Hilton London Kensington {GBR}

Old Feb 15, 99, 4:31 pm
Commander Catcop
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Join Date: May 1998
Posts: 10,259
Arrow Hilton London Kensington {GBR}

Basically, a hit and miss stay.

Got very friendly greeting from the front door staff... then ended up waiting 20 minutes on the HHonors like for someone to pay attention to me. I think the girl just started or was training because she could not find the reservation, then booked me in a room where the manager screamed "Don't put him in there... there's a man still sleeping in there!"

So I ended up in a small room with a double bed. ME! A HILTON GOLD MEMBER. I was so disgusted that I took the room but noted this was NOT the room I asked for. (I need a KING bed because I tend to roll in my sleep and sometimes roll right off the bed!)

Also: the girl said Hilton Reservations never told the hotel I had a U-A 50-percent certificate. They were ready to charge me the higher 180 pound a nite rate! (Yes, the company would pick up the tab but H-R has told me to try to find the Most economical place to stay. Meaning: MOTEL SIX!)

I learned later that the girl also forgot to ask me to sign for the certificate. The hotel ended up honoring the certificate for ALL three nights for my frustration.

Room nice, the bed a bit firm but after a long day of work was just right. As one staffer said "All the rooms in LONDON are small."

Got to use one of the conference facilities for one of our seminars. It was convenient for me to do my presentation. Staff very nice and helpful, kept bringing coffee and tea and COKE for me (sadly NO PEPSI!)

The Club room upstairs had a good selection of light things for breakfast (INcluding Frosties or Frosted Flakes... they're GGGRRREEEATTT!!)

It would have been nicer if the club room opened an hour earlier for those early morning travelers leaving. (It opens at 7 am)

I really like the consierge who helped me find a restaurant on short notice to take myself the anchor and her husband to. Rules. Good standard English food. The oldest restaurant in LONDON (My good friend Merry sent me a great list of recommended places which of course I left home!)

Nice the underground station was a short distance away. And the Safeway for those PEPSI runs.

Liked the Crescent Lounge where I spent part of Valentine's day and made a friend, Chris.

Checkout- the woman seemed very sour. Maybe it was the ungodly hour of 6 am. She also made a face when I asked to make sure my UA Premier Executive and my HHONORS numbers were in there (They were NOT on the bill)

So overall a mixed review. I just hope I get my points and miles. CATMAN

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Old Feb 15, 99, 5:19 pm
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I had a similar experience at this hotel last summer. I too waited an interminable amount of time to check-in. They would not acknowledge my VIP status and would not give me a non-smoking room since I was on a cert stay and the girl at the front desk said that they didn't have enough non-smoking rooms and what they had were for paying guests. She also would not give me lounge privileges. When I called down the next day, the day manager told me that they would move me to a new room and to leave my luggage in the room and when I returned later I'd be in a new room. So when I got in at 10 pm.......I again waited an interminable amount of time at the front desk, and found out they had not moved me, and there were no non-smoking rooms. That is when I exploded and the night manager came running out to help me. Then guess what????? They moved me to the Executive Floor, non-smoking king room and sent up champagne for my trouble.
I am convinced that this hotel does not train their staff properly, but I consider it abominable that is rated a "classic" hotel. The staff there did tell me it was a Hilton "National" hotel, which means that is not part of Hilton International...whatever that means. I would not recommend this hotel for a cert stay, and it is somewhat out of the way for touristy activities although there is a very close tube station.
I also stayed at the Sherlock Holmes Hilton in London last year which I considered far superior and better bang for your buck.
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Old Feb 15, 99, 5:33 pm
Commander Catcop
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Posts: 10,259
I feel a bit better, that I'm not just alone whining in the wind!

Thanks for the suggestion of the Sherlock Holmes hotel, Gabby. I'll have to remind my company's travel department of this place.
Catman is offline  
Old Feb 16, 99, 3:24 am
Join Date: Jan 1999
Posts: 3,065
Gabby: I'm a bit confused by the 'Hilton National' comment.

