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Old Mar 30, 09, 5:09 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Luxury hotel reviews in London

I recently made a three-night stop in London en route to an educational trip to Prague and Budapest. During those three days, I did seventeen hotel site inspections, this in fact being the primary purpose of my London stay. I saw all the Virtuoso hotels (with the exception of the Four Seasons which is currently undergoing major renovations), “41” and Milestone (two Red Carnation properties), and the new Sofitel Heathrow.

As this is too much material simply to provide a chronological listing of visits, this report will be organized more thematically.

A caveat: I really cannot evaluate the level of service a guest might experience at any of these properties (except for the two I stayed in). I can share my impressions of the public spaces and guest rooms.

A. Traditional Hotels with Traditional Interiors

hotels on Hyde Park

The Dorchester
Of all the hotels I visited, the Dorchester most impressed me. Located at the east side of Hyde Park, halfway between Marble Arch and Speakers Corner, guests enter the hotel into an elegant lobby with peach-colored marble and elaborate floral arrangements. A medium-sized hotel with 250 rooms, rooms are large and decorated with beautiful English fabrics. Because of high occupancy, I was able to see only an Executive room and a few suites. All double rooms in the Dorchester have two bathroom sinks. All rooms in the Deluxe category and higher have walk-in showers. Note: the Virtuoso contract at the Dorchester begins with the Executive category, and Virtuoso rates are discounted 15% off the prevailing rate. Like its sister properties in Paris, the Dorchester emphasizes fine cuisine, offering three noted restaurants: The Grill (for traditional British fare such as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding), Alain Ducasse (two-star Michelin restaurant with French cuisine), and China Tang.
I spent two nights at The Dorchester in May, 2012. These are my additional observations:
We spent two nights in a Deluxe room, a very traditional feeling accommodation with an entrance hallway, spacious bedroom (its size being what one would expect for a Deluxe category), and a grey marble bathroom with dual vanities, deep soaking tub, and step-in shower. The room was quite comfortable, and the pillows were literally the softest that we enjoyed during our entire trip.

I also saw an Executive Deluxe room and, as I felt five years ago, this is a WOW room and the category you want to be in. The room is larger and has light wood paneling in place of the somewhat dated wallpaper in the Deluxe room. Additionally, 70% of these rooms have four poster canopy beds and furnishings which may be antiques but which I found quite attractive.

The hotel is almost finished with renovations of its Park Suites and Dorchester Suites. The intent is to update these suites, maintaining a traditional look with a contemporary feel. A lighter colored wood has replaced the dark mahogany paneling, the curtains are less floral, floors are hardwood instead of carpeted, and colors are softer, making for a more homey environment. I loved the new design.

The Lanesborough
Despite the imposing nature of its granite neo-Classical building at the southeast corner of Hyde Park, the Lanesborough is a small and intimate hotel with just 95 rooms (of which 43 are suites). A very British feeling is created with the use of dark mahogany, leather, silk wallpaper, and lovely fabrics. Bathrooms feature dark green marble; many offer walk-in showers and some provide double sinks, so it’s important to let your travel consultant know your preferences so that they can be communicated to the hotel. The hotel offers a lot of complimentary services including free internet and free in-room movies. There is currently a two-night weekend package being offered through May (which may be extended) at 255 per night + VAT and including Virtuoso amenities.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
With 198 rooms, the Mandarin Oriental is an elegant, traditional hotel in Knightsbridge. Guests enter through the front door and climb a marble stairway to reach the impressive lobby with marble walls and floors. Knightsbridge rooms offer interesting city views, but I very much prefer the Park View rooms which offer a beautiful view of Hyde Park. The Hyde Park King (441 square feet) and Hyde Park Deluxe (484 square feet) are both very attractive rooms; book the Deluxe Park Suite for a real WOW. If price is no object, consider the Prince of Wales or one of the other specialty suites. I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the MO’s Asian Fusion restaurant, The Park.
InterContinental Park Lane
The Park Lane is the largest Virtuoso hotel in London with 447 rooms. This contemporary structure has has recently undergone an extensive renovation. Although there is an intentional “English” feel to the place, the uniformity of design reinforces the fact that this is a new, rather than a landmark, building. Note that the Virtuoso contract begins at the Deluxe room category (Virtuoso guests are automatically upgraded from Superior to Deluxe). Deluxe rooms in the “16” category are corner rooms with impressive views of Hyde Park Corner and the Marble Arch. Great views are also provided by Deluxe rooms in the “70’s” category, with wonderful night views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Though the interior design is attractive with very nice fabrics used in the draperies and bedspreads, rooms are on the small side. The tall, dark wall units facing the bed make a narrow room seem even narrower. Bathrooms are likewise well furnished but small; there is a rainshower in the tub and only a single vanity, though with a large counter space. (Suites do offer walk-in showers). Executive rooms offer better space; they are equally narrow as Deluxe rooms, but their extra length provides a sitting area.

