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[ARCHIVE to 2016] Hilton London Canary Wharf {GBR}

[ARCHIVE to 2016] Hilton London Canary Wharf {GBR}

Old Jun 27, 06, 3:58 am
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Arrow [ARCHIVE to 2016] Hilton London Canary Wharf {GBR}

I found a paper advertisement in a room of an Hilton property in London about the 'Hilton London Canary Wharf opens week commencing 26th June 2006'.

Any feedback yet ?

Last edited by Canarsie; Jun 28, 06 at 11:18 am Reason: This milepost was merged into this thread unedited.
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Old Jun 28, 06, 3:50 am
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Hilton Canary Wharf Trip Report

The Canary Wharf Hilton opened on the 26th June and I was keen to try this hotel since it was the only Hilton in the Central London Area I have yet to visit. Work commitments meant that I was away from London on the 26th, but I was able to stay on the 27th. Overall I was not impressed my observations follow:-

The first challenge when staying at the new Hilton Canary Wharf is actually locating the property. Since I am only slightly familiar with the Canary Wharf area I did not find the map particularly helpful. In the end after exiting the underground at Canary Wharf, I took a short ride on the DLR from Heron Quays to South Quay and the Hilton Canary Wharf can be found right beside South Quay DLR station. Once you have found the hotel the easiest walking route to Canary Wharf becomes very clear, it is however very hard to describe otherwise (basically cutting directly through Jubilee Place and across the bridge is the most direct route, although if wheeling a case, there are steps to be tackled.

Upon arrival I entered a small bar/lobby area, which is open to the restaurant area on the right hand side and which is also open to a small general check in and concierge area on the left hand side. The public areas seemed small but well designed and with a very different to any other UK Hilton I have visited. The decor is however very modern and quite tasteful.

I noticed that the Executive Lounge Location was indicated on the lift, so I went up to the 14th floor lounge to check in. I was told upon check in that no Executive rooms were available (more on this later) and was allocated a “superior room” on the 9th floor. I then waited in the lounge for my girlfriend to arrive. Somehow or other the Hotel had the wrong Frequent Flyer details listed for my stay.

The lounge area was large and spacious (but utterly soulless in my opinion) and offered the usual range of drinks. The wine selection consisted of the standard cheap French red and white wine. The pleasant Australian sparkling wine (often found at UK Hiltons) was not available at this hotel. The spirit, beer and soft drink selection was fairly standard for UK Hilton lounges but strangely there was no fruit juice offered for self service (the lounge staff offered to get fruit juice if required). The lounge food consisted of small canapés, spring rolls, minced lamb kofta and a small Mediterranean mezze selection.

The lounge was utterly empty and contained no more than 4 other guests during the time I spent there. The hotel staff outnumbered guests for most of the time I spent in the lounge and lounge service was very good and proactive. One nice feature of the lounge is that it is open for 3 hours between 6pm and 9pm, which makes it more useful for those arriving from work somewhat later.

By the time my girlfriend arrived, I had noted the completely empty lounge and had overheard a conversation indicating another guest had been upgraded to an Exec floor room. I had become convinced me that the Exec Floor was not in fact full. I could not be bothered arguing however and we went to our room to get changed. The “standard” room (albeit superior or whatever slight upgrade had been indicated) was pleasant enough and extremely spacious, but seemed to lack furniture. The very large space was filled by a very small double bed (slightly smaller I think than a US Queen) a char and foot stool, a desk a cupboard unit containing a minibar and tea/coffee making facilities and a free standing wardrobe. There was easily enough space for a sofa/sofabed or dining table or other furnishings, instead there was just a very large space which contrived to make the small bed look even smaller. Welcome letters had been left in the room (one standard letter and one relating to the Executive lounge), a rather nice selection of strawberries and dipping icing sugar were also provided. The TV was the (new) standard Hilton LCD screen with integrated alarm clock. It appears that this Hotel (like every other UK Hilton I have stayed at) is unable to supply a high quality TV signal to guest rooms, the resulting picture “noise” is made all the worse by the LCD screen.

The room furnishings were similar to the modern UK Hilton style but in much darker wood with a more angular (rather than curved) headboard and side tables. Carpets were grey rather than beige and the desk chair and accessory cushions were brightly coloured (blue in this room). All the wood had coloured highlights (i.e. blue on this room). The bathroom was bright and modern and reasonably spacious. Contrasting tiles could be found on most of the walls and floors with the use of frosted glass to complement mirrors above the sink. All the bathroom fixtures (bath, loo etc.) appeared to be of high quality. The shower in the standard room was found in the bath (with a glass shower screen to prevent splashing).

Although the room was pleasant enough, it was nothing special by any means and I was quite annoyed by the size of the bed. I thus went back to the lounge to enquire whether there was any King bedded rooms available and whether in fact the Exec Floors (I noted at least 3 Exec floors, from 12 floors of bedrooms) were all in fact full (given the emptiness of the lounge). I was finally offered an Executive room on the 12th floor with a King bed. This room had similar furnishings to the regular room on the 9th floor, the dark wood and furnishings this time being highlighted in red. The Exec room was quite a bit smaller than the standard room but apart from an integrated wardrobe (and a thicker plusher throw on the bed) had exactly the same furnishings. The Exec room bathroom had a separate shower and was slightly larger as a result but was otherwise identical to the normal room.

