One month after their move to alternative accommodations, Roar gets in touch with some former residents of Champion Hill to see how they’re getting on in their new homes.
It has been a month since Roar could reveal that some of the students who were forced to relocate from Champion Hill were offered to move into the luxury hotel Hilton London Metropole.
“It is a lot better than I expected. They’ve been very accommodating,” says Hannah Gold, a first-year student who had lived at the Hilton for nearly a month when Roar spoke to her.
The students who were moved to the luxury hotel are given £15 by King’s to buy food, as there are no kitchens to cook in the hotel rooms they are now living in.
Free utilities included at hotel
“£15 a day is fine, it’s probably more than I needed to be honest. [Not] having a kitchen has probably been the worst part though, I don’t like constantly eating out. [The staff] have been great at doing everything they can to help that, though, like having pasta and burgers and stuff that we can order,” Gold says. She also mentioned that the hotel staff was happy to accommodate requests to receive healthier food when asked.
Oskar is another student relocated to the Hilton. He prefers to use his first name only and says his room is “nice and big”, also mentioning the provided access to a free gym, as well as free printing, gym equipment, and washing utilities.
He also gets by on the £15 a day for food. “If I stick to sales and reduced prices I can get through a day for under £10, usually.” He also finds it bothersome to not have a kitchen. “It limits what I can eat to bread and microwave dishes. But still, I am satisfied overall.”
£15 is quite limiting
Another student Roar spoke to, who wishes to remain anonymous, finds the food money the students are offered from “limiting when it comes to what you can eat in a day.
“Having your own kitchen is definitely easier when it comes to controlling what kind of food you eat and on what budget, especially if you’re on a restricted diet, such as being vegetarian or vegan, as many here are.”
The student adds that “a lot of people have had problems with their rooms, which include issues with cleanliness, as well as things like the air conditioner and fridges not working. The reception hasn’t been that helpful in resolving the issues. Usually, after some complaining, they do only the bare minimum.” They also mentioned a significant delay in receiving their daily £15 for food, as well as having heard nothing from KCL regarding the travel expenses refund which students were supposed to receive.
Non-Hilton residents are satisfied
Roar also spoke with three other former residents of Champion Hill who were not relocated to the Hilton. Emma, who prefers to use her first name only, was moved to Louise House.
She says her experience has been quite good. “My room is a lot more spacious than my previous room, and it’s really nice living in Westminster where everything is on your doorstep.” Notably, she said her rent has been subsidised, bringing it down to only £90 a week – significantly less than the prices listed on the accommodation’s website.
Not all students share Emma’s sentiment. Abhay Singh is a first-year student who was moved into Moonraker Point. Singh requested another room in the flat he was moved to, however, he was allocated a room smaller than all the other rooms on his floor. He now says he is unable to tie his turban properly due to the lack of space in front of his room’s mirror.
Disorganised residence teams
Singh says the staff at Moonraker Point were unhelpful when he contacted them about the issue. He says: “That’s been the answer to nearly all my emails: ‘We have accommodated you with the person you requested to stay with, and any further help than this is not possible.’ And to top it all off, there is no sunlight [coming through] my window because it faces a concrete wall.”
Roar has also spoken to an MA student who wishes to remain anonymous. They were reallocated to KCL’s Angel Lane accommodation initially but decided to cancel their contract instead of moving in there.
The MA student claims the residence team handled their cancellation “terribly”. He stated: “They were so disorganised. I told them via email, phone, and in-person at least ten times that I was breaking the contract, and I guess they just didn’t note it down.
“I was telling them up until a few days before I moved out. They were not answering my questions or responding to me, and I still haven’t been refunded the ten weeks’ rent promised.”