Virtuoso guests receive complimentary Club access and enjoy the Club's killer view of London. The lounge offers a champagne service between 6 and 8 p.m. nightly.
The following review of the Four Seasons was added after a site inspection in May, 2012

[Four Seasons London]
Because the hotel was fully booked at the time of our site inspection, with guests literally checking into rooms that the hotel wanted to show us, we only had the opportunity to see several suites. We were not able to see any Superior, Deluxe, or Premium Rooms. However, given that the bedrooms in some of the suites are similar to the regular guestroom, I did see enough to understand why this hotel has become so popular.

Four Seasons has created a stunning new renovation of the oldest Four Seasons hotel still in use anywhere in the world. The hotel is beautiful and elegant with a classical contemporary look with wood paneling, silk wallpaper, and marble. Deluxe rooms have mahogany paneing and light terra cotta walls, and all rooms have the great Four Seasons bathrooms that you would expect in a new hotel. While rooms are not overly large, you will not be disappointed with the Deluxe category and up.
hotels on or near Piccadilly

Ritz London
I was positively impressed by the Ritz London. Although it has the reputation of being a large hotel (because of its large and elaborate public spaces), the Ritz is actually an intimate hotel with just 137 rooms. Lead-in room categories (Classic and Superior) are small; I recommend taking advantage of the Virtuoso guaranteed upgrade-at-booking by booking a Superior room with immediate upgrade to a Deluxe room. Because the Ritz London honors the Virtuoso amenities at any promotional rate, it pays to scrutinize all of the promotional rates being offered through the hotel and LHW. Outstanding values are often available.

I spent two nights in a Junior Suite overlooking Piccadill. I liked the interior design of the room. Walls, as well as upholstery and drapes, have a sophisticated color palate and design. The gold gilt is not paint but 23.9 karat gold. While I very much enjoyed my stay, I would agree with the criticism offered by some, that the interiors are ready for some updating. While not desperately needed, this will enable the Ritz to better compete with properties such as the Dorchester and the Lanesborough.

What to book? Request a room that overlooks Green Park; the natural light and beautiful view afforded is a real plus. I also recommend high floors for more light and quiet (even though windows are triple glazed). All rooms in the hotel feature a marble bath with beautiful veined marble tiles. Some Deluxe rooms offer a separate shower. Definitely work with your travel advisor so that you can be blocked into the appropriate room for your stay.

For a real WOW, consider a Deluxe Suite. I was shown a suite in the “18” category; it was a large, gorgeous corner room overlooking both the Park and Picadilly. “21”-series suites feature park views.

Service, by the way, was flawless. I requested a soft, flat feather pillow by email before my arrival, and the pillow provided was perfect. Room service came precisely when requested. The Concierge staff was very attentive and greeted me by name each time I came to their desk in the lobby.
hotels in Mayfair

The Connaught
Located in Mayfair Village, The Connaught is a small hotel with 90 rooms (soon to be 123), 117 of which have walk-in showers. After a 9 month, 75 million pound renovation, this older hotel with a somewhat crusty recommendation has emerged younger and brighter. The public areas and hallways are very impressive, featuring the hotel’s original solid mahogany paneling with gold leaf accents. I was not so impressed by the guest rooms which are small (a Superior King is just 312 square feet and a Deluxe King 355 square feet). Maintaining the traditional feel of the hotel, these rooms are decorated in tans and beiges with built-ins that have the effect of making a narrow bedroom appear even narrower. The bathroom of the Deluxe King I was shown had the appearance of a narrow corridor leading past a tub, sink, and toilet.