The air-conditioning to all rooms was extremely fierce and AC lovers like myself will really like this aspect of the rooms here. Whilst the Exec lounge had good (and interesting) views across London, the views from the rooms I experienced were extremely dull. The Exec room we moved to did not contain the strawberries, and we regretted not collecting them from our previous room before moving.

We then went to dinner. We examined the menu for the onsite Cinnamon restaurant (which appeared to be standard UK Hilton fare with a slight twist). We thus decided to go for dinner in nearby Jubilee Place. After a pleasant dinner we returned to our room and things started to slide markedly. We ordered some strawberries from room service (since we did not get any complimentary ones in this room) and whilst waiting my girlfriend attempted to shower.
The shower had only one temperature (around 100C). The sink and bath also appeared to run only scalding hot water. We called for assistance with this issue and also chased up room service after half an hour of waiting. Someone arrived to look at the problem and called for management support (this I took as a bad sign, since managers rarely arrive with a bag of spanners or wrenches). I was told (by a lady I assume was the Executive floor manager since I had seen her in the lounge previously) that the problem with the sink and bath was that the taps were incorrectly marked (hot was in fact cold and vice versa on the mixer tap). The Operations Manager then arrived to tell me that the shower could not be repaired (the bath shower was handheld and in any event there was no shower curtain or screen even if I could have used that).

I explained my dissatisfaction and my views of an organisation which opens a new property without conducting simple tests to verify that rooms are fully functional, before releasing them to guests. I was offered (upon my insistence) an additional room on the same floor with a functional shower (which we used for the shower only). The Operations Manager seemed keen to change my room entirely, but by now it was almost 11pm and I really did not want to repack and get dressed (we were both wearing bathrobes by this stage). Our room service order arrived after being chased twice more and thus took almost an hour to deliver some cold strawberries and cream which were not as nice as the complimentary fruit in our first room and were £10 more expensive.

It clearly struck me as strange that a hotel which had all its Exec rooms “fully booked” could ultimately provide me with 2 simultaneous rooms on the Exec floor with no apparent difficulty.

Breakfast could be taken in either the lounge or main restaurant (or I believe in the room upon payment of the £6 supplement). We opted for Breakfast in the restaurant (so I cannot comment on the lounge breakfast). The restaurant offered the standard Hilton Breakfast buffet with a slight twist. More appealing fruits etc. were available for continental breakfast and rice and condiments were available (presumably for Asian guests). There was no sign of any Porridge or Bircher Muesli being available. The whole breakfast experience was quite similar to that in a UK Holiday Inn, it certainly did not come up to the standard of the Waldorf Hilton, London Conrad or even the Trafalgar.

So how would I sum up my experience? I would say that my stay was both disappointing and frustrating. The Canary Wharf Hilton is quite an expensive property (although I secured a very reasonable rate for my stay). When I was looking to make bookings for July and August it seems almost impossible to book a room at this property for <£200 a night. Clearly the location is very convenient for those working at Canary Wharf and I am sure this property will have lots of regular customers. I personally would not stay here again. The location is relatively convenient for me but no better than The Waldorf which is an infinitely better hotel at similar cost.
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Old Jun 28, 06, 6:34 am
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Excellent Report....

...but sorry you had to do user acceptance testing AFTER the property went live. I'm thinking of booking there for convenience to work in mid-September for 10 days and hopefully the defect rate will be minimal

A couple of questions:

1) How far would you say the walk is from the hotel to Canary Wharf?
2) As a Diamond, was the continental breakfast included and did you have the ability to upgrade for xxx pounds to a full American breakfast?

Thanks again for a full report....
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Old Jun 28, 06, 6:50 am
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Interesting read. I am flying into London City Airport, week after next, so will compare notes. As stated, it is convenient for the LDR and City location.
Thanks for the "warning."
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Old Jun 28, 06, 7:19 am
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Originally Posted by milesmilesmiles
...but sorry you had to do user acceptance testing AFTER the property went live. I'm thinking of booking there for convenience to work in mid-September for 10 days and hopefully the defect rate will be minimal

A couple of questions:

1) How far would you say the walk is from the hotel to Canary Wharf?
2) As a Diamond, was the continental breakfast included and did you have the ability to upgrade for xxx pounds to a full American breakfast?

Thanks again for a full report....
I guess it depends where in "Canary Wharf" you are trying to reach. I walk quite quickly and would say it took approximately 4 to 5 minutes to reach Canary Wharf Tube Station if that is any help.

As a Diamond they did allow access to the lounge (it would have been difficult for them to have refused given it was completely empty). Continental Breakfast was apparently available in the lounge, with the option of a Restaurant Breakfast at no additional charge. YMMV, the normal position for properties in the UK with lounges is that only the lounge brekky is included and no credit is given towards a restaurant breakfast. For clarity it is extremely rare in the UK for any breakfast buffet in the restaurant to be provided as continental only, almost without exception hotels offering a restaurant breakfast bufet, offer the full buffet (hot and cold items). The only hotel I have ever encountered which had a "continental only" policy is the London Conrad but then at the Conrad only the continental items are buffet.