'Hilton National' is the UK brand name of Hilton Internationals 'convienience' hotels.

In London there is a Hilton National in Olympia, but the Kensington Hilton is NOT a Hilton National, it is a Hilton International .

I also don't understand what you mean by "not acknowledging your VIP status"?

Although they will usually grant you Lounge access if you ar a Gold or Diamond VIP, this is not a part of the Hhonors scheme. I have always found if you treat the Lounge Manager nicely you won't have a problem with this - if you demand access the door may become closed!

And as an aside the Sherlock Holmes is NOT a Hilton, it is an associate hotel. Which basically means it uses Hilton's marketing and reservations systems and issues Hhonors points for qualifying stays, but the benefits they offer VIP's are not required to be the same as offered by Hilton itself.

But as I said before, the Kensington is not a great Hilton and therefore at least half the price of the Conrad and Park Lane - I think you get what you pay for.

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Old Feb 16, 99, 9:50 am
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One of the finest stays I have ever had in London was at the Langham Hilton. I had a 4 day award certificate over Easter weekend last year. My room wasn't ready so they upgraded me to the Wallace Simpson Suite.
I highly recomend it for your next stay!
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Old Feb 16, 99, 2:12 pm
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akperry: "Wallace Simpson". Wash your mouth out with soap.

Merry is offline  
Old Feb 16, 99, 4:04 pm
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Sorry Merry,
Didn't mean to dredge up bad memories.
They did offer me the Edward VIII room but
it didn't have a bathroom... something about
if I accepted it I would have to give up the throne.
...sorry ... that was just sick American
divorcee humor!
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Old Feb 17, 99, 3:13 am
Join Date: Jan 1999
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akperry: Very good. Keep that level of humour up and I may have to e-mail Rudi and Catman and nominating you for the next Omni award!

Merry is offline  
Old Feb 17, 99, 3:09 pm
Commander Catcop
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Great suggestion on an OMNI Merry!

OMNI: actually the Masterpiece Theatre miniseries about Edward and Wallace Simpson was very good. I remember watching it growing up.

But I agree Merry -- that whole affair was a big mess! CATMAN
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Old Feb 17, 99, 10:11 pm
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Well Merry.......

Do I sense a little sensitivity?....
I'm glad you clarified on the "National" concept...like I said I wasn't sure what that meant other than the implication that National Hotels were inferior.
Just to clarify...I did not have my nose up against the VIP lounge door at the Kensington, pawing at the door and attempting to gain access. I merely requested access at the front desk, which every other foreign Hilton has always provided me in this manner.
Also, it is interesting to note that the Kensington is rated the same as the Park Lane and the Langham (I've stayed at both), but is far inferior.
Finally, please clarify your position on the Sherlock Holmes. When I stayed there they had a large Hilton sign at the front desk, you receive points and you can redeem points here,no? So if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck......
gabbysz is offline  
Old Feb 18, 99, 3:21 am
Join Date: Jan 1999
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Gabby: Not sensitivity, I just think that sometimes we forget that some of the benefits we are given as Elite FF's are discretionary and not a right.

As an example, yes, the Sherlock Holmes will allow you to stay there as an award stay - but look in your Handbook, it does NOT have to. They are not owned by Hilton. They could easliy refuse.

I think we have all seen people at check-in demanding (and I'm not saying you demanded) upgrades and lounge access etc etc. I just feel that everytime we do this as Elite's we turn the staff against us collectively and lessen the chances for the next person.

I still do not understand what you mean by "would not acknowledge my VIP status"?

My point is be grateful for what you get, but they are benefits not rights.

PS: One minor point, they are not VIP Lounges, they are Club Lounges, meant for guests in Club accomodation, not for VIPs.

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Old Feb 18, 99, 8:50 am
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My suggestion: chuck it all and stay at the Conrad. Nice property, nice suites, nice staff. A bit of a walk to the tube, but limo service to shopping...

