Hilton London Kensington {GBR}

Old Nov 22, 2003, 11:01 am
  #136  
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I just spent a night at the Kensington Hilton, on the 69 GBP rate, inclusive of breakfast and taxes. I had stayed there two years ago as a Gold. I had been upgraded to a pleasant but smallish Executive room and I was disappointed with the service at the then Hiroko Japanese restaurant (it is now an Asian restaurant by the name of Zen Oriental) and the lounge.

This time, I was upgraded to a pleasant suite (king bedroom + living room) and had breakfast in the ground floor restaurant, which was quite pleasant. Having some fresh fruit in addition to the canned fruit be nice, but that is my only reservation.

I had also been disappointed by the "business centre" which was and still is a small room in front of reception. There must be some changes going on, as there are two high speed internet workstations, one quite modern which charges you 4 pounds per 1/2 hour (no receipt, is not charged to your room), and another one, a standard PC, also with high speed internet, but no charge
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Old Nov 22, 2003, 1:44 pm
  #137  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by JOUY31:
I just spent a night at the Kensington Hilton, on the 69 GBP rate, inclusive of breakfast and taxes. I had stayed there two years ago as a Gold. I had been upgraded to a pleasant but smallish Executive room and I was disappointed with the service at the then Hiroko Japanese restaurant (it is now an Asian restaurant by the name of Zen Oriental) and the lounge.

This time, I was upgraded to a pleasant suite (king bedroom + living room) and had breakfast in the ground floor restaurant, which was quite pleasant. Having some fresh fruit in addition to the canned fruit be nice, but that is my only reservation.

I had also been disappointed by the "business centre" which was and still is a small room in front of reception. There must be some changes going on, as there are two high speed internet workstations, one quite modern which charges you 4 pounds per 1/2 hour (no receipt, is not charged to your room), and another one, a standard PC, also with high speed internet, but no charge
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I'm actually staying at it for the tonight! Must have missed Jouy31 by few hours!

There was a leak in the bathroom and the floor was "flooded" So I called housekeeping. no response. Called the front desk, they told me they would get someone from house keeping to come righ away. Waited an hour. Decided it was worth a visit to the front desk and asked for the manager on duty. Explained him the situation in a very friendly and polite manner. He came right away with me to the room, assessed the situation, changed my room, which was already on the executive floor, so no upgrade, but nevertheless he offered me to pay for my dinner! So all in all a story with Hilton with a happy ending! BTW...that stay was number 28!!!!!! I'll keep looking on Hilton website for change of status to Diamond! And all of that last stay was on a 69bp rate. Not a bad deal at all!

BTW, with that consideration, Hilton Kensington just gained a customer for life!

[This message has been edited by Super Larry (edited Nov 22, 2003).]
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Old Nov 30, 2003, 6:55 pm
  #138  
 
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I'm here next weekend and looks like there may be good bus service from olympia to the kensington Hilton if you are arriving or departing via LGW.

I'll try it this weekend and post a report.

I think I'm paying even less that 69 gpb a night.

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Old Dec 1, 2003, 4:59 pm
  #139  
 
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I'm there again on Sunday with the B&B rate of 64GBP. I took the tube when I did it last month for 5.10GBP for an all areas tube pass which is great for getting around the city after getting to the hotel.

Got upgraded to the executive floor but no suite for me... wonder if I should ask this time.
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Old Dec 1, 2003, 11:13 pm
  #140  
 
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After just taking the Airbus LHR to Hilton Kensington this weekend, I think I'm going to use the tube from now on...the off peak (9:30AM-4:00 AM)daily 5.10GBP tube pass can't be beat. Sure, the route on the tube involves a few line changes, but the alleged 8:42 A2 bus this morning arrived at hotel at 9:10. We were charged 4GBP per person from LHR T3 - hotel on Sunday, but 8 GBP this morning. Weird. At any rate, the view from the bus isn't all that stellar...there really isn't much to see that's interesting on the way to or from LHR. Lotsa baggage? Take the airbus. Carryon? Take the tube, IMHO. Lotsa cash? Get a limo.

Thank goodness the M4 has a special lane for the busses...it was still 90 minutes to get to LHR T3 from the hotel. Jeez, I thought SEA and Bay Area traffic were bad. BTW, the Hilton Kensington is the first Airbus stop from LHR and the last pickup on the way to LHR...with little worry about it being full. Pertty comfy ride, although the heat was cranked so high it was stifling. Had to open a window a couple of times to get the interior back under 150 degrees....

All told, the Shepherd's Bush tube station (west of the hotel)is only about 3-1/2 blocks away, although the Holland Park Station (about 1/2 mile east) is a more interesting walk to the hotel. Getting to Westminster took all of about 15-20 minutes yesterday from the hotel. We landed from BRU at T1, 10:00 A.M and were checked in at the hotel and at Big Ben before noon.

I also found some great Bordeaux values in a few of the wine shops on the walk back from the Holland Park station to the Kensington - ones I'd pay $30-$40 for here were on average 8-10GBP. I like the residential neighborhood the hotel's in, too, FWIW.