On a very positive note, the hotel features the cuisine of a personal favorite, two-star Michelin chef Hlne Darroze. A very reasonably priced lunch at Espelette offers the chance to sample her cooking!
The following is my review based on a site inspection of the New Wing of The Connaught in May, 2012:
While the old wing is traditionally British, the new wing has a pleasant contemporary style with hardwood floors, attractive furnishings, and great bathrooms. We saw a Deluxe Room. Bathrooms have black marble floors and white marble vanities. They are equipped with dual vanities, a deep soaking tub, Toto toilet (that raises its seat for you, etc.), and a separate step-in rain shower. The only downside is that the rooms are compact - Superior rooms are 30 square meters and Deluxe are 33 square meters. To get the space you'd normally associate with a Deluxe room, you would have to book an open-plan Superior Jr. Suite (43 sqm) or Deluxe Jr Suite (47 sqm). We were also shown the Terrace Suite which occupies the top floor of the new wing. It has a very spacious Master Bedroom with separate living room and dressing area, as well as a second King-bedded guestroom.



Claridge’s
Claridge’s is a 203 room hotel featuring the largest Deluxe rooms in London (averaging 542 square feet). If the Connaught is about privacy and discretion, Claridge’s is a place to “see and be seen.” When I was there, it seemed that every nook and cranny of the public spaces — from the tea room, to the restaurant, to the bar — was filled with patrons. This is a lively place to stay. Claridge’s maintains the feeling of an older hotel. The wide corridors (originally designed to enable two ladies dressed in crinoline dresses to walk side-by-side down the hallway) are an artifact of an earlier gilded age. Hallways are painted in a light lilac with darker lilac carpeting, with the same color scheme extending to the rooms. A fashionable address near the upscale shopping of Bond Street, Claridge’s attracts a very traditional crowd. But given the unexciting guestrooms, I’m not sure what the fuss is about.

B. Traditional Hotels with Contemporary Interiors

hotels on Hyde Park

The Berkeley
This is a very attractive small hotel (214 rooms) in Knightsbridge with a design that might be called “boutique contemporary” — cool and trendy. I saw a very attractive Deluxe room with a clean, simple design. Three color schemes are available: olive, pale champagne, and aqua. Rooms with the best views overlook the church behind the hotel, but courtyard view rooms have walk-in showers; let your travel consultant know your preference. I was also shown an “open plan” Junior Suite; the room was nice and bright, even on a dark day. The hotel offers free internet to guests. One of its best features is a rooftop pool and gym with a view of Hyde Park. The two-star Michelin restaurant offers a chef’s table overlooking the kitchen’s prep area, and chef Marcus Wareing personally goes through the menu with guests seated in this special area.
The following review of 45 Park Lane is based on a site inspection in May, 2012.

45 Park Lane
This new member of the Dorchester Collection faces its sister hotel, just across the small square in front of the hotel. Designed in a contemporary, art deco style, this hotel was a WOW for me. I loved the sophisticated design of the rooms. An additional feature: guests at both The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane have cross-charging privileges (as is the case with Coworth Park).

There are 45 accommodations in the hotel, 35 rooms and 10 suites, and there is an emphasis on technology. Internet is free throughout the hotel, soft drinks in your minibar are complimentary, rooms are equipped with Bang & Olufson flat screens and iPads, and all the plugs and ports you could want are right in your leather-topped desktop.

Rooms have an attractive masculine color palette: dark wood paneling, soft beige carpeting, and suede wall finishes. Couches have either maroon, soft cream, or baby blue upholster, and every room faces the greenery of Hyde Park. Bathrooms have gorgeous marble - tan floors and walls and black vanities - with dual vanities, soaking tub, separate rain shower, and a TV in the mirror. Your own Host checks you in, and this individual serves as your butler, concierge, and point of contact throughout your stay.

