The Trafalgar (Hilton) review
You can generally tell whether you're going to like a place within the first two minutes; and it took me even less than that for The Trafalgar Hilton -- I liked it as soon as I clapped eyes on the front door. This hotel is situated on one corner of Trafalgar Square (I can see into Canada House from my bedroom window). So it's literally sixty seconds to the National Gallery and five minutes from Big Ben. If you want a good location then you can't get any better than that -- it's perfect.
I always thought that Hilton hotels were 5-star but it turns out that this place is only a four. It still feels like a 5-star when you step inside though. It's what I would call an 'arty' hotel, rather than a cosy one -- full of mood lighting and six-foot blonde birds behind the desk. All the staff are super smart and say hello to everyone they meet -- even me. I was staying at a Mercure last week (another 4-star hotel) and the difference is like night and day. That place was a 3-star masquerading as a four, whereas this place is a 4-star that should be a five. The price I paid was practically identical, but that one was overlooking the traffic in Paddington whilst this one is two minutes from Downing Street. So it just goes to show you that you shouldn't put too much faith in the star-ratings because they don't tell you the whole story.
The bedroom is quite large with a sitting area and a desk, plus a big bathroom and a bath. You even get a set of scales to stand on (I stood on it, but I'm not telling you how much I weigh -- I think they must be broken anyway because the number is in triple figures). You also get a widescreen TV with a DVD player, minibar and safe, plus an ironing board and an iron, and something called a shoe mitt (I haven't got a clue what this is).
But how many teabags do you get? That is what we all want to know.
Well they have been super generous... they give you more tea than I can drink in a day. You get eight teabags (but two of them are peppermint, so they don't count), plus three coffees, two hot chocolates and six milks. And two biscuits. And one of the biscuits is banana flavour. (Have you ever heard of a banana flavoured biscuit? -- I told you it was an arty hotel.)
I always like to price up the minibar so you can see how much of a rip-off it is. All hotel minibars are expensive -- that is just the way of the world. Anyone who drinks the minibar dry is a mug because they know we'll be sitting in our rooms at midnight listening to the clock ticking quicker than the raindrops on the window. That's when you break open the mini bottles and try and speed up time. It never works though, does it. You'd have to be loaded to get drunk in here because it's £7 quid for one shot of vodka. Another £7 quid for rum and £3.75 for Coke. Even the water costs three quid.
I've just noticed a sign on the minibar which says (and I quote): "Please be aware that any items moved will be charged using motion sensor technology." Now they tell me! I've just been shifting the whole lot around to see what was on offer -- I'll probably get billed an extra fifty quid now. Ah well. I may as well drink the whole lot now.
They don't have a proper restaurant in this place, only a breakfast room (which is basically the same as the downstairs bar). But they do have a rooftop bar which overlooks Trafalgar Square. And when I say a rooftop bar that is exactly what I mean... if it's raining then you will get wet. It is literally on the roof. Apparently they only open it during the 'seasonal months', so if you come over during the winter then expect it to be closed. It is a totally unique view that looks straight down onto Trafalgar Square at the National Gallery, Nelson's Column and St. Martin's church. Unfortunately you have to reserve a table and they won't let you have a simple coffee on its own -- you have to actually sit down to eat or drink (it's not like a pub bar). But it's well worth popping along just to have a peer over the edge — the guy said he didn't mind.
I wasn't too fussed about their breakfast. I'd much rather they just put out a big pan of baked beans and hashed browns and sausages and eggs, and let us help ourselves. But it was just a load of fancy yogurts, origami hams and chiseled bread rolls. Then you have to wait while the egg chef makes you an omelette. That is literally the only hot thing that they have on offer: an omelette. But this is no ordinary omelette -- he doesn't just crack an egg into a pan and flip it over a few times. This omelette is a work of art, with mushrooms and peppers and meat and all the trimmings, all coloured like a folded pillow of gold. It was perfectly nice to eat, but where's the beans? Where's the sausages? Where's the Coco Pops?
So that was my only criticism, and everything else was great. The location = great. The room = great. The omelette = great. The breakfast = not so great.
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