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Go Go Gadget Grosvenor
The Grosvenor Hotel (London)
Member Name: ryanando
The Grosvenor Hotel (London)
Advantages: Clean, comfortable, gorgeous
My partner Allan recently convinced me to take a break out of our busy schedule so as to go be theatre geeks down in London. Wicked was calling and we needed somewhere to stay. Originally we had planned to stay two nights in a different hotel in the area (around Victoria). Unfortunately that went absolutely tits up as the first hotel was a nightmare, we checked out after one night and went wandering the streets searching for another place to stay for the last night of our trip. We ended up in the Grosvenor Hotel. I apologise now for the lack of any proper photos, I was too tired and grumpy to take any at this point!
---Who are these people? ---
Grosvenor (not Grovesner as I keep wanting to say) Hotels belongs to the Guoman Hotels LTD who happen to have a few other very posh hotels dotted around London and also own the Thistle Hotel brand. They, in turn, are owned by another investment company based in Singapore. They are basically a luxury hotel company. I'd have to say they got it spot on. The hotel opened its doors in 1862, spurred on by the expanding railways. They have recently taken the 150 year old hotel and refurbished it to all its original splendour, emulating perfectly the grandeur of Victorian era London.
---Weekend at the Waldorf...well... the Grosvenor---
Thankfully The Grosvenor Hotel was literally a minute's walk from our previous hotel. Situated at 101 Buckingham Palace Road in London, it is literally bang on top of Victoria station. This obviously makes it incredibly handy if you've been travelling all day. It's also a fantastic location for theatre goers as there are a good few big shows in the area. Wicked (the best thing I've seen on stage, just FYI) is literally a 2-3 minute walk from the hotel. It meant that we didn't have to worry about travel between the hotel and the theatre and as soon as we were out of the show we could pretty much dive into bed if we were so inclined.
The entrance of the hotel is always a little crowded since it pretty much opens out onto the street with about four or five bus stops constantly filled with tourists and travellers which is a good thing and a bad thing. It does mean if you fancy getting the bus instead of the train, it's literally on the doorstep. Nothing like options. The downside is the hustle and bustle that you have to battle your way through. It is, however, very similar to almost everywhere else in London.
A couple of meters along the street you'll find the entrance to Victoria station where you can also catch the tube or a train. There's almost no stress in getting to and from the station.
---Not Home, not alone---
After battling our way through the people at the bus stops, wearily we climbed the stone steps, sidled past a man polishing the brass panels on the large doors and entered the hotel. Immediately you are greeted with a very calm, elegant but grand entrance. Marble floors, a giant staircase directly in front of you branching off to the left and the right. Somewhere up in the heights hangs a giant chandelier, though you probably won't even notice it unless you make a point of looking up. The place is big. Real big. There's a small concierge desk to your right and a bigger reception area just off to your left.
Allan compared it to the hotel in home alone 2, though I'm certain they don't look all that similar other than the grandiose nature of the decoration and the fact they had those little baggage trolleys with the rounded steel bars and the bell hops pushing them along. Tim Curry definitely wasn't on the desk or indeed chasing small children into the elevator. This was a good sign. Needless to say, both of our spirits were lifted as soon as we entered. This looked like a hotel that knows how to do things!
Check in took about five minutes. We got to the hotel about 9 in the morning fully expecting they wouldn't have any rooms ready. Instantly they proved us wrong, asking if we had any preferences for our room. We asked for the furthest away from the train station as we'd had a very bad experience in the previous hotel by hearing every train that came into the station. We were advised of the room cost at this point (£214 for a night, not including breakfast; my heart nearly stopped). After taking some ID and a payment method we were given two room keys, an explanation of how to get to our room and a small map the size of a business card to help us in case we got lost.
Finding our room was a little confusing due to the size of the place and the fact we'd asked for, essentially, the highest, furthest away room they had. We had to take the elevator up to the fourth floor, get out, walk through a couple of corridors to get to the other wing of the hotel, get in another elevator where we rode to the top floor of the Wing Rooms and then some more corridors. Buttons in the elevators were marked with the right floors to get off on for the act of transferring wings and everything was fairly well signposted. Nothing terrible and I'm sure if we'd asked we could have been shown to our rooms and helped with our bags. Also we passed a few staff on the way doing various things, all of whom were very friendly and welcoming. Even the clearly knackered cleaner waved and said hello cheerily as we passed. If you were to get lost I'm sure they'd all be more than happy to help you find your way.
---1408? Nah. ---
We held our breath as we entered the room, desperate, praying that it was bigger than the box we had suffered in the previous night in the other hotel. I saw the grin creep across Allan's face as we entered and knew we were onto a winner. Most appealing of all was that it had a window! A WINDOW!!! Swoon!