This is a boutique hotel, and I think 45 Park Lane is a winner!

The following review of The Bulgari London is based on a site inspection in May, 2012.

The Bulgari
This is a brand new build scheduled to open on May 28. The third hotel to have this brand (Milan, Bali), it has benefited from the same design team that designs Bulgari hand bags, jewelry.

Much use of mahagony wood in the hardwood floors, hand-varnished mahagony panels on walls throughout the hotel - public spaces, hallways, guestrooms. Extensive use made of chrome, leather, polished stainless steel, glass, silver mesh screens, black granite tiles.

Rooms are very large. Lead-in Superior is 467+ (feels like a typical Deluxe room), Deluxe 479+, executive 490+. All bathrooms have soaking tubs, rain showers (though, oddly, some categories have in the same glass enclosed space as the tub. Showers also, oddly, have a floor of wooden slats rather than marble or tile. Beautiful black Manquina marble with white veins used in bathrooms, all produced from a single block of marble from Spain. Oddly, all rooms have only a single vanity, a conscious design choice - thought to be typically British. Silver screens between BR and bath in some categories - admit light into the BR and could be a problem.

Doors are solid mahagony, hand lacquered, and the hangers in the closets are made from the left-over mahagony. Room design is simple and uncluttered - cool and soothing, classic contemporary design with browns, beiges, silver, and white. Even though the hotel is in Knightsbridge, windows provide effective soundproofing.

Incredible attention to some details - hangers in the closets, luggage racks are hand made from black leather with Bulgari branding. The minibars are set within a Bulgari steamer trunk. The flat screen TVs are likewise custom designed, as well as exercise machines in the gym. The half Olympic sized pool has a mosaic of gold and emerald colored mosaic tiles with pool cabanas for guests (although the room is warm and humid). The vitality pool has a bottom of silver mosaic tiles. The hotel has a 47 seat theatre with the largest and highest resolution (4K) screen of any hotel cinema in the UK.

Quite a unique place with incredible attention to detail and lavish expenditures, yet the pal is to price lead-in rooms at the same rate as comparable luxury hotels in London. Not for everyone, but an option to consider if you want to experience one of the most creative hotel designs I have ever seen.

hotels on or near Piccadilly

Rocco Forte Brown’s Hotel
Brown’s Hotel is located on a one-way small shopping street off Picadilly. The hotel has 117 rooms all evincing Rocco Forte’s contemporary style. This is a great property for guests who prefer an upscale, contemporary experience (without glitz). Rooms are technologically up-to-date with beautiful, muted, relaxing color schemes. For a real treat, book one of the Royal Suites; the Hellenic Suite I was shown is a truly impressive space.

This hotel that does not offer the Virtuoso amenities at the BAR. The best value here may be to book a breakfast-inclusive promotional rate and ask your travel consultant to work with the Sales manager to try to get you upgraded at booking.
hotels on Kensington Park

The Baglioni
The Baglioni was a pleasant surprise, at least in terms of the quality of the guestrooms. This property offers an elegant contemporary styling with a quiet, residential feel. Guestrooms have hardwood floors and padded fabric on the walls in one of three color schemes — beige and brown, lilac and grey, red and burgundy. Bathrooms, though not large, are stylistically striking with handmade copper sinks. I especially liked the Park View Jr. Suite; while I prefer the open plan which is quite spacious, Jr. Suites are also available with French doors separating the sleeping and living areas. For a real “WOW,” book a Park View Executive Suite, Deluxe Suite, or Executive room on the northwest corner of the building. These corner rooms offer great views of Kensington Park.

Mixed reviews of the hotel’s service have been reported in this forum, but you can’t argue with the location of the hotel or the attractiveness of its contemporary rooms.

hotels near Trafalgar Square

This review is based on a site inspection of The Corinthia in May, 2012.
This 294 room hotel was originally built as a nearly 600 room grand hotel in 1885. It was later used by the Ministry of Defense for office space, then recently completely renovated as a new luxury hotel with one room in the space of two original rooms.

