* Prices may differ from that shown
I do not wish to be a name dropper but last Wednesday night I was at the Annual Dinner of the British Plastics Federation. You are impressed I can tell. Along with about 400 other people, the great and good of the British Plastics Industry I ate my dinner and listened to a very intoxicated Cliff Morgan drone on about how nice we all were. This great function was held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel close to Hyde Park just a 5 minute walk away from Marble Arch.
I also stayed in the hotel overnight. There was always the minor possibility that I would partake of the odd alcoholic beverage and stagger to bed at some ungodly hour. And do you know that is exactly what happened. However no amount of liquor can dull the pain of being ripped off. Now OK I know I am on expenses but ultimately you have to feel you are getting value whoever is paying.
The basic tariff at the Royal Lancaster starts at £230 per night per room. My company had arranged a block booking and we got a discounted rate for the event of £175 per night. For this you get a very small room with 2 not very comfortable single beds, a TV with the main UK channels plus Sky Sports channels and access to Abu Dhabi, Japan and Thai channels. I perhaps begin to see where their clientele comes from.
The bathroom is very small and featured a somewhat inadequate shower and a bath. There was a mini bar but no facilities to make tea or coffee. The room rate did not include breakfast which would set you back a further £15 each. On the subject of the mini bar and indeed all the bars in the place the prices were ridiculous. A bottle of Budweiser was £3.80, a bottle of Stella Artois £3.40. This is a rip-off.
Breakfast was in the Park Restaurant which overlooked Hyde Park from the 1st floor. It was OK but nothing that many other hotels do much better at half the price. The fresh fruit was disappointing and the yoghurts not very good. I do not eat a cooked breakfast but it looked greasy. The scrambled eggs looked particularly unappetising. There are other restaurants in the Hotel, Nipa which serves Thai food and The Pavement which is a brasserie serving lighter meals. It is hard to judge the food here as it was a banquet meal for so many but it barely rose above adequate. The Salmon and Turbot terrine was tasteless, the soup tasted like one of my sons worst efforts from school cookery class ( I hope he doesnt read this) but the venison was nicely done though with a vegetable choice which fought with the meat rather than complemented it.
The problem is that apart from its location the Royal Lancaster is nothing special. The service standards are on the right side of acceptable. The décor and furnishings in the public rooms are very tasteful but the bedrooms are drab and uninspiring.
Frankly I could not recommend the Royal Lancaster, it is absurdly expensive and just not worth it.