BTW at my insistence the cost of the nights stay (prepaid) was waived, I will now wait and see if I receive a corresponding credit on my Amex account. I was however charged £11 for the strawberries I should have had free

Last edited by Land-of-Miles; Jun 28, 06 at 8:07 am
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Old Jun 28, 06, 7:44 am
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Originally Posted by Land-of-Miles
I was however charged £11 for the strawberries I should have had free
That beats the $15 the Chicago Hilton charged me last year for one scoop of vanilla ice cream
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Old Jun 29, 06, 2:14 am
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One thing I forgot to mention in my report is that given that this is a new property (and given it's likely clientele) the Gym is really quite poor. It is labelled "Livingwell Express" and consists of a single reasonably sized room and a collection of equipment. It is difficult to describe but it is in no way a full gym. Those FT'ers familiar with the Gym at the Helsinki Strand, will have a good idea what to expect here. There were no apparent showers or changing rooms. I tried to investigate further but my key card would not allow me access
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Old Aug 25, 06, 2:21 pm
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Thumbs up Hilton London Canary Wharf

This is a two month old hotel. We spent the night there last night in an (upgraded) junior suite. From the moment we entered the hotel, we were made to feel important and welcome. It's a really impressive place; a very modernistic feel to it. The room was great, on the 8th floor. I had been worried about noise coming from the adjoining Docklands Light Railway, but there was none. Every facility was on offer and the bed could have slept five! Nice bathroom too. The Executive Lounge was superb, up on the top (14th) floor with panoramic views of London. And you could get a free, full cooked breakfast in there, which was a nice surprise. All in all, a great place to stay in London. Just 20 minutes from the heart of the City. Probably the best Hilton in the UK now (I've stayed in most of them!). Don't buy tea/coffee downstairs; it's extortionate! Use the Exec lounge instead. Highly recommended.
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Old Aug 25, 06, 8:02 pm
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Thanks Diamondman2006 and welcome to FT. Will check out the hotel--BTW how far is it from the Docklands station and is that the easiest access to the hotel? Do they let Gold's use the lounge?
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Old Aug 26, 06, 8:37 am
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Re: Canary Wharf

I have to admit that when I first logged in to FT, I was a Diamond HH. Unfortunately, illness knocked back my stay regime and now I'm down to Gold.

No problem though; I still got upgraded and was allowed into the Exec Lounge.

Getting there is easy: the Docklands Light Railway station at South Quay is literally next door to the hotel. South Quay is 2 stops down the line from Canary Wharf, on the Lewisham line, which starts from Bank station in the City. Alternatively, the Jubilee Line Underground line intersects with the DLR at Canary Wharf. Warning: buy your DLR ticket before you board, either from a machine or a DLR or Underground ticket booth, otherwise you'll get fined about (I think) £10!

I hope you enjoy your stay as much as I did.
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Old Aug 26, 06, 12:16 pm
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They have clearly improved since the opening then. I stayed the day after th Hilton CW opened and nothing worked (including the staff) upgrades were given grudgingly and the rooms were nicely decorated but otherwise unimpressive. I might try it again if things have improved.
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Old Aug 26, 06, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by ac777
Thanks Diamondman2006 and welcome to FT. Will check out the hotel--BTW how far is it from the Docklands station and is that the easiest access to the hotel? Do they let Gold's use the lounge?
The Hilton is approximately 4 mins walk from Canary Wharf Jubilee Line Station. It would take longer changing trains at Canary Wharf than walking.
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Old Aug 26, 06, 12:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Land-of-Miles
The Hilton is approximately 4 mins walk from Canary Wharf Jubilee Line Station. It would take longer changing trains at Canary Wharf than walking.
Agreed, and you do have to walk from the Tube to the separate DLR station at C.Wharf. But, if you're coming from Bank's direction, the DLR's the option to take.
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Old Aug 27, 06, 8:58 am
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Originally Posted by diamondman2006
Agreed, and you do have to walk from the Tube to the separate DLR station at C.Wharf. But, if you're coming from Bank's direction, the DLR's the option to take.
DLR is far slower than the tube however so it can be quicker taking the northern line to london bridge and switching to the jubilee line.
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Old Aug 29, 06, 3:16 am
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Originally Posted by Land-of-Miles
DLR is far slower than the tube however so it can be quicker taking the northern line to london bridge and switching to the jubilee line.
Hmm, I didn't think this thread was supposed to be an argument about transport options, but I'll enter the ring anyway...

Coming from Bank, I'd say it's probably best to go with the DLR just to avoid having to change at London Bridge. The time it takes walking through the tunnels, up and down escalators, and waiting for a connecting train adds up. Besides, if it's your first trip to the Hilton Canary Wharf you might find it a little difficult to find your way on foot from Canary Wharf tube station to the hotel. If you use the DLR then you'll find it easily, and on subsequent trips you can use the tube.

P.S. Staying there for the first time in a few days and looking forward to it with overblown expectations!
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