This is a mid-price luxury hotel worth consideration by more price conscious visitors to London. Lead-in Superior rooms are 344 square feet, Deluxe rooms are 420 square feet, and an Executive room is 485 square feet. As half the rooms in the property are Executives, there is an excellent chance of an upgrade from Deluxe into this category.

Rooms come in different configurations. The Executive I saw was wide from side to side but narrow from the interior wall to the window; I'd definitely request a room with dime Simons closer to a square. Rooms are decorated in shades of green and tan - more neutral colors with clean lines. The descriptive words that came to me we're "subdued contemporary." Bathrooms had soaking tub, separate rain shower, dual vanities, and WC.

Trafalgar Suites have a view of the Statue of Admiral Nelson in Trafalgar Square (and come in 1 and 2 BR configurations. River Suites look out towards the river ... But you'll want to request a higher floor to see over the buildings. There are a number of extraordinary Penthouse Suites, each of which is uniquely decorated.

The hotel is located in the theatre district and is walking distance from the London Eye, aquarium, Westminster Abby, and 10 Downing Street.

The hotel has applied for V membership and informally offers amenities. A potentially valuable feature is totally flexible check in and check out ... but this could change if the hotel becomes more fully occupied.

C. Smaller hotels

smaller hotels near Buckingham Palace

The Goring
The Goring gives the impression of a London Gentleman’s Club from the moment one steps into the lobby. The lobby features a large, comfortable lounge and bar, and beyond it the very attractive Conservatory in shades of yellow overlooking the hotel’s garden (the hotel boasts the largest private garden in London). The Goring is a very traditional, small British hotel. Rates are very attractive, and the Virtuoso amenities include a guaranteed upgrade at time of booking. Lead-in rooms are tiny, and bathrooms throughout the hotel are small with tub/shower combinations. If you want to book the Goring, start with the Garden Deluxe category of guest rooms which overlook the beautiful garden in the back of the hotel. If possible, I’d prefer to get you blocked into a room in the very center of the building; these guestrooms feature bay windows looking out over the garden. You might also consider a Balcony room which provides direct access to the garden. The hotel has an inventive Children’s Program which involves such activities as baking cookies with the chef.
Egerton House
Located in the fashionable residential area of Knightsbridge, this very nice 28-room hotel began its existence as two identical, side-by-side townhouses which have been converted into a beautiful property with a wonderful residential feel. Guests enter into a charming lobby area (in the living room of the townhouse on the right) and enjoy the lounge and bar (in the living room of the townhouse on the left). The bar is said to create fabulous martinis and even provides a martini-making class as a Virtuoso amenity.

As with other London properties, hotels located in landmark historic buildings cannot expand the space of rooms. If you want the largest, most up-to-date accommodations with the most spacious bathrooms, this is not your hotel. If you want to experience an authentic London townhouse, beautifully furnished, and set in a lovely residential neighborhood, you might enjoy a stay at Egerton House. Though many rooms are quite small, I especially liked two particular Deluxe King rooms — #12 and #23.
51 Buckingham Gate
Located on a side street literally around the corner from Buckingham Palace, 51 Buckingham Gate is an all-suite hotel. It is appropriate for families coming to London for an extended stay who would rather stay in a hotel with kitchen facilities than an apartment (although this would admittedly be a strange request). With 86 suites surrounding an attractive and quiet courtyard, each accommodation comes with a complete kitchen including a washer/dryer. The hotel is a short 15 minute walk from the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abby, and even closer to Buckingham Palace. Guests have access to the “Library,” really the equivalent to a Club Lounge, with breakfast in the morning and cocktails at night.

The smallest room type is a Junior Suite. Accommodating two guests, there are glass French doors separating the bedroom from the living area, in case someone needs to stay up working on the computer while the other sleeps. The styling is contemporary though not very exciting. Superior and Deluxe 1 BR Suites are more spacious and can accommodate a family. The Deluxe studio I saw had a large living room, a separate kitchen, and a more trendy design. The Prime Minister’s Suite (2 BR, 2 baths, is more traditional and quite spacious, including an elegant granite-countered kitchen.

