The Park Tower Knightsbridge, A Luxury Collection Hotel

100   Recommended

October 31, 2001 by

{{ oRightNav.heading }}





OK, so the Grenadier is closed, what else am I going to do?

Arrived this evening around 6:30 p.m.

Check In

Greeted promptly at the cab by the doorman. He took my bags and handed me the slip.

I walk in ... the lobby is fairly dark, lots of wood. At the front desk I see that they have a giant desk pad identifying SPG benefits (voice in my head: "great, they'll get it right). Last year's cards were pictured, but oh well.

My agent is a trainee. She goes through the pile of pre-blocked rooms and is a bit flustered that I'm not in the stack. (I made the res earlier this morning.)

She proceeds to check me in. I ask if a suite is available. She doesn't know, but the agent next to her checks. Yes, it is. "That'll be 441 pounds, sir."

I explain platinum status. Sorry, we don't upgrade platinums to suites, just the next level room.

I ask for the front desk manager. A few minutes later, he shows. Just as soon as he arrives, he's paged for some emergency. "Please have a drink in the lobby on me, sir."

I order my drink. A few minutes later, he comes by.


ME: I just want to confirm the platinum upgrade policy.

HIM: Yes, the SPG terms are that guests are upgraded to best available room, including suites.

ME: The front desk agent says "no suite upgrades". Thanks for confirming the correct policy.

HIM: That is the SPG policy, but let me explain our hotel. [Proceeds to describe room types. ... classic, executive, butler and suites] We define executive rooms as specialty rooms.

ME: But you just said suites were included in the policy.

HIM: We think that what we offered you is within Starwood's general guidelines and recognizes your Platinum status.

ME: [Flashback to Office Space where the manager of Flinger's is explaining to Jennifer Aniston about flair, "If doing the minimum reflects your personality..."]

HIM: Please check out your room. If you're not pleased once you see it, please let me know.

Oh well, at least I got a free drink.

As I'm finishing my drink, the front desk clerk comes in and gives me the key for my executive room.


I get up to my room. Fairly nice, though small. (4 out of 5 stars on my scale.) It is one of the newly renovated rooms. Hardwood floors, nice couch built in to window area. Can see the park out of the window.

The bathroom is mostly marble -- floors, walls, etc. Separate glass shower. It's a bit of a wedge shape owing to the circular structure of the building.

Gorgeous hangers in the closet. (Never thought I'd notice that!) Instead of the usual cheap plastic bag for laundry and dry cleaning, they have two separate cloth bags.

The workspace is very thoughtfully designed with a nice lamp as well as UK, continental and US style outlets.

Bags come up within 2-4 minutes of my arrival in the room.

Amenity is a tasty box of chocolates.

If I weren't seriously annoyed at being asked to pay an extra 237 pounds for what I should be getting for being plat, I'd be very pleased with the hotel.

I had planned on extending my stay through Sunday, but I'll have to think twice.

As noted above, the room was elegantly appointed. Nice wood furniture throughout. There was actually a desk behind the main work area ... when I looked inside, I was surprised to find a full OfficeJet, safe, etc. You could still smell the freshness of the wood.

Minibar was hugely expensive. (And seemed to be missing a leg ... shook when I opened the door.)

Unfortunately, even in the newly renovated rooms, they still believe that two twins = king. Other than that, the bed was very comfortable with excellent linens.

Bathroom had thick, plush towels. Amenities were Luxury Collection. Shower pressure relatively weak. Toilet took a few presses to flush.

Housekeeping was a bit of a pest. Beginning at 10:30, they knocked no less than three separate times. Around 11, reception called to ask when I'd be checking out. (4 p.m. of course!)


Forgot a few intro details about the hotel:

It's a 17-story building near the Knightsbridge Tube (about two-three blocks). It's a modern looking building, kind of ugly for my taste.

And now for the wrap up:


After lunch, I decided to give the hotel a chance to make things right. I asked to speak to the manager one more time. The agent -- same one who offered to sell me a suite -- went in back and came out a minute later to say the manager was in a meeting.

I went up to my room and booked the Trafalgar, Hilton's new property. (With my comp HHonors Gold.)

As I was packing my stuff, housekeeping barged into the room right after a quick knock.

When I checked out, the agent asked if I wanted him to check on the manager. Came back a minute later saying the manager was still unavailable.

I gave him my business card and said "Please tell the manager that I really like your hotel. If you should revisit your upgrade policy, please have him email me and I will stay here I every time I visit London."

I then asked for the general manager's business card so I can follow up directly. He goes back into the little room. Viola! Front office manager comes out. There must have been another door into that little room.

She knew what I wanted to talk about and started right in.


HER: I want to apologize for the misunderstanding.

ME: What misunderstanding? Your night manager made your policy clear.

HER: You contacted Starwood about this --

ME: No.

HER: Something about a forum...

She proceeded to explain that they are in full compliance with Starwood's policies and that they do upgrade to suites but haven't had a suite to upgrade to in six weeks because of a party. When I asked about the suite that was offered for sale, she said she'd check with the night manager.

I then cabbed it over to the Trafalgar, which is supposed to be a W-esque hotel.

I'll do a report on that in the Hilton section. Short version is that W has nothing to worry about ... this is a miss, and below the quality level of the ho-hum W Atlanta ... not even in the same league as W SF or W NY Union Sq.

Good thing from this experience:
Starwood corporate, as usual, shined. Within the time I posted on FT, 9:30 pm London and checkout at 2 pm London, someone from corporate had contacted the hotel. (Thanks Lurker!)

Manager seemed more irked that corporate contacted her than apologetic about what happened. If the hotel had proactively contacted me after hearing from corporate (instead of waiting for me to repeatedly ask), they would have gotten three more nights during this stay.


SUMMARY: Despite the problems, this is still a 4 out of 5* in my book. I will take them at their word about the upgrades and will give them another shot on my next visit.

*5 = St. Regis NYC. 4.5=Phoenician, Venetian, W Union Sq, SRC Essex House, W SF


256 comments and Y review

Hotels you may also be interested in