Detailed review by bluejules
Northumberland, United Kingdom
In October, I went to London with my parents to meet my MP as part of a mass mobilisation of Parliament (raising awareness of the importance of Speech and Language Therapy) and the RCSLT Giving Voice Awards Ceremony. We wanted a hotel that was in central London as I knew there wouldn’t be much time between meeting with my MP and getting ready to head back out for the evening Gala Dinner and Awards. My dad booked the flights well in advance but still hadn’t booked a hotel with only a couple of weeks to go so my mam decided to look online and found us this 4 star hotel for 2 nights. Having stayed in a Crowne Plaza previously I was pleased with this choice of hotel and couldn’t wait to get to London!
This review is based on three adults staying in a suite for two nights in October 2011.
We got the tube from Heathrow Airport, changed at Hammersmith and got off at St James’ Park. It was then less than a five minute walk to the hotel. Check-in was quick and the reception staff friendly. The lady presented us with our 3 key cards and told us how to find the lifts and our room.
The reception area was large and clean, with seating areas and plenty of staff on hand to ask for assistance. There was a concierge desk and all the staff here were really friendly and provided accurate information about local attractions, how to get there etc.
Once checked in, we made our way to the lifts in the hotel lobby. When we got there my mam said to me ‘that man looked like David Hasselhoff!’ We didn’t think anything of it until a minute later he joined us in waiting for the lift. I agreed with my mam that the man did indeed look identical to David Hasselhoff, and I let her know this via a little non-verbal communication (a discreet smile and a nod!). By this time I really wanted to hear his voice to establish if he was a lookalike or actually The Hoff. He got in the lift with us and just as we were going to ask him which floor he was going to he pressed the number himself (2, for anyone who is interested!) My dad said 'hello' as we got in the lift, and Mr Hasselhoff's 'hello' back confirmed his accent!!
I couldn’t help but look at the man in the lift, and then back at my mam. He smiled at us and I think he knew that we recognised him. He opened his room key card, as he smiled, and my mam and I saw that next to ‘customer name’ read: ‘Mr Hasselhoff’ we looked at each other as if to say ‘I knew it!’ and my mam said ‘you are aren’t you?’ (yes mam, he is (The Hoff), but he can’t read your mind!) (My mam is mortified that she hadn’t thought of something more sensible to say, but it was just such a surreal moment, and I seemed to have lost my tongue completely! So I’m just glad she actually said something at all. I just stood there smiling!)
The Hoff smiled at us and asked us where we were from, and we had a brief conversation. He told us he was going to his room to sleep and when we asked what he was doing in London he said ‘lots of things, you’ll see me all over.’ Sadly at this point he got out the lift and we didn’t see him again. It all happened so quickly (from ground floor to level 2) that I didn’t even have time to ask for a photo.
As previously mentioned, we booked a suite. This was amazing, but probably bigger than we needed for our 2 night stay. That said, it was truly fantastic getting ready to go the gala dinner in such a posh room and made the whole experience even more special!
Our room was located in the corner of the corridor and we let ourselves in easily with one of the key cards. Straight opposite the door was a sitting room, with 2 chairs, a sofa, a coffee table and a TV and minibar. This ended up being where we asked them to put my bed which meant that I was able to have my ‘own’ room whilst staying with my parents.
There was a short passage into the main bedroom where there was a queen size bed and a walk in wardrobe. Around the corner from the bed was a desk and a dressing table as well as a chaise longue (which look slightly worn). There was also a TV in the main bedroom.
Tea and coffee making facilities were also found in the main bedroom, and although initially only two cups, when we asked they provided a third one with extra milk and biscuits.
The bathroom was lovely, and especially large. It provided everything we needed for our stay. There were two sinks with a large mirror in front of them both. The bath and shower were separate, meaning someone could have a bath at the same time as someone was in the shower cubicle should they wish. I couldn’t help thinking what a brilliant bathroom it would be for when I go on holiday with my two cousins, as there is more than enough space for three people to get ready to go out in the bathroom!
The shower was good; powerful and hot. Plenty towels were provided with fresh ones each day if required. I didn’t use the bath but my mam did and said it was suitable, if slightly too large.
Breakfast was included in the price of our room and there was a good selection of hot and cold food. The waiting staff showed us to a table and asked if we would like tea or coffee and toast. Both mornings we asked for all of these and they arrived fairly promptly. The cooked breakfast was nice with a good selection of food. There was the usual selection of breakfast foods that you see at buffet breakfasts which was all good quality and tasty.
Check out was simple and the staff friendly. We did not have any problems with checking out. We left our bags in our room and a member of staff collected them and stored them for us until we came back later to collect them (our flight wasn’t until the evening).
Location and Surroundings
I’ve only visited London a few times but this has ended up being twice in the same year! When I visited London last February we stayed near King’s Cross, so always had to plan ahead if we wanted to sightsee. This hotel was the perfect location for what we wanted for our particular trip in October as I knew I needed to be near the Houses of Parliament and Church House Conference Centre (for the awards ceremony) and this proved perfect! A couple of minute walk to the left of the hotel sees you arrive at Buckingham Palace and the same to the right is the heart of Westminster. We went to the theatre on the Monday night (the hotel hailed a cab for us). We decided to walk back to the hotel as it was only a 10 minute taxi ride and the weather was mild. It took us about 45 minutes to walk but wasn’t unpleasant, and we passed Buckingham Palace (signalling we were almost back!).
Prices vary depending on room type and when you stay but a double room for 2 adults on a week night at the end of January starts from £119 per night (I searched this on 8th January 2012), so it would be worth checking a number of dates etc to suit your needs.
The hotel has a number of restaurants and a spa. We did not use any of these so I cannot comment on them. The hotel has a total of 8 floors, 340 rooms and 21 suites. The staff speak a large number of languages (see website for more details).
Check out: 12noon
Check in: 2pm
Before our stay, my dad contacted the concierge via email asking if the hotel has a hairdressers onsite as I wanted to get my hair put up for the Gala Dinner. They emailed back promptly saying that they didn’t but would recommend the hairdressers next door. On the Monday, we went in and enquired about getting my hair put up the following day. I made an appointment (even though it was expensive) as I wanted the Gala Dinner to be perfect! The hairdresser was very friendly and I think the hotel made a good recommendation. (It cost £45 to get my hair put up, which is probably £20 more than I would pay for the same style at my local hairdresser)
Friendly and knowledgeable staff
Chaise longue was a little worn
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at this fantastic hotel. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in a number of good hotels over the years and this one compares very well. The staff are attentive, friendly and knowledgeable, the room was spacious and comfortable and breakfast was nice. Although expensive, I would recommend this hotel as it’s luxurious and is located in central London, within easy walking distance of Westminster and Buckingham Palace. I would happily stay in this hotel again, however, due to the cost it would need to be for a special occasion, as I’m sure there are other suitable hotels more budget friendly.
If it’s good enough for The Hoff :-)
Thoroughly recommended! Thanks for reading!
Crowne Plaza London St James