“ Regents Park, Albany Street, NW1 3UP London, UK, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7391 3000 „
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I have just returned from a weekend break in London - and what a time I had. I had never been to London before and so I was very excited to go to the big city. We went to London as part of a coach tour and so we didn't have a choice regarding the hotel. The hotel which we stayed at was Amelia Whitehouse Hotel London.
As we were going as part of a coach tour, we didn't know which hotel we were staying at until a week or so before we were going (even though we had booked a couple of months previously). So the day before we were due to go, I had a quick look at their website and was impressed. I discovered that the hotel is part of a chain of Spanish hotels (Melia) and that the staff are all Spanish.
~ * Where Is It? * ~
Melia Whitehouse Hotel is located in the centre of London opposite Regent's Park. It is approximately 0.9miles from Oxford Street and 1.3 miles from the West End. The hotel seems to be in a quiet (not very quiet, but quieter than other areas) location yet not too far away from the centre. Whenever we got in a taxi they knew straight away where the hotel was.
~ * First Impressions * ~
Having travelled on coach trips many times before, I was expecting an 'ok-ish' hotel. So when I stepped into this hotel after a 4 hours bus journey, I was amazed by how grand and luxurious the place looked. I actually felt quite scruffy in my jeans and top.
The hotel is very welcoming. They have a massive 'open area' by reception. It is very expensive and grand looking with pillars, shiny floors and expensive ornaments and furniture. The hotel (the rooms too) look very grand and glamorous.
* ~ What Were The Staff Like? * ~
I cannot praise the staff enough. They were brilliant, from the gentlemen on the door, to the receptionists, to the waiters to the housekeeping staff; they were all brilliant. They were all very polite, extremely professional and couldn't do enough for you. They made you feel special.
~ * Rooms * ~
My Sister and I were sharing a room and my parents had a separate room. As we had arrived early, our room wasn't ready, however my parent's room was, so we went and waited in their room. Whilst their room was very grand, it was quite dark and claustrophobic. There was also a door (which you could go through to the adjoining room - this door was locked from the other side though).
When our room was ready, we found that we were the room adjoining our parents (we didn't request this, although we were very happy about this). So if our 'adjoining door' was open and their 'adjoining door' was open, we could go in and out of each others rooms. I liked this because it was as although my sister and I had our own room and our parents had their own, we could still talk to each other and pop in and out of each others rooms - and had a bed, television and bathroom each - so it was better than if we had shared one room.
Even though our room was exactly the same as our parents (but opposite versions) we all agreed that our room was much nicer - it didn't seem so 'dark' and whilst there was similar furniture etc ours looked more cosy - I think it may have been due to the fact that some of the lights in my parent's room weren't working and so it was bit dark.
We were expecting a twin room, however, when we got our keys they told us that the bed was a 'king sized bed' - it was around 5 o clock by now and as we had waited a long time, we said that it would be ok.
The bed turned out to be massive - there was plenty of room - and we were miles apart and so we couldn't tell that we were sharing. The bed was one of the comfiest beds every - very firm but so comfortable, and the pillows were lovely and soft too.
I did find at times that the room was very hot, especially at night, and so we would put the air conditioning on.
There was plenty of space - we had a wardrobe - which was split in two, a massive long desk where the television was - this also included a few drawers and a mini fridge.
The bathroom was small but again quite grand and beautifully decorated. There was a shower and bath; I love having a choice as I like to have a quick shower if I want to get ready quickly, and if I have time to relax I like to have a bed. The bath wasn't huge but it was bigger than most hotel baths. The shower was good - great power too.
There was shampoo, shower gel, soap and even a 'dental kit' - I was quite curious as to what this was - turns out it was a toothbrush and toothpaste.
We had tea and coffee in the room and these were replenished daily.
There was a telephone in the room and even a phone in the bathroom.
I liked the hairdryer as it wasn't one of those where you have to hold your finger down for it to stay on, like the usual ones you get in hotels.
~ * Food * ~
Last year, I travelled to Paris with the same coach company and we stayed at the Mecure hotel in Paris - that hotel looked smart and so I was so disappointed with the breakfast - we had tokens which we had to hand to a waiter to get our breakfast from the buffet - which meant that you couldn't go up again for more and we were placed in a room which resembled an old school canteen (with similar tables and chairs etc).
