“ Address: 146 Praed Street / London W2 1EE / UK / Tel: 0207 850 0500 „
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I recently had a one night stay at the Hilton, Paddington in London, it was a celebratory weekend with 3 ladies I have been friends with since primary school. We had all turned 40 the year before but this was our first opportunity to celebrate together. As this was a special occasion we thought we would come to London for the weekend and have a real treat, somewhere nice to stay, some shopping, eating and drinking and more shopping. Hence we decided to book a suite at the Hilton, it was the most convenient for us as we were flying into Heathrow and also we were meeting up with a friend who was travelling to London by train. We booked our suite for Saturday 26th June 2010. We specifically wanted a suite as it advised online that there were suites that would sleep four adults.
I have to say that getting to the Paddington Hilton was a breeze, we literally flew into Heathrow, got the Heathrow express to Paddington and walked about 4 minutes through Paddington station and into the hotel just off the concourse. The hotel has its own direct entrance/exit from the station and it was so simple to get to, this was very important for four women travelling to the big city for a visit.
Our first impression of the hotel was very good, we arrived from the Paddington station entrance which is at the back of the hotel so we walked through the bar area and found a table to sit at to wait for our friend. The bar area was pleasant, clean and the seating was comfortable. We ordered some drinks, which were a bit slow to be brought to the table, we then waited as our check-in time was 3.00pm, which was about 45 minutes to wait. At 3.00pm we went to the reception desk at the front of the hotel. The front entrance is very pleasing, there is a revolving door and a concierge desk to the left of the entrance and the reception to the right, the whole reception area is bright and spacious and appeared well maintained.
The suite had been booked online and we had brought the confirmation email with us, however when we got to the desk we were told the suite was not ready and we would have to wait a little while, that was it no apology, no offer of refreshment, nothing we would just have to wait. We waited half an hour and then went back to reception to be told the suite still was not ready but we could wait in the executive bar. At this point we did express our displeasure, we had travelled far and would like our room to get ready in as we were on a short visit and time was precious. We requested the duty manager, who eventually arrived after we had sat in the executive lounge, we did ask for a complimentary drink and were given one alcoholic drink each. The room still was not ready and we were told it was taking longer than expected because it "was very dirty"!
Eventually at 4.10pm we got the room passes and we went up to the suite. We purposely asked for a suite so as we could all be together and it was be a bit more luxurious than the other rooms, however it was a bit disappointing. We entered the suite, it consisted of a bedroom, bathroom, hallway and dining room with a very large table. In the bedroom there were 2 single beds side by side a put up bed on the floor and the fourth bed was in the dining room on its own. To be honest we were a bit gob smacked as the room was a bit of a let down. We had booked a suite for 1 night and the tariff was £400 before taxes, so it was not a cheap room. I went to the reception desk to complain to the duty manager, who was very unhelpful and not at all accommodating, we didn't expect the beds to be temporary beds and we didn't expect one of them to be just abandoned in the dining room, this was not how the suite was portrayed on the internet and was not at all what we were expecting. The duty manager was unable to offer us any solutions until one of my party asked for the fourth bed to be moved into the main bedroom with the others, this was done when we were out for the evening and whilst it ensured we were together it was done begrudgingly. The 2 put up beds weren't really acceptable for adults, they would have been fine for small children but not adults.
The hotel does look reasonable inside and the carpets and fittings are gold and red and look decent, there are many art deco features and it is pleasing in appearance. The executive lounge area, which you have access to if you book a suite, was ok if a bit small, nothing special you also have complimentary soft drinks up to 7.00pm, it is a bit like an airline's executive or business class lounge. We did use the toilets when we were in the bar area and they were clean with a good supply of soap etc.
The bathroom in the suite was a good size, it had a toilet, separate walk-in shower and a large vanity area, no bath, it had good lighting and was well stocked with toiletries. There is also a separate toilet with wash basin just off the dining room at the back of the suite. The dining area just seemed completely pointless, it had a very large table and a television, it was not at all comfortable and wouldn't be somewhere you would sit to relax, and it was more like a meeting room. The suite had air conditioning, which was very noisy during the night, but we couldn't figure out how to adjust it or turn it off.
The main bedroom was large and would have been fine for a couple, but was not really suited as a family bedroom or room to sleep more than 2 people. As well as the bed there was decent storage and a television, there were large windows but we couldn't figure out how to open them. There was a mirrored bar area just off the hallway with kettle, cups, coffee, tea etc, there was also a minibar but the prices were very expensive and we didn't use this. When we arrived in the room there was complimentary fruit and some water, but considering the suite was booked for four adults there was only 2 small bottles of water left for us.
We did not eat in the hotel restaurant, instead we went to an Italian restaurant in the area. The nightlife seemed quite bustling and there were plenty of places to eat and drink located nearby. After we had finished our meal we returned to the hotel and went into the hotel nightclub, as we were residents in the hotel we did not have to pay an entrance fee. We had a few cocktails in the nightclub but did not stay very late, there appeared to be a DJ box but I'm not sure what time the DJ started. The nightclub looked ok, it was dark but there were not too many people in it when we were there around midnight.
Because we had booked a suite we were entitled to breakfast in the executive lounge in the morning. The breakfast was fine, buffet style. There was a selection of cooked and non-cooked, plenty of fruit and cereal and continental breakfast items such as cheese, hams, yoghurt etc. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and juices were on tap from machines. We enjoyed the breakfast and we had our fill before we left for the day. Check out was 12.00 and was easier than the check-in, we were able to leave our bags at the concierge's desk during the day and collect them again later before we boarded the train back to Heathrow.
The suite was clean enough and perhaps the best feature was the bathroom, the shower was very good. We didn't have dinner in the hotel, so I don't know what the restaurant service was like. However the biggest disappointment for us was the customer service, we found the reception staff to be very unhelpful and there was definitely a language barrier. There was no effort made to ensure our room was what we needed or had indeed booked.
Overall the hotel was alright, nothing special, probably 4 stars from an accommodation perspective but the customer service was very poor. Everything seemed slow and the staff were disinterested, the hotel has an excellent location for travelling throughout London and it would take very little effort to ensure visitors had an enjoyable stay. It is not somewhere we will stay again, too pricey for the standard of service. We are visiting London at the end of September for 2 nights and will definitely be looking to stay elsewhere.
More information on the Hilton group of hotels can be found at www.hilton.com and specific information on the Hilton Paddington can be found at www.hilton.co.uk/paddington we had no problems with booking directly through the website, but if you have particular requirements it maybe better to contact the hotel directly by telephone. All in all the hotel was just ok, and I would stay there again but with lowered expectations, I did think it was expensive for the one night but it was very convenient for accessing the city and getting to and from Heathrow.
Also on Ciao.