As a DIA, got no upgrade (was told they were full, for grins counted the newspapers on the 7th floor this A.M. at 6:30, 'twas about 1/3 full) and had to whine and snivel to get access to the "executive lounge"...which is a poor joke. There weren't even crisps up there. The room itself was decent enough and comfortable, facing Holland Park Road. Unless you're into snooker and soccer (sorry, football), there isn't much on the available on the telly.

Also agree that the Chinese food restaurant Zen at the hotel is average at best. The Thai dishes seemed better than the Mandarin choices, with the Phad Thai and Tom Yung Goong being pretty good. Do NOT get the Scezhuan (sorry, butchered spelling) Beef; the cashew chicken was pretty boring as well. Also, it was overpriced (what the heck isn't in London?) at over 50 GBP for two for dinner (no alcohol). I did think the free brekkie buffet was very good, though.

All in all, staff I'd give a c-, hotel a b+, the value can't be beat on the 69GBP B&B rate. The guy that was acting as concierge had the personality of a carrot, and they acted as if upgrades were only offered to knighted persons or those of royal lineage. Perhaps it was just a bad day for the staff.
I'll try it again for my next stay at the end of January.
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Old Dec 2, 2003, 3:04 am
  #141  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by fredmartens:
All in all, staff I'd give a c-, hotel a b+, the value can't be beat on the 69GBP B&B rate. The guy that was acting as concierge had the personality of a carrot, and they acted as if upgrades were only offered to knighted persons or those of royal lineage. Perhaps it was just a bad day for the staff.
I'll try it again for my next stay at the end of January.
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I agree about the staff, but the value can be beat - London Olympia Hilton - 49 per night, if you can find thye rate. Staff are excellent, though the hotel is perhaps not quite as nice upstairs, the bar is MUCH better. It's just much more awkward to get to than the Ken.
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Old Dec 2, 2003, 11:35 am
  #142  
 
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Fred,

A carrot? I'm make I look for him on Saturday, maybe he will have evolved into a parsnip by then. We're booked back in here at 77 GBP b&b and tax at Christmas for the proximity to the airbus and the oxford tube.

This weekend as a gold I'll be pleased to find a meagre bar of soap (unused) and clean sheets as the hotel is full up!

lala
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Old Dec 2, 2003, 7:41 pm
  #143  
 
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I am booked for stays at theis hotel from 26-29 Dec and also on 31 Dec-- The rate is great--the 77 GBP for two but I am wondering what I'll get as a gold!! Will post my experiences in January
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Old Dec 2, 2003, 11:31 pm
  #144  
 
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GoldCircle, I'll keep an eye on the Olympia for my upcoming Jan & Feb trips, thanks very much for the tip. I'm always up for a new neighborhood in LON. I may also just use LHR as a springboard & head to Paris or Dublin for the 3 days I have scheduled on those great recent $333.60 USD fares.

lalala, the concierge chap is a rather tall and good looking fellow who could double for a model, I suppose. He just had no "savoir faire", if you will. Consider the following exchanges:

"Is the Airbus usually on time?" "I really don't know, sir".

"If we have a 12:15 out of T3 at LHR with FastTrack check-in, should we take the 8:42 or 9:12?" "I really can't say, sir."

Sort of the same exchange between Eddie Murphy and the limo driver in "Trading Places" where he's being propositioned by the Duke brothers after they bail him out of jail...ahh, but I digress. Perhaps he'll be merrier the weekend you're there.

Even the desk staff was a bit "stiff upper lipped" when I had to spell my last name for them at check-in (it is quite correct enough right there on the computer screen, Visa and HHonors Diamond card that I gave you, darling), I happened to ripoff an old Monty Python line and quip "I had it shortened from ThroatWarblerMangrove"...which drew an uncomprehending blank stare. Cheeky ba$tard, what.

The room amenities are decent, they're the long glass tubes of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel along with round facial soap bar and shower cap akin to those found elsewhere in the "nicer" Hilton EU properties. A shoe mitt and horn are also in the closet near the trouser press. There's even a semi-functional plastic corkscrew inside the door to the mini-bar should you choose to select your own bottle of wine from the nearby grocery as we did (must remember next time to leave a note that I'd prefer drinking from Riedels rather than the tumblers they left in the room).

The tub is also nice and deep for that all important afternoon "bath-after-tea" in order to relieve that "I just walked my a$$ off from Tower Bridge to Piccadilly to Victoria Station and my dogs are BARKIN'" feeling. Excellent shower pressure and volume, something (yeah, I know it's weird, it's just me) I prize and take note of in my personal room satisfaction rating scale.

I had a room on the first floor, and, again, they really are not bad at all. Some of the posts I read about this property had me at bit nervous, but I think you'll enjoy your stay, the rates and room size certainly beat the living daylights out of anything in AMS or BRU for value.

