I was having a bank holiday weekend away to london to visit a show at the O2 arena and decided it would be best to get a hotel in the nearby Canary Wharf and get the connecting tube straight to the 02. I first dried lastminute.com but the prices were horrific then on laterooms.com I stumbled across the Hilton at Canary Wharf for an amazingly cheap price ....
What I booked
I was offered a double room for one night for myself and boyfriend with breakfast included. This was during April bank holiday 2009 and cost us ...... £27 in total !!! Not each, not for food for everything! I was so amazed and booked it immediately. Although i have never stayed in a Hilton hotel prior to booking, I always associated it with high standards and good quality. A little posh treat! Although I did grumble at putting more money into the wreckless hands of Paris Hilton, I thought, stuff her, lets give us a treat!
The hotel is situated on the river banks and was less than a 5 minute walk from Canary Wharf Tube Station. There is a smaller tube station right outside, which is great for transport and I was so surprised that I could not hear it from my room. There are always taxi's outside which is handy as my tube to the O2 wasn;t running because it was a bank holiday, so due check if you are wanting to get to the O2 on a bank holiday as other locations may be better suited to your travel plans. Overall a nice location, I enjoyed walking by the river and therre is a shopping centre on the other side of the river which is fab. We went to Wagamama's for tea and did a bit of shopping too. It is in short distance of anything you may need. It did take about 30 mins to find as I forgot my map!
When we arrived check in was dead simple. I just quoted my name and reception were very friendly and quick. I got my key and was told where my room was. The reception was nect to a down stairs bar and restaurant. It was clean, well presented and very pleasant. We took a lift to our room which was on a corridor that had it's own water and ice machine.
When I opened my hotel room door I was amazed. We had a very decent sized well presented bathroom complete with designer toiletries a shower and bath and toilet. It was similar to what I have had in 4 and 5 star hotels.
The main room was well decorated and had a huge bed, wardrobe space, desk, flat screen tv, kettle and drinks and mini fridge. When I turned the TV on it even said 'welcome sarah-jane and luke to the hilton canary wharf' it was such a ncie touch. the bed was so comfortable and the room equal to a 4/5 star.
Breakfast was held downstairs in the restaurant and usually costs £15 per person but ours was included in the total. There was everything I could of wished for. A variety of fresh juices, coffee, tea and water. A hot selection of food (meats, vegetarian substitutes, eggs, toast, beans etc), a large choice of cereals, wonderfully fresh and exotic fruit, pasteries, you name it, it was there!
Overall I had a wonderful time. There was lots of little touches that made it special, such as the nice selection of twinings fruit teas in my room, to the designer toiletries, superb breakfast, welcome on tv screen or immaculate room. We weren't distrubed by any outside noise at all (my boyfriend is a very light sleeper). The hotel had a great location, was easy to get to and from there and was such an amazing price. I would certainly go back.
** Good Old Hilton - Always Dependable **
It's hard to go wrong with a Hilton. The chain seems to stand for a solid dependability that's very comforting and reassuring (except for Paris Hilton, she's a different matter entirely). But there's a different side to Hilton in the new Millenium; a funkier and more cutting edge design-led image that's quite unlike their 1980s and 1990s incarnation. I've been staying in Hiltons for about 20 years and I rarely regret it but there's a clear difference between their 'revamped' older hotels and their made-to-measure newbies. When you find a Hilton where everything is as it was designed to be and not where they've modified something older and tried to 'funk it up' a bit you can really tell the difference. The perfect example of this (if you can't be bothered to go to Kuala Lumpur to their Asian flagship hotel which is a stunning experience) is to check out the Hilton in Canary Wharf.
Canary Wharf is not like 'real' London so if you are looking for the old world charms of the city and your mental image is based on scenes from Mary Poppins and Oliver Twist, this isn't the place for you. This is London's area of ultra-modern high-rise living and working, built on what were once rough areas of the docklands that were so unattractive that I'm sure I once read that Stanley Kubrick used some of the derelict areas in the nearby Isle of Dogs as sets in one of his Vietnam films. Today Canary Wharf is all shiny glass, metal and concrete with one of the most spectacular Underground stations in London.
** Nice hotel if you can find it **
I thought it would be easy to find. It's called Hilton Canary Wharf so I'd go to Canary Wharf station, step out of the station, look up and spot the big blue H and head for it. Seemed logical but I got it wrong. I'd rather underestimated the impact of quite so many tall buildings in a relatively small space and despite a good hunt, I couldn't find the hotel. So I rang my colleague who'd arrived just before me, she put the receptionist on the phone and the receptionist tried to explain where to go. It should have been easy but London hotels seem to pick their receptionists for something other than their language skills. After asking the third time, I'd worked out that I had to go left but the rest of the route was just a blur. I pointed myself in roughly the right direction and went on the hunt.
