Address: 17 / 18 Upper Woburn Region
London / WC1H 0HT „
The Euston Plaza hotel was opened in 1991 and is part of the London Plaza Hotel chain. The hotel occupies three floors of Georgian Terraces in the Bloomsbury district of the West End. The décor is (apparently) of Swedish design, with tasteful colourings and classical music piped through all the corridors and hallways. The hotel has a very relaxing ambience, despite the bustle of the street outside.
The hotel is well placed in the West End of London, within five minutes' walking distance of Euston station, and a short taxi ride from King's Cross or St Pancras. The nearest tube station is Euston, and the road on which the hotel is placed is well served by a number of bus services. The hotel is a perfect location for any type of visit. For the shoppers, Oxford Street is nearby, and a number of tourist attractions are close by too, including Regent's Park. By road, the hotel can be reached by using the A40, but guests arriving by air will most likely find one of the Rail Air link bus services the easiest way to get there.
The hotel has 150 bedrooms, all of which are en-suite. Guest bedrooms range in size - single, twin, double and king size rooms are all available, at differing rates. The range of facilities in the standard rooms includes:
· Comfortable orthopaedic beds
· Satellite TV and pay movies
· Trouser Press
· Hair Dryer
· Phones/Data Sockets
The standard rooms are well sized, although in spite of the hotel's relative youth, surprisingly shabby. I stayed in one room, for instance, where a battered old sofa bed was in such a bad state of repair that the cushions kept falling off, and the marble work in the bathroom was badly cracked. That aside, I must say that the bed was VERY comfortable, and the room was large enough to contain a sofa, table, chairs, desk and wardrobe. An added benefit was the size of the bed - easily big enough for three (if that's what floats your boat...)
All the rooms are air-conditioned - and I'm pleased to say that the air conditioning units are quiet enough not to disturb at night. Unlike many hotels, the bedroom windows can also be opened for a gust of "real" air. The rooms are well sound-proofed - you can't hear the music playing in the corridor when you have the door closed, although the floors creak dreadfully, and I'm sure could be heard below if you had children or elephants with you. The traffic noise from Upper Woburn Place is noticeable, but not disruptive.
50 of the rooms are deluxe executive rooms, and include separate lounges, original oil paintings (whoopee) and spa baths - but you may wish to refer to the pricing details further on before you take this decision.
The Plaza has a relatively comprehensive range of guest facilities. The hotel bar (Erik's Bar) is particularly welcoming of a cold evening, with very comfy seats and a cosy ambience. The bar stays open until the early hours, so you need not venture from the hotel unless you want to. There are also two dining areas. The Three Crowns restaurant is a more formal dining room, with a selection of meals for lunch or dinner and a considerable wine list. The range of food on the menu was not exhaustive and the restaurant is not particularly busy. The Terrace is a garden style conservatory, which offers a menu of light snacks and lunches for people who want slightly quicker service - this certainly seems the more popular option. Food prices are quite high - expect to pay at least £30 for two courses and a drink.
Room service is available 24 hours a day and (when you can finally get through to place an order) was very prompt - my food orders arrived within 10 or 15 minutes - but I would urge caution around ordering breakfast via room service. When mine arrived, it was congealed, where it had obviously been stored on a hot plate for some time, and was rather unappetising - certainly not worth the £14.95 price tag. The room service personnel were rather dour faced and miserable, their unhappiness only increased further by my demands that they supply me with a second, more edible breakfast.
The hotel has its own (rather pretentious) health and leisure club, complete with solarium, gym equipment and separate sex saunas (where's the fun in that eh?). This is not the sort of place to turn up in a pair of old shorts and beaten up Reeboks. My advice would be to stay well clear unless you like keeping up with the natives.
The hotel has considerable conference facilities, with five function rooms offering capacity of up to 200 people. Despite the hotel's professional attitude to hosting, Central London is economically a poor choice for a conference and I would be surprised if many companies would pay the hotel's rates.
Leave plenty of time for checking in and out. Despite the fact that there are normally two reception staff on duty, the checking in process is time consuming. The receptionists' grasp of English can be quite ropy, and it would certainly be quicker to work out where the lifts are and tell them myself. During one check in, I was actually checked in to someone else's room and you can imagine my surprise at finding explicit notes on the bed. A spurious apology from the front desk followed, with an offer to upgrade to an executive room as an apology but the incompetence was worrying nonetheless.
Checkout is similarly slow, especially as no Express Checkout service is made available, which would have been useful. On one occasion, I was charged a room rate £30 in excess of what my travel agent had agreed and the debate that followed was complicated and led to further delays. The reception staff members were always polite, courteous and helpful however, so the process was not as tense as it could have been.
Standard rooms range from £159 per night up to £189. Executive room rates range from £199 up to £239, according to the time and duration of your stay. Discounted rates are generally available through lastminute.com, although check the prices quoted, as very often they will exclude VAT. The best midweek rate I have ever found was £99 and this was booked through Hogg Robinson.
Overall, it's a thumbs down I'm afraid. The Euston Plaza is classic evidence of a badly managed hotel, with incompetent working practices, poor quality food and uninspiring staff members. Although the Plaza opened in 1991, it seems evident that the building was formerly used as a hotel anyway and that the fittings were not really upgraded during the refit. This is strictly one for the "when there's nothing else left" list of London hotels.