. The staff here is also great—long story, but I had a package delivered to me there long before my stay and they were great about taking care of it.
- Avon Hotel London–glamorous it ain’t, but it’s clean and the staff is great. It’s the kind of hotel you’d book in a pinch, but it wouldn’t be your first choice. Very close to Paddington train station which makes it a great choice if you don’t want to have to schlep very far with a bunch of bags.
- Fox & Goose–this is a phenomenal little find—great, clean little hotel with some very cheap rates (I just punched in some dates to see what a room in May would go for and it was about 68 pounds a night). Definitely a great choice!
- 39 Suites– haven’t stayed here yet myself, but I’ve heard great things about it. They go for about $150/night and I think they even have kitchens.