Check-in time: 90 seconds
Acknowlegement of status: Yes
Upgraded room: All the rooms are nice, but "upgrades" to river view
Cost more: Of course! But, as my daddy always says, "You get at the very most what you pay for. Usually less."
kokonutz is offline  
Old Dec 1, 00, 1:05 am
Join Date: May 1999
Location: USA
Posts: 565
Phone Charges at London Kensington Hilton--BEWARE!!

I know there have been a number of discussions about phone charges at hotels, and a number of discussions about the London Hiltons...and many things said about the London Kensington Hilton...I wanted to add my experience...

I am a Diamond VIP, and checked in last week for a two night stay. I was upgraded to the executive floor (the lower of two) to a room that was VERY VERY VERY TINY. It had a SMALL bed and was approximately 9 feet by 9 feet. The bathroom had a shower only, no bathtub. I called down to request a better room, and was put on hold, and then told I'd be called back. I waited about 15 minutes and then went down to the front desk. I waited about 10 minutes and was given a different room on the top floor that was still VERY small, but was more like 12 by 12 with a little larger bathroom...this time with a tub.

The executive floor was pretty nice. Breakfast was adequate.

I made several phone calls while I was there...3 calls to the London AA reservations LOCAL number, and 3 calls to the MCI toll free access number to make credit card calls. When I checked out, these were billed as follows: 1.50 each for the TOLL FREE calls (that's about $2.25 each) and 3.54 each (that's about $5.31) for the 6 minute LOCAL LONDON calls. I protested to the front desk and to the on duty manager, and they refused to make any adjustments. This is the ABSOLUTE WORST phone rates I've EVER seen in ANY hotel...including the Prince De Galles in Paris, the Waldorf=Astoria in New York, the Waikoloa Village on the Big Island, and the Princeville Resort in Kauaii, or any other upscale hotel or resort. I was astounded and upset.

I called the night before for a wake up call, and the next morning it was not recieved. I called the night before to the concierge to get the time for the airbus pickup to Heathrow, and was told the wrong time. When checking out, I noticed that they'd overcharged me by about 30 ($45) for the second night. After waking up on my own (late), and waiting while they corrected my bill at the front desk, the airbus went by outside, 7 minutes earlier than I was told (upon checking the schedule later I saw that I was informed incorrectly the night before.)

I notified the front desk person on duty, who happened to be the hotel guest relations manager, and he checked with the on duty manager, and they agreed to put me in a taxi to the airport at the hotel expense so that I wouldn't miss my plane.

I would give this stay a 7 based on their handling of the airbus/taxi issue, which I thought was excellent. HOWEVER..the overcharging for the room, the OUTRAGEOUS phone charges, and the DINKY rooms, even as a diamond VIP earn this hotel a LESS than satisfactory rating in many respects.

aflyer is offline  
Old Dec 1, 00, 9:45 am
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Bryn Mawr PA & Wailea HI
Posts: 15,726
You should feel HHONORED in nicely getting an upgrade. As a Diamond, I have yet to receive an upgrade there. IMHO all the rooms I have seen seem to be the same size (the 2 bed rooms seem bigger). One time I received the approx charge you listed for making a Hilton reservation by calling the 0800 Hilton reservation number. Of course the check-out nazi refused to remove it. The internet charge at the business center is a whopping GBP5 for 15 min session with a whopping 21.6k connection. It is a great location, has a very nice exec level but needs some improving.

I have the name and email address of the hotel's general manager. We had a lenghty discussion last week re some problems etc. Advise if you wish it.

[This message has been edited by MisterNice (edited 12-01-2000).]
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Old Dec 1, 00, 1:28 pm
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Oak Park, IL
Programs: AA 2 MM LIfetime Platinum, SPG Platinum, Hilton Silver, BA
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The phone charges are listed under their room rates and they are outrageous. Based on the list, when asked at check-in if I wanted my phone "unable" to make calls I said Yes. The warnings at this bulletin board alerted me to look.

dgordon is offline  

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