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One night in this hotel ain't enough
Swissotel The Howard (London)
Member Name: Delicate_Orchid1
Swissotel The Howard (London)
Date: 17/12/05, updated on 17/12/05 (371 review reads)
Advantages: Clean, comfy beds
Disadvantages: Initial problems on check in
Check-in time is at 14:00, so to make the most of out stay, we got there about 14:45. We were greeted by very friendly staff at check-in. However, we were informed that our requested non-smoking room was not yet available. The gentleman checked us into a smoking room instead, stating, 'You can always come back if it smells of too much smoke.'
We went up to the third floor, a smoking floor, and we could smell the smoke there. Faintly, but it was there. When we stuck our key into the lock, another surprise awaited us - there was a man standing in the middle of the room!
I apologised and shut the door. We were on standing at the elevators, when a very apologetic hotel staff member showed up and apologised for the mistake.
Because I was not very stressed at this moment in time, I told him it was alright and mentioned that we would want a non-smoking room anyway. I asked him by when we could expect a non-smoking room to be available. He apologetically said that it might take 'until 15:30'.
Since this was only about 30 minutes away, we opted to wait, checked our bag with the concierge and proceeded to have a drink at the hotel bar/cafe. There is a small, but very nice terrace/garden, were we sat down and were soon served with a couple of drinks. I had ordered ice tea - and while the drink that I was brought was very nice, it certainly did not taste like your average ice tea!
At about 15:45 we made our way back to the reception and were checked into our non-smoking room. I asked for my bag, but they insisted on bringing it up to the room.
We entered our lovely room. Another hotel staff member showed up with my bag, and once I handed him a little tip, he became very friendly and asked me whether I would like a demonstration of the coffee machine and the air conditioning.
From then on, there were no more problems and we could begin to relax!
The hotel offers rooms with garden view (which is really not too grand, but that is fine!) and rooms with a view over the Thames (for an extra charge).
Our garden view room was clean and comfortable and light. There was a large comfy king sized bed with a duvet cover and throw pillows. Granted, I was not so sure about the throw pillows hygiene level, so I did not use them. The comforter is really lovely as well as are the pillows. Soft and cozy - you won't want to get up in the morning! The only downside to the bed was that it felt like two double beds had been put together and covered with a king size sheet. It is hardly noticeable, though.
The room is also equipped with a compy lounge chair. Cool are the various light switches near the bed, labelled 'lobby', 'floor' and 'bed'. No need to get up to switch of any of them.
Other than that you have the obligatory mini bar expected from a 5 star hotel - and internet access at 15£ a day.
The air conditioning system is superb and very needed in this hot and humid weather!
Now, this was a bit of fun that took us a while to figure out, despite the explanation of the hotel staff. It is not a usual kettle or a machine that disperses hot water. You place your cup on a grill, place a little plastic pot with tea or coffee in the door above it, close the door (which pushes the pot in) and then you can press the water button. Use the free flow option - the others won;t give you nearly enough water! This machine is a bit silly, really, as it does not give you any warm water without having inserted a pot.
The bathroom is in marble and equipped with bathrobes, fluffy towels and some really cool toiletteries. There was nice smelling shower gel, shampoo and body lotion (which I took home in the end). There was also a jar of bath salts. Shower caps, nail files, little make-up accessories (such as cotton balls) and a sowing kit were also available. A hairdryer is provided.
The bath was wonderful. The only criticism is the shower. There is not really a place to put the shower head - the direction that it aims in leads to a flooding of the bathroom floor! It would be annoying if you wanted to get ready in here after your shower.
There is a restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea. I cannot really judge the restaurant, since we opted to eat elsewhere instead. The menu does look delicious, though.
Tea costs 16£ per person, which is quite cheap compared to other London hotels. You get your usual selection of teas, scones and sandwiches.
For lazy guests or for those who do not want to leave the room, there is also a good room service menu.
Breakfast is a bit expensive, so we opted not to have it. Continental breakfast looks good, but will set you back by £18. English breakfast is £23.
I noticed this little add in the hotel room that I found interesting. If you have children and you notify the hotel, they can decorate a hotel room especially for them, with fun disney towels and pillows. It looked really children friendly - but naturally I cannot vouch for the end results, since I did not make use of it.
While this hotel is usually very expensive, they do have special deals from time to time. Currently they are having special deals on weekends for couples. For £185 a night you can get a river view room with a bottle of champagne and breakfast, for instance.
If you book into this hotel before 31st of August and then plan to stay at the Swissotel Drake in New York, before the 31st of August you will receive VIP treatment - including an upgrade to a suite and late checkout. (Not like anyone normal can afford that!)
You will have to contact the hotel for deals going on a the time.
This hotel is situated at Temple Place, alongside the Thames. It is about a 10 minute walk to Waterloo station, Holborn Station or Covent Garden.
I am not sure whether to give this hotel 3 or 4 stars. It is better than a 3 star hotel for sure - and except for the minor hick-ups at the beginning I was very happy with it. Especially for the price of £100!!! I would give it another try if I found a special deal again - but I would not dream of paying the full price.
Suggested maximum to be paid (excluding breakfast or other extras): £150 a night.
London WC24 2PR
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7836 3555
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7379 4547
Summary: A lovely hotel that can take you away from the stresses of London.
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