Newest Review: ... mini-bar and television. In our group, of the three rooms, two of the three fridges opened automatically, but the third remained locked ev... more
4 star London hotel convenient for West End
Riverbank Park Plaza Hotel (London)
Member Name: beckyX
Riverbank Park Plaza Hotel (London)
Advantages: Location, comfortable rooms
Disadvantages: Rooms not ready, facilities didn't work
The Riverbank Park Plaza is a mid-price four-star hotel located on London's Embankment, about 10 minutes walk (with heavy suitcase) from Vauxhall and 20 minutes from Waterloo. It is a comfortable hotel with plenty of lifts, which are definitely needed if you find yourself on the seventh floor.
This is not a cheap part of the world to be staying in, and the prices here reflect that. However, if you book ages in advance, then you may be lucky like we were and find a special deal. We went here in July 2009 and the rooms cost about £80 per night. To get this deal, we booked several months in advance and found a special offer which was valid if we booked two consecutive nights. According to their website, the current discounted price is about £110 per night. The hotel itself had many facilities; sadly we did not have time to appreciate the gym.
The room itself was accessible and spaciously laid out with two extremely comfortable queen sized beds, a wardrobe, a desk, cable television and a fridge containing mini-bar and television. In our group, of the three rooms, two of the three fridges opened automatically, but the third remained locked even after we had called down to reception several times: they require a credit card to open, but sometimes the system is faulty, so even if you have left a credit card with them, it doesn't always work. Allergy sufferers beware - you have to phone through especially for non-feather pillows - be prepared for a very long wait for them to arrive.
The en suite bathrooms were spacious and excellently provided with both a shower and a bath; however, they had a light that could not be put out!
Our room looked out onto an alleyway and if we leaned out and craned our neck, we could see a bit of the river. If you are prepared to pay for an upgrade (as one of our party did), you can get a room with the much prettier river view and see the nearby Houses of Parliament. The view really wasn't at all bad for the price though.
Also available for a (very!) increased price were a cream tea and a birthday cake waiting in the room. Sadly, by the time we had checked in, this had been in the room for several hours and the tea was cold and stewed, but the food was nonetheless most welcome after a long journey. Expect to pay several tens of pounds for this.
The food and drinks at the bar and restaurant associated with the hotel were extremely expensive and breakfast is not included as part of the discounted price (and, sadly, not advertised on their website for me to confirm the current prices, but it was well over my usual £5 for a cup of tea and slice of toast limit.). There is a supermarket in walking distance if you want a cheap breakfast.
The main attraction of the hotel for us was its convenient location to the West End. Indeed, when we were staying there, the tube lines were out of action for the second and third days, so we got to see how convenient it was as we took taxis everywhere. A cab to the West End takes about 5-10 minutes and cost about £10 a go (even on a Saturday night) - extremely reasonable when split amongst four or five people. There are also many buses available along that route if you don't want to get a cab.
There is a late checkout available, and if you are lucky, you do not even have to pay for this. However, the flip side of that was that when we arrived at 5pm, only two of our three rooms were available; this will inevitably sometime happens, so we just made do with two rooms at the time, but when we returned to the hotel at 11, they at first denied all knowledge of our third room and when we insisted, coded keys for the wrong room!
They have a desk there dedicated to booking activities to various London attractions. We used them to book tickets to Madame Tussauds. Sadly, they proved overoptimistic when they assured us that they were selling us tickets that allowed immediate entrance: it was well over an hour wait and there was another level of ticket above ours that did allow immediate entrance.
In conclusion, this was a very comfortable hotel and extremely reasonably priced for the area it was in. The staff were keen to please, but the service was a little lacking in quite a few places. I would probably go back again if I wanted a hotel close to the West End.
Summary: For the price we paid, this is good value; I wouldn't pay more than that though! Good location.
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