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Holiday Inn? Where to begin?
Holiday Inn Kensington South Hotel (London)
Member Name: cstag
Holiday Inn Kensington South Hotel (London)
Advantages: Great Location
Disadvantages: Problems with Overall Booking
I recently had to stay at the Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum as I was attending a conference at the nearby Olympia Centre. My review is based on a four night stay (from Tuesday to Saturday) which overall I found quite unsatisfactory.
The hotel has an ideal location for those attending events at either the Olympia Centre or nearby Earls Court with both venues being a 10 minute walk away. It is also suitably situated for those wishing to visit local attractions - with Harrods, the Royal Albert Hall and the Science museum being nearby. There is also various tube lines in the area giving easy access to the city centre with Gloucester Road tube being just a few minutes walk away. If travelling by car - the hotel is situated in the congestion zone.
There is a small car park attached to the hotel but you don't have to be a hotel guest to use it -so it is often full by the time you get there. This means having to find alternative parking nearby which can mean using street parking and running out every few hours to full up the extortionately priced parking meters with your life savings! The hotel car park itself is also based underground and is very difficult to navigate through as the spaces are very narrow - this is really only for the very confident parker!
The hotel itself is enormous - spread over 27 floors and accommodating 906 bedrooms. The size of the hotel does mean that those staying on the higher floors do have a great view of the area.
There were 10 of us in our party and despite all of us requesting non smoking rooms we all ended up with smoking rooms. This wouldn't have been so bad for just one night - however we were there for four nights. As the hotel is so high all of the windows have safety catches on them which means you can only open them a couple of cms. Basically you were unable to adequately get rid of the stale smell of smoke.
The rooms were nicely furnished however there wasn't an iron or ironing board available for you to take to your room. If you wanted to iron any clothes there was
a laundry room tucked away on about the 23rd floor - so you have to get in a lift with your clothes on display for all to see! It's also quite difficult to find with no sign posts at all. The room was poor equipped with 3 ironing boards and irons - 2 of which didn't work! There was quite a queue building up in there when I finally managed to find it!
There are also not enough lifts to accommodate the number of floors. 4 lifts were constantly being called to all 27 floors and I think one morning I waited at least 15 minutes to get a lift up to my floor. I could have walked but 17 floors is a bit of a trek! The lifts were also so slow. By the end of the week I had worked out that if I had to meet anyone at a certain time I would have to be waiting for a lift 10 minutes beforehand!
Eating and Drinking
The main options for eating at the Holiday Inn are either in the main restaurant or in the 'pub' style bar. We ate in the main restaurant a couple of times and despite having a lot of choice on the menu - about 5 of the dishes were unavailable giving limited options. In saying that, when the food did arrive it was very pleasant.
The bar area offers more of a 'pub' type atmosphere and is very casual and good fun - there were also bar snacks offered in here.
Breakfast was great! Lots of different options from continental to full English and the staff were quick to replenish the hot food trays. However my main criticism here is that for a hotel with 906 rooms there was only 2 toast machines and they are slow at the best of times.
The nightly room rate varies between £120 and £150 depending on whether you have a normal or executive room.
The booking should have been so simple, 10 people wanting 10 rooms for the same number of nights - however we all ended up being booked into the hotel under the same name - which was a girl's name - which meant all the men in our party had difficulty checking in! When we all came to check out on the last day we were all charged different rates as well - so we then had to wait around for another half an hour whilst all this was sorted out.
Whilst the staff on the reception were all very pleasant and were said to speak many different languages to accommodate travelers from overseas - I found that some had a real lack of English and that this caused a really big problem when dealing with our booking problem. There was some difficulty in understanding what the various parties were saying and it was quite frustrating for both the reception staff and the head of our party. On a plus point the concierge at this hotel is quite frankly the most helpful man you will ever meet!
Summary: Large hotel but inadequately designed and organized to cope with number of guests
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