The room was a decent size and contained all the essentials. The main feature was a lovely large double bed with fluffy pillows and a side table on both sides of the bed, each with a lamp. An up to date television was set on the wall so it could be watched from the bed if you fancy it. It wasn't sent INTO the wall so you could still push any of the buttons on the side to turn off LED's etc. meaning no pesky lights when you are trying to sleep. The TV has the hotels own channel menu installed on it so it might not be familiar / easy to find a channel you want but it also isn't terribly difficult to work.
A good sized desk and chair, which Allan may have wanted to steal as it was so comfortable, sat near the window. Next to this was another very comfy chair and a small coffee table which was mainly used to put our dirty washing on. Probably not its intended use but hey ho.
The wardrobe was split into two; One half for hanging clothes which also housed an ironing board and iron, hair dryer and a Grosvenor branded umbrella (I had to convince Allan we'd have to pay for it if we slipped it into our bags). The other half housed a mini fridge with complimentary bottles of spring water, a kettle with tea, coffee, milk, sugar and biscotti. Also in this section was a safe for storing valuables in, which I can only assume came with instructions inside it as we didn't actually need it.
There was an air con panel on the wall and the ventilation shaft was directly above the bed. As it wasn't an air con unit, the most noise it made was a very slight noise of moving air. A bit of a pain to figure out how to work it but most hotels don't tell you how to work their air-con anyway.
Last but not least, there was a phone. You could use it to call out or to call within the hotel. Room service was 24 hours but having looked at the menu we decided it was maybe a little too rich for our blood. Still, a nice option if you want it!
---How was it for you? ---
After the nightmare of the previous hotel, this bedroom was a godsend. The room was clean. No dust or dirt on anything. Despite being much closer to the train station than we previously were, we heard absolutely nothing in this room. No trains, no neighbours, no noisy air-con. The curtains had Velcro sticky bits attached so as to better keep out the light and they worked fantastically. The room was pitch black when the lights were out, even in the morning hardly any light crept in. The bed was great too; much comfier than the night before in a different hotel. Not quite as comfy as our bed at home but I don't think anything ever really is as good as your own bed. We woke up relaxed and refreshed.
---A night on the tiles---
The bathroom was locked away behind a door within the room. I'd recommend keeping the door closed if you want the air con to cool the bedroom down as the heater didn't seem to have an off button. Like the bedroom it was spacious and well thought out. There was a bath and 2 showers so you could choose your preference, a large sink area with a huge well lit mirror to stare at your pretty face in. Towels were all neatly folded over the towel warmer/ radiator and the toilet had all the loo roll you could ask for. Everything was clean, neat, well lit, and warm. Very comfortable indeed! The normal mini toiletries were provided and even a small box with a shower cap in for people who don't fancy wetting their hair.
The water pressure on the main shower above the bath was a little disappointing if I'm being honest. The water wasn't scorching either. Not that I like to give myself 3rd degree burns or anything, but I do like a little heat in my shower, especially after a horrible sticky day in London. I like to feel. The shower, while it did the job, wasn't the best shower I'd ever had. The second shower was, I think, supposed to be used to rinse while in the bath. It was a cylindrical head with a few jets coming from it. The water pressure was a lot better in this but it didn't have a place you could hook it on the wall. This meant having to hold onto the shower head instead of being able to relax under it. Again the water wasn't overly hot, but this is probably a good thing considering you had to hold this one.
The bath was big enough for one, two at a tight push. I can't say if there was enough hot water to fill it as we didn't use it, but I would have imagined there would be.
The hotel has its own restaurants called The Brasserie which serves more traditional British food and The Grand Imperial restaurant which serves Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine. Bit of a strange mix but I guess which we decided to try out before we went to see Wicked. We decided to go for The Brasserie, partly because it was the first one we saw, partly because I was convinced it was called The Brassiere.
The menu had a decent selection. It was a touch on the pricey side about £15 for Allan's battered fish and chips and nearly a fiver for one alcoholic drink. I went with the sirloin steak which was about £19. The portions were pretty much perfect sizes for eating, meaning we weren't uncomfortably full and the plates were cleared. It did mean we literally got five chips each though. The food was, however, delicious.
The only down side of the restaurant was the service. We waited 25 minutes before the waiter approached us again asking in a surprised voice if we actually want food. When we said yes, he said he was sorry and that he was waiting on us telling him we wanted food. In this time I was constantly trying to get his attention and getting rather stressed as we had a show to go and see quite soon and I didn't want to be late. I also noticed that he didn't serve any of the other customers. Thankfully a shift change happened just after we ordered and more a much more diligent waitress took over and brought our food promptly and served the others who had been waiting.
---Any other facilities? ---
The hotel also comes with its own cocktail bar which you'll see right in front of you at the top of the grand staircase in the entrance. We unfortunately didn't get a chance to get off our faces on margaritas, but it certainly looked lovely.
If being a glutton is not your thing, you can choose the other path and go to gym. We stumbled across a small gym in our wing of the hotel, and I'm assuming that there might actually be more than one kicking about somewhere since the place is so large. It did have everything you really need in a gym, plus TV's and water coolers. