Craig’s review… I quite liked this hotel when I first entered the room, but I’ve cooled on it now that I’ve been here a while. I don’t want to start this review on a downer, though, because there’s still plenty to recommend it, so let me tell you about the good stuff first.
The best thing about this hotel is definitely its location. When you step outside the front door you can see St. Paul’s Cathedral sixty seconds up the street. (And I really do mean sixty seconds exactly, because I timed it on my phone!)
The second best thing about the hotel is the size of the room – it’s quite large for a London hotel, and you also get a big desk (bigger than my desk at home), stocked with a few bedtime reading books like the Oxford Dictionary & Thesaurus and Philip’s Encyclopedia.
The restaurant is also very nice, but technically it’s just a high street restaurant tacked on to the side. Hotel guests can go in there and charge the food to their room. They do a buffet breakfast, cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner – the whole lot. Because it’s a high street restaurant they do everything.
Okay… so that’s all the good stuff done. Now comes the bad stuff (and remember that this is supposed to be a 4-star hotel).
My room doesn’t have a safe in it. There’s no iron either. No minibar. No bar – just a downstairs lounge with tea machine. They only give you two teabags in your room plus a flimsy little toothpick spoon that bends and softens when you put it in your cup. (I normally have some Pot Noodles or something, and have you ever tried eating some noodles with a toothpick spoon? It’s impossible!)
For some bizarre reason they’ve decided to put their free Wi-Fi on a unsecured network – which basically means that you can’t visit anything on http, because every single person in the hotel can snoop on what you’re sending (provided they actually know what they’re doing, of course, which let’s be honest, they probably don’t). I know I’m probably being super-paranoid but why don’t they just set it up properly? It would take them two minutes.
A lot of the things that you’d normally find in a 4-star room have to be grabbed from a utility closet down the hall instead. This is where you’ll find the iron and ironing board. So every time you want to iron something you have to traipse through the labyrinthine hallways carrying them back to your room. They’ve also got a vending machine and a self-service launderette in there. And some more tiny plastic spoons, in case your other one melts. It’s quite a handy thing to have, I suppose, but it’s not the kind of thing I would expect to find in a 4-star hotel – it reminds me of living in a student dorm. They should just put an iron in each room and stop being so tight.
Don’t be too put off by my complaints, though, because they’re just piddly little things in the grand scheme of things. Its location is amazing, the room is nice and big, and if you’re not paranoid about the Wi-Fi then you’ll probably like it a lot. If they called themselves a 3-star then I’d probably recommend it without hesitation, but I’ve slept in enough 4s by now to know it’s not one of them.