BTW, please say hello to Rhonda for me at the SEA AC, she remembers reading a complementary post from you here on FT that I seconded a few months back...further evidence that we on FT are not alone...
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Old Dec 3, 2003, 9:41 am
  #145  
 
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I just returned from a GLON stay at the Kensington Hilton. I am gold, and was upgraded to a suite after a little nagging (about how we were on vacation and would be in the room for a whole week...) I also had access to the executive lounge. The only time you had to sign in at the lounge was in the evenings for the cocktail hour. Otherwise, no one even paid attention when we went in there for breakfast or throughout the day for cofee/sodas. The continental breakfast was good, and if you came in after 9am, they would tell you to have breakfast in the restaurant at no charge. The breakfast in the restaurant was much nicer, a buffet with omelettes, etc.

All in all a good stay. Nice Molton Brown amenities in the suite. I really liked the neighboorhood, although cabs ended up costing a pretty penny. The Holland Park tube is not too far away and is a nice walk as mentioned previously.
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Old Dec 3, 2003, 4:13 pm
  #146  
 
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My husband and I just returned last night from a ten night stay. We used a GLON plus an extra rewards night, and paid for the rest. Our rate was 78 pounds for one of the nights, and 88 for the other two. We booked online. I monitored the rates for a while before booking, so I'm not sure how some of you got such low rates!

We are both Hilton gold, and had a room on the sixth floor but no suite. Our room faced a rather hideous inner courtyard, but on the plus side, it was very quiet. It was in decent shape but the bathroom needed an upgrade. The shower curtain was disgusting.

Our main complaint was the front desk crew. "Julie" was very good, but several of the men were surly and incompetent. My husband stood directly in front of the clerk at the Hilton Honors check-in, but wasn't even acknowledged for ten minutes. This same clerk wasn't familiar with rewards stays. When we checked out, we learned that he had made up a rate and charged us for each night.

Another clerk tried to tell us that a full breakfast wasn't included in the paid portion of our stay, even though we had a print out of the confirmation that clearly stated that it was.

We had no problems with the airbus from Heathrow. It was on time both to and from the airport.


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Old Dec 3, 2003, 6:03 pm
  #147  
 
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When I checked in about 3 weeks ago, a trainee (friendly Japanese girl) screwed everything up. I ended up being charged twice for my stay and after 3 phone calls did they reverse one of the charges. After inquiring if there was an upgrade available she said no and there were no more twin rooms on the executive floor, I asked if I had access to the lounge and she said she did not know. I asked to speak to the manager (tall French guy) and he did not believe I was gold since I did not have my card. I had to walk across the hall into the business room to log into my account then he followed me back to the room to look at the screen to show that I was really gold. Low and behold, there was a room on the executive floor. The check-in process took about 1 hour.

My room (618) overlooked a courtyard and my bathroom was clean and modern. The lounge is pretty small but decent. It seemed like the staff didn't enforce who belong there or not. I never bother signing in at night.
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Old Jan 3, 2004, 10:34 pm
  #148  
 
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Hilton Kensington London

I just stayed twice at this Hotel-- their lounge was closed from 25-31 Dec incl-- so I didn't get access to the lounge but was given 2 drink vouchers per person per day as compensation. Did get upgraded to an executive room both times but on the last day didn't get the complimentary water-- even after complaining!! On the 31st Dec they appeared to be very disorganized.
Also, for those going there-- I found the Shepherd's Bush UG Station more convenient that Holland Park.( Both on Central Line) Come out of the station, look left and you can see the Hilton across the road--and it's a very short walk.
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Old Jan 3, 2004, 10:53 pm
  #149  
 
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Chaos was the order of the day when I was there in November, so sounds like things haven't changed much.

Kensington paled to the Olympia for me, where I was upgraded to a junior suite on an award stay.

But I found the walk to the Holland Park tube station a bit more pleasant and tranquil than to Shepard's Bush...and IIRC, it's about equidistant to either from the Hilton.
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Old Jan 4, 2004, 1:56 am
  #150  
 
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I stayed at the Hilton Kensington over Thanksgiving weekend 2003 as a diamond. No upgrade and had to argue nicely but firmly with the clerk regarding lounge access. She finally relented after consulting with the manager, who "allowed" it. The lounge was nothing to write home about.

The staff there was stiff, semi-incompetent and humourless with no hospitality oriented personality whatsoever. If it wasn't for the $69 GBP rate incl tax & breakfast (which was good), I'd never stay there again. The property itself was acceptable but unremarkable. Food in the Asian cuisine restaurant onsite was overpriced but decent.

I'm booked there at the end of Feb 2004, but am actively looking once a week for another property at a comparable rate; I wonder what the Thistle chain is like in LON. The Hilton Kensington is a value oriented stay type place only as far as I'm concerned. I do like the convenient access to Shepherd's Bush tube station which will either take you downtown or to LHR with a minimum of hassle. The walk back to the hotel from the Holland Park station, though a bit longer, is much nicer IMHO.

If you're staying there, I'd recommend the tube over the Airbus (unless you have a ton of luggage)after waiting over 30 minutes past the scheduled time for bus service both at LHR T3 at 11AM on a Sunday and again at 9 AM at the hotel on a Monday morning.
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