The full breakfast is available only at the Virtuoso rate, although the rest of the Virtuoso amenities (possible upgrade, free internet) will be honored when booking the best available rate. It may be worth booking a promotional rate and paying for breakfast.
“41”
“41” is a “private hotel” whose facilities are available only to hotel guests. You enter off the street into a small reception area where you are met by a receptionist who escorts you a private elevator to the 5th floor conservatory. This is where you will check-in, have breakfast, have drinks (from the honour bar), as well as enjoy complimentary snacks which are available throughout the day. Two hallways leading out from the conservatory take you to the guest rooms.

Rooms at “41” share the same black-and-white decorating motif. Space is tight in these rooms, and the configurations are not ideal; however, because this is a landmark building, the basic shape of the rooms cannot be altered by law. Guests desiring large bedrooms and large bathrooms with separate tub and shower should look elsewhere, but many guests who enjoy the unique feel of this private hotel return over and over.

“41” is not a Virtuoso property.
smaller hotels near Piccadilly

The Stafford
The Stafford is tucked away on a small side street just off Piccadilly, offering a quiet and secluded hotel with just 105 rooms. One of the best features: free internet for all guests. There are three sections of the hotel. The Main House is created from a number of old Town Houses. Offering a very traditional, old English feel, I saw a Deluxe King room with a 4-poster bed, very “woody” with attractive wallpaper. I was less impressed by the narrow, dark hallways of the Stafford. Floor molding is chipped in some places on the exposed corners and needs touch up paint. In general, I found the rooms in the Main House to be on the dark side.

The Carriage House was originally stables, and the rooms of the Carriage House still have the original barn doors (with the top half opening independently of the bottom). These rooms are decorated with a more “country” flavor with furnishings and wallpapers reminiscent of what one might find in the Cotswolds.

I loved the rooms in the Mews. This section of the hotel was renovated from an adjacent office building. Not being a landmark building, the interior of the office building was completely gutted, providing the opportunity to create some wonderful spaces without the restrictions faced when renovating historic buildings (e.g., the Main House and the Carriage House). Each floor of the Mews has two Junior Suites and two Master Suites. Providing a traditional yet contemporary feeling, these are great rooms with sophisticated color schemes and attractive custom-made burled wood furniture.
smaller hotels near Kensington Park

The Milestone
With 57 rooms and 94 staff, the Milestone is about service, with an emphasis on wine, whiskey, and food. Described by the Sales Manager as a “luxury country mansion in the heart of London,” the Milestpone overlooks Kensington Park. Because the hotel is housed in two landmark buildings, this property is not for guests looking for the largest guestrooms and bath rooms. That being said, the King rooms overlooking the park are quite nice.

I enjoyed lunch at the Milestone’s restaurant which features not only a changing menu of seasonal choices but a set menu featuring British “comfort food.” A delicious bowl of chicken noodle soup provided the light, tasty, and nourishing lunch I needed while I was there!

D. Airport Hotels

Sofitel Heathrow
Because I had an 8 a.m. morning flight to catch from London to Prague, I stayed at the Sofitel Heathrow my final night in London. This is precisely the reason anyone might want to stay at the Sofitel. It’s a brand new hotel with a clean, attractive, contemporary style. I booked a standard Queen room (and was upgraded to a King). It was a small room, but there was just one of me, and all I needed to do was get a good night’s sleep, wake up at 5:30 a.m., and get over to Terminal 5 (which is connected directly to the hotel, although it’s a five minute walk). My room was comfortable and inexpensive ... but no free internet.

A musty smell in the shower suggests there are unresolved leaks in this new facility. Service at the hotel was excellent. After checking in, a member of the hotel staff showed me to my room (a good idea, as the hotel’s layout would be confusing to a newcomer). The concierge printed my boarding pass for me. And in a final touch of unexpected service, I woke a bit earlier than my wake-up call and was in the shower when the call came. Because I did not answer the phone, the hotel sent someone up to my room to make sure I was OK.
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Last edited by DavidO; May 8, 12 at 3:44 pm.
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Old Mar 30, 09, 5:21 pm   #2
 
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Wow! Thanks David, thats some list and a really good guide to London.