My mistake, it turned out, was going to the wrong Underground station. I needed South Quay station on the Docklands Light Railway instead of Canary Wharf. South Quay station is actually linked directly to the hotel.
** A Classy Reception **
When I finally arrived at the hotel, a bit hot and bothered after dragging my case round the docklands, I was really impressed by what I found. Reception was very classy with a large light marble counter and a wall of rusty slates as a backdrop. The lifts were just across the lobby from the reception and despite being a tall building, there were always enough lifts available quickly. It can be really frustrating if you stay in a multi-storey and have to wait five minutes for a lift to come. Passing by the lifts, there are some nice long leather banquettes and some wooden tables with strange cubic stools to sit on. The rusty slate wall decoration continues along through this area until you reach the Cinnamon restaurant and bar where there's lots of bright limegreen glass, leather seating and glass café tables.
Breakfast is served in the Cinnamon every morning and the spread is second to none. Don't forget to ask if you want a cappuccino or any other special coffee and the staff rush off and get them for you.
** Home Sweet Home **
With the public spaces all so nice, there's always the fear that the rooms might let a hotel down. I headed up to my room expecting that since I was in London it would be small and poky but nothing could have been further from the truth. My room was enormous. I suspected at the time that maybe we'd negotiated upgrades since we had so many people booked in, but when I checked afterwards these really were the standard rooms.
The bed was enormous and dressed in crisp white cotton with a cosy bedspread. The curtains were a strange sort of crushed velvet. There was a very funky arm chair with a glass coffee table, a massive work desk with plenty of space and a choice of wired or wireless internet, a lovely big flat-screen television and lots of rather stylish lamps and other lighting. The minibar was stocked with overpriced goodies, the bathroom was stylish and spotlessly clean and the Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries were immediately identified as good enough to take home.
The hotel had a lot of facilities that I didn't need and didn't use including a gym, a spa and a business centre. On my first day we met up in one of the meeting rooms near the business centre. The room was fine, the audio visuals all worked but the buffet was a bit disappointing and we really struggled to get any hot coffee.
** Handy for?????**
I was staying at the hotel as part of a large group using it as a base for going to the Excel exhibition centre. Getting around London can be a nightmare and we were all going to be on our feet all day long so we didn't want to be in central London with a long journey to get to Excel every day. Taxis took about 15 minutes and the Docklands Light Railway could get us there in a similar time, though not necessarily much more cheaply if we put 4 people in each taxi.
On our first night we found plenty of options for eating out around Canary Wharf and didn't need to venture too far away and on the second night I took advantage of the proximity of the DLR station to pop into town and meet a friend and fellow dooyoo member for dinner. As someone who grew up in a small town I still find being in London on my own at night a bit intimidating but I wasn't worried to travel alone around the hotel.
** Hot or not? **
Before this visit, I wouldn't have considered staying in Canary Wharf if I had to go to London and if I were going under my own steam, I wouldn't be able to afford to stay at the Hilton on its standard prices. I believe we paid about £175 per night but they do often run off-peak deals that are very affordable and I'd consider it as a serious option if I could get a really good deal. The proximity of the DLR on one side and the main Underground just a few minutes the other way, makes this a more viable option than it's location might seem if just viewed on a map.
Location: close to Tower of London, within close proximity of Emirates Air Line Greenwich Peninsula Station and Cutty Sark / Location: close to Tower of London, within close proximity of Emirates Air Line Greenwich Peninsula Station and Cutty Sark / Number and type of rooms: 282 air-conditioned rooms featuring minibars and plasma televisions. Satellite programming provides entertainment, and wired and wireless Internet access is available for a surcharge. Private bathrooms have complimentary toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include direct-dial phones, as well as safes and desks / Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities: Be sure to enjoy recreational amenities, including a health club, a sauna, and a steam room. Additional amenities include wireless Internet access (surcharge), concierge services, and babysitting/childcare / Dining: Grab a bite to eat at the hotel's restaurant, which features a bar, or stay in and take advantage of 24-hour room service. Quench your thirst with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge. Breakfast is available for a fee / Business, Other Amenities: high-speed (wired) Internet access (surcharge), audiovisual equipment, and currency exchange. Event facilities at this hotel consist of banquet facilities and a meeting/conference room. Parking (subject to charges) is available onsite.