“ Address: Old Park Lane / London / W1K 1LB / England „
= Background =
On the 31st August 2009, my wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary which is no mean feat. In celebration of this milestone I decided to take the lovely Mrs L away to London for a short, luxurious break in one of London's classiest hotels. Being short on cash I looked around for what was available with my Airmiles fund and with the aid of my six and eight year old sons we decided Mrs L would probably like the Metropolitan.
= Overview & Appearance =
Nestled next to the concrete monstrosity that is the Hilton on Park Lane and overlooking Hyde Park is a much smaller (only ten floors!) building containing both trendy nightspot the Met Bar and the Michelin-starred Nobu restaurant in addition to 153 guest rooms and suites. Although rather simple looking from the outside, upon entering through the rotating door you suddenly realise that you are in for something of a treat.
Reception is staffed by young Armani-suited persons who could not do enough to help. Mrs L and I arrived an hour before check-in (usually 2pm) and without any fuss at all were immediately upgraded to a more luxurious Metropolitan room. The helpful receptionist talked through the breakfast which was included as part of the Airmiles deal, took a swipe of my credit card in case of "incidentals" and then led us up in the lift to our room on the 6th floor. I felt this was a really nice touch because we were not "fobbed off" upon some poor soul to carry our bags. The lady then showed us the rooms amenities and explained a few more details about the minibar, phones and the like before leaving us to get settled.
The enormous windows at the end of our room afforded us a view of the Hilton next door as well as across Park Lane and into the park opposite. The bed was enormous, bigger than anything I have ever seen before and supremely comfortable with the softest pillows I have ever had the pleasure of resting my head upon. The muted whites, beiges and light brown wood contrasted perfectly with the purple carpet giving the room a clean, sharp look which appealed to my sense of aesthetics. The room also came equipped with a huge desk, a comfortable built-in sofa in front of the window, a giant built-in wardrobe, a large white LCD TV and a Bose iPod speaker dock.
The marble-clad bathroom featured a toilet, handbasin and bath (as you would expect!) and was wonderfully perfumed by the Como Shambala toiletries.
Further investigation of the wardrobe revealed a pair of giant egyptian cotton bathrobes, a pair of monogrammed slippers each, an umbrella and a safe. On the desk was a large ringbinder with details of room service, useful numbers and tourist type information for the super-rich (Graff jewellers, Harrods international export etc etc).
It also quickly became apparent that as well as the room being designed in tasteful complimentary light colours, nearly everything in the room bore an "M" monogram; slippers, duvet, bathrobes, towels, napkins, pencils, writing paper - you name it, it was monogrammed.
After poking around the room, giggling like little kiddies because we knew that we were well and truly out of our league, Mrs L and I went out for dinner and a show in the West End.
After walking back from Covent Garden (quite a walk down Picadilly) we arrived back around half-past eleven and retired to our room for the evening, shunning the Met Bar in favour of sleep and knowing that although all guests at the Metropolitan get access to the fabled haunt of A-list celebs we probably were not cool enough and certainly not rich enough to fit in! Back on the sixth floor we found that housekeeping had been in to "turn down" our bed; the lights were on, the blinds and curtains drawn, the pillows plumped, the duvet artistically arranged and our little slippers had been laid out beside the bed on little monogrammed mats. Again we giggled like little kids!
Shortly after midnight our neighbours returned and decided that that was an ideal time to try out the in-room entertainment system. Common sense prevailed upon them after a few minutes however and the room returned to silence without me having to ring down to Reception which was nice.
= Breakfast =
Breakfast is not usually included in the room price, although when booking through Airmiles you are given a £26 per head "allowance". Because The Metropolitan is extremely trendy, so too is the menu offering healthy alternatives to the full English breakfast we had. Breakfast costs from £20 to £26 per head with increasing volumes of food included as the prices grow. The full English comprised toast (your choice of white, wholemeal or a mix of both), a selection of jams, honeys and butter, cereal, sausages, eggs (again cooked to your exact specifications), bacon, fruit juice of your choice (we both opted for passionfruit), coffee or tea and a selection of patisserie type items like croissants and pain au chocolat.
Breakfast can be taken in "The White Room" or in your room at no extra charge so long as you have completed the order form and hung it outside your door before 3am. Being that we were "living it up" we opted for room service which induced another round of giggling as we let the waiter in clad in our oversized bathrobes.
= Checkout =
As with check-in everything was smooth and efficient with the staff again demonstrating excellent customer service. Because we had paid for everything up front the staff quickly checked our bill and even offered to remove the optional service charge for the breakfast room service which again was a really nice touch - most places I have stayed in the past would have just "forgotten" to mention that detail. As we turned to leave the staff asked if we were headed straight home and, when I stated we were spending the day in town, they offered (unprompted) to look after our luggage which was another really nice touch. The staff were really good when we returned nearly ten hours later to collect the bag!
== Pros ==
- Fantastic service
- Lovely clean room
- Excellent attention to detail
- Brilliant breakfast
- Free room upgrade
- One of London's trendiest spots
- Wonderful smelling toiletries
= The Cons =
- Probably won't ever be able to afford to go back!
- Probably won't be able to convince Mrs L to stay in a flea-pit again!
= Other Stuff =
As mentioned before my booking was made through Airmiles in a combination of points and cash. The Metropolitan rooms normally cost £475 excluding breakfast but I was able to get mine for £70. Breakfast was included but normally costs between £20 and £26 each.
In the basement of the hotel is a gym and spa neither of which we made use of. Like room service, spa treatments are available 24 hours a day although you will probably need to pre-book your deep tissue massage if you want it at 3.30am.
The Metropolitan offers a 24-hour room service with an extensive menu of yummy sounding food and costly drink (Cristal Rose champagne at £1000 per bottle anyone?). Remember that room service attracts a service charge although Reception are quite happy to remove these at check-out.
The Met Bar downstairs is one of London's hottest nightspots and attracts all kinds of celebrities. This does mean that the hotel may attract trendy hangers-on although we were fortunate to avoid both. All guests at the Metropolitan get access to the Bar.
The Nobu restaurant is often booked up months in advance although I have heard of people wangling tables through the Concierge. Co-owned by Robert De Niro and with a Michelin-starred chef, guarantees a pricey meal however so Mrs L and I skipped it.
= Conclusion =
Mrs L had always wanted to stay in a 5* hotel and even with Airmiles the Ritz was well out of my price range. That said, we had a great stay, loved every minute of our A-list lifestyle and have taken a whole load of fond memories away from the experience.
We would both love to do it all over again and would _strongly_ recommend the Metropolitan for anyone looking for stylish, five star luxury and top class service.
= Useful Links & Numbers =
The official Metropolitan hotel website (accurate pictures throughout) which allows for direct bookings: http://www.metropolitan.london.como.bz/stay
Airmiles - www.airmiles.co.uk
© ben-lloyd 2009. This review appears on other websites under the same user name.