I agree with you about the Baglioni, I stayed there earlier this year and like it a lot. I didnt notice the poor service issues often mentioned here.
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Old Mar 30, 09, 9:31 pm   #3
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Thanks Daivd.

I hope you enjoyed London as well as BA J Class!!

Great Reports and I cant wait to read your blog about the rest of the trip.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 6:46 am   #4
 
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Fantastic report, David!!!! Thanks!
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Old Mar 31, 09, 7:19 am   #5
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Just for the record, what DavidO is implying above is that the Sofitel LHR is quite decent but is definitely NOT a luxury hotel. Through some promotion or other on my one night stay -- do places like this ever get customers who stay longer? -- I ended up being upgraded to a "junior suite" that I measured at about 360 sqft and, of course, it wasn't a suite.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 7:24 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Just for the record, what DavidO is implying above is that the Sofitel LHR is quite decent but is definitely NOT a luxury hotel. Through some promotion or other on my one night stay -- do places like this ever get customers who stay longer? -- I ended up being upgraded to a "junior suite" that I measured at about 360 sqft and, of course, it wasn't a suite.
True, but it is only 90 inc VAT at the moment if you book in advance which - for a brand new hotel directly linked to T5 - is a great deal. The scruffy Heathrow hotels are rarely less than 50 and you need to spend 4 per person each way to reach them on the Hoppa bus.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 7:36 am   #7
 
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Thanks very much very informative and exactly how I found the hotels that I have visited.The Four Seasons in Hamilton Place was so ready for a major refurb glads its now happening.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 10:02 am   #8
 
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The problem I have with site visits is that you get no idea of what it is like to stay in the hotel.

The Dorchester: Yes, it looks great, but wait until you stay there. Every time, something goes wrong, and OK, they put it right really well, but you keep thinking, why did it go wrong in the first place?

The Lanesborough: You did not mention the size of the rooms and suites (which, by the way, are not at all 'English' but are more Egyptian in flavour). Too much furniture makes it a real trial to negotiate these rooms/suites. Equally, you did not mention that there are no mini-bars - something you would have discovered if you had stayed.

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park: Lash out on a Deluxe Park Suite and actually stay there and you will ask yourself why the bathroom has only one sink, just an in-tub shower and why you can only fit one person in the room at a time. Great views, I agree, but comfort? I don't think so.

The InterContinenal is not really a high-end contender in London. Its service is OK, but not at all special and the finish of the rooms is, IMHO, not great.

Four Seasons: Given its extraordinarily good level of service, this is definitely the one to watch. They are moving the F&B to the ground floor, which is a great idea, and on the 10th floor there will be two vitality pools, a spa and a gym. Can't wait for its 2010 re-opening.

The Connaught, Claridges & Berkeley: All owned by Maybourne now, who, under Quinlan Private own some very good hotels, but generally do not appear to manage their hotels as well themselves. Also, why is it taking so long to renovate The Berkeley and to put in the spa?! Rumour has it that they keep changing their minds...

Brown's Hotel: Terrific position, but service can be very patchy. Also, the bathrooms, even in the top suites, are not very well finished. Homestyle food in the restaurant is OK but not great.

Baglioni: Surprised you did not mention how dark the rooms were - VERY low lighting. Also, the quality of the furnishings is not top notch. Somewhat amateurish service at times, too.

51 Buckingham Gate: A bit dated now decor wise. Also the beds and pillows are the toughest in town. Nice location but this hotel has never quite worked as well as its promise.

The Stafford: Did you eat in the restaurant? Did you see the staff in their badly-fitting uniforms? Did you stay in one of the new Mews suites? No? because the mews suites are so filled with furniture that you cannot move, whilst the originals are so chintzy as to be Disneyland. The food here is inedible unless you live on take-outs. Nice location, I agree, and the American Bar is very attractive, but otherwise, no, this is a very average hotel.