So, I was expecting the same with this hotel in London.
~ * Breakfast * ~
I was very impressed with the breakfast at this hotel. The restaurant was nice and smart and had a Spanish 'feel' to it. There was a huge amount of food and choice available to eat; cereal, fresh fruit (melon, kiwi fruit, grapes and grapefruit), cooked breakfast (scrambled egg, sausages, beans, mushrooms etc), yoghurts, cheeses, meats, croissants and pastries, dried fruit (bannanas, apricots, papaya, raisins etc), bread rolls and other kinds of bread.
We decided that we would have a 'massive breakfast' on both days, so that it would last us until the afternoon so that we wouldn't have to spend too much on another meal. I had scrambled egg and mushrooms on two pieces of wholemeal toast, bran flakes topped with dried fruit, fresh fruit and a croissant, along with a cup of tea and glass of fresh orange juice.
The food was of a very high standard; it was all fresh and topped right up - there is nothing worse than going to a buffet when they dishes are empty, but these were all full to the top.
You did have to toast your own toast which was annoying, as sometimes there would be a group of people (maybe two or three) or huddled around the toaster, and because you had to put your bread through the toaster a couple of times it was kind of awkward. I think it was the setting of the toaster, although I didn't like to 'alter it' myself.
~ * Dinner * ~
The second night we decided to eat at one of the restaurants at the hotel. There are three restaurants at the hotel, although I only saw two of them. We looked at the Spanish restaurant although as two out of six members of our group are vegetarian (myself included), there was only one vegetarian option which we didn't like the sound of, and so we went to look at the 'Place' restaurant.
The Place restaurant is where we had our breakfast on both days and is located by the entrance of the hotel.
When enquiring at the restaurant in the morning, we were informed that because it was Easter, that evening was going to be a 'Spanish Easter Buffet'. I think that the restaurant is normally a choice between a buffet or a al la carte menu. They informed us that for the special Easter dinner buffet it would cost £28 per person - we didn't mind paying especially as it sounded lovely.
We set off to the restaurant for around 7.30 (we had booked a table for 6). We were greeted by a waiter who showed us to the buffet (this was good as it allowed us to see if we 'liked the look of the food' before making a final decision. We all liked the look of the food and then were shown to our table.
The waiter took our drinks order - all the staff are Spanish and the majority of the staff speak very good English, however this particular waiter seem to struggle a little to understand us. When one of the group members ordered a 'lager' he said 'ok' then when another person order 'lager' he said 'don't have lager'. So we were a bit confused. Eventually it turns out that they did have larger.
We then went to the buffet- there was a lot of choice and it was all very healthy and fresh looking. A lot of it consisted of meat and so us vegetarians had to be 'careful' about what we put on our plates. I had couscous, and sautéed vegetables with salad and bread rolls. So I didn't have a lot and whilst the food was of a very high standard and great style and of high quality, it wasn't really to my taste and so I just filled up on bread rolls. I did like the fact that you could help yourself and go up for more if you wanted, because otherwise if I had ordered something I didn't like, then I wouldn't be able to change it or get more if I liked it.
The restaurant was relaxing and whilst it was a nice restaurant, there didn't seem to be much of an atmosphere - there was only our table and another table in the restaurant - in a way this was good because it meant that we had the 'buffet' pretty much to ourselves.
~ * Anything Bad? * ~
One thing which annoyed us was that when the bill came, we were charged £28 each (my parents treated my sister and I and so they were paying for 4 of us) - between us we had three cokes and a pint of larger - can't remember how much the larger was, but for three cokes is cost £9.30 (so £3.10 per coke).
However, the thing that annoyed us was the fact that they added £16.40 tip to our bill (and £8.20 to my Auntie and Uncles's bill - so they were charging £24.60 in tip). The tip did say 'optional' and when we said that we didn't want to pay the tip then (we would prefer to tip at the end of a stay), the waiter was asking 'why wasn't the service good?' and seemed to think that we didn't want to pay the tip because we hadn't received good service. To be honest, we hadn't received that much of a service; we were shown to our table and given drinks, so why did we have to pay £24.60 when we had to get up and get our own food from the buffet. It just seemed a bit of a cheek. Later on that evening we went to one of the hotel bars where my Auntie and Uncle ordered two vodkas and lemonade - their bill came to £16 including a £2 service charge. Again this seemed a bit ridiculous.
~ * Value For Money * ~
We paid £170 for the coach trip (including a 4 hour there, and 4 hour back journey and 2 nights bed and breakfast (dinner wasn't included). I thought that that was an excellent price to pay.
~ * What Else? * ~
There was a doorman on the door (sometimes two) - they were very smart dressed in top hats etc and would open the door for you every time you entered / exited the hotel. They would also come out to open the car door for us when we were dropped off by a taxi. This was brilliant I thought and made us feel all special.
There was a fitness suite although we didn't use this. I think I read somewhere that the suite was open 24 hours a day, and you could get in by using your room key - that I thought was a good idea.
I was worried that being part of a coach trip, that we would get treated differently to other guests (liked we did at the Mecure Hotel in Paris), although we were treated the same which was lovely.
We had planned on going to the West End to see a theatre show, although rather than pre-book before going, we decided that we would 'see on the day' what we wanted to see and then pay for tickets. However, everywhere we went the tickets were £100+ and we didn't' want to pay that much money. We read in the hotel 'guide book' in the room that the concierge could book anything you wanted (taxies and tickets to attractions). So we decided to ask the concierge - it was late at night and he said that the agency office they had to call wasn't open at night (as it was only open between 9 and 5) and that they would charge 25% extra on top of the ticket prices. So we were put off as we didn't really fancy paying around £150+ each just for a couple of hours of entertainment. So I would recommend buying the tickets online before you go - something we should have done.
Our rooms were on the ground floor and so we kept our curtains closed - we had the lamps on anyway so there was enough lighting in the room.
There were lifts or you could take the stairs.
Room service was available - even between the hours of 11pm and 7am and there were plenty of meal choices available.
All in all I would definitely recommend this hotel!! It was very luxurious and glamorous and we were made to feel very welcome.
Thanks for reading!
I stayed at the Melia White House hotel in June 2008, on my first trip to London. Finding our way from Heathrow T5 to the hotel, negotiating the underground, was surprisingly easy, as the hotel is situated within 5 minutes walk of Great Portland St underground station, just outside leafy Regents Park.
The hotel may not look a lot from the exterior, however step inside and the reception is bright, airy and spacious. The reception area is immaculate and covered in marble, and expensive looking antiques.
We were booked into a standard room, without breakfast, but upgraded at reception to a Level room. This is the second top type of room, where your room is slightly upgraded with a small sitting area, however the main benefit is that you gain access to the private area for The Level guests. This private lounge area serves soft drinks and snacks throughout the day for free, with complimentary alcoholic drinks and tapas served from 6pm. A complimentary continental or English breakfast is also available in the Lounge. The upgrade also entitles guests to 10% off in the two main restuarants.
The upgrade cost just £60 a night, which was quite reasonable given the additional services available.
The room wasn't massive, but had everything we needed, a queen size bed, large wardrobe, iron and ironing board, TV, sitting area, trouser press and a very impressive art-deco style bathroom. The room was kept immaculate, and was services daily to a very high standard.
As I said, the hotel is in the Regents Park area of London, and is just a few minutes walk to the actual park. Oxford St was approx 10/15 minutes walk away, and there were 3 underground stations nearby, on different lines, making it very handy to get around London.
The White House hotel is a Melia brand hotel, a brand you are probably familar with if you've ever been to Spain, being part of Sol Melia.
A drawback to the hotel was that, as a Spanish hotel, all the staff were Spanish, and while in general, the staff spoke good English, there were some language problems, especially over the telephone. However these were all easily rectified, but if you do stay at this hotel, if you need anything, I would go straight to reception rather than try to phone.
Originally the private apartments of prominent socialites, the Meliá White House was one of the London's most desirable and exclusive addresses. Now, as then, its reputation flourishes and it is now a leading four-star deluxe Sol Meliá property in the UK capital.