Amazed you did not even mention the Firmdale Hotels in London, which offer a far better experience than most you mentioned - Covent Garden Hotel, Charlotte St Hotel, Soho, Knightsbridge....

Let's be honest, London's hotels are not as yummy as we would wish. Lord help London when the Olympics come to town in 2012, as the City is woefully lacking in high-end hotels, and Four Seasons will not have enough rooms and suites to accommodate us all.

Last edited by vuittonsofstyle; Mar 31, 09 at 10:07 am. Reason: additions
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Old Mar 31, 09, 11:44 am   #9
 
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WOW, David I hope you don't feel like you're a naughty schoolboy who has just had their homework marked !

I, like virtually everyone else here, found your post very informative, and you gave a reflection of a wide range of what most of us ordinary people would term luxury hotels, and I suppose something to fit most budgets - as well as you can with 5* hotels in London.

Is the previous poster seriously suggesting he has stayed overnight in all of these hotels recently, I don't know. Or is it largely hearsay / rumour?

I'm hoping that the luxury forum doesn't end up become an irrelevance to all but the few multi millionaires who inhabit flyertalk - I'm starting to feel I have no place here, and certainly fear that an environment of rubbishing others opinions is starting to appear. What a shame
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Old Mar 31, 09, 12:17 pm   #10
 
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Sorry, don't know why the previous post came up again under my name.

Anyway, over the past few years I have stayed at the Dorchester, Claridges, Connaught and even the Intercontinental for one night. I have to agree with David that the Dorchester was the best in every respect. In the three times I stayed nothing ever went wrong. I was given excellent service, upgrades and complimentary afternoon tea. I found the Connaught too full of itself and truthfully, I wasn't that impressed with Helene Darozze in Paris so would not rush to try her restaurant there. I did like Claridge's but not as much as the Dorchester.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 1:33 pm   #11
 
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[quote=Kettering Northants QC;11504487]

Is the previous poster seriously suggesting he has stayed overnight in all of these hotels recently, I don't know. Or is it largely hearsay / rumour?

Yes, over the past 12 months. No, it is not hearsay or rumour. Sorry you disapprove.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 1:57 pm   #12
 
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I have to agree - site visits never really give a true flavour of an actual hotel stay. You don't notice the little things when you wonder around rooms. It is still better than nothing.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 2:36 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul2 View Post
I agree with you about the Baglioni, I stayed there earlier this year and like it a lot. I didnt notice the poor service issues often mentioned here.
Yup as posted in the other London thread,we stayed at the baglioni 2 weeks ago and were pleasantly surprised!
Yes the lighting is very low but thats the style of that hotel.
It reminded me of a sort of classical W.

Thanks Davido for a very comprehensive report!
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Old Mar 31, 09, 3:34 pm   #14
 
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QUOTE vuittonsofstyle;11503952][b]"The Connaught, Claridges & Berkeley: All owned by Maybourne now, who, under Quinlan Private own some very good hotels, but generally do not appear to manage their hotels as well themselves. Also, why is it taking so long to renovate The Berkeley and to put in the spa?! Rumour has it that they keep changing their minds...
Amazed you did not even mention the Firmdale Hotels in London, which offer a far better experience than most you mentioned - Covent Garden Hotel, Charlotte St Hotel, Soho, Knightsbridge.... "QUOTE

Quinlan Private also own some not so good hotels and i wouldn't be suprised if there are other reasons for the lack of renovation at The Berkeley.

I agree that Firmdale Hotels are often overlooked.

I think Davids post above is a good list from which people can research further on Flyertalk or elsewhere and choose from the tapestry of hotels London offers.

Last edited by paul2; Mar 31, 09 at 5:16 pm. Reason: spelling
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Old Mar 31, 09, 5:52 pm   #15
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Thank you DavidO for the comprehensive report. I'm using it to select the next place to try out - I have about 50 nights in London coming up this year and I want to try different ones, so your list will be very useful.

P.S. I am very happy with the Dorchester but their Japanese food for room service leave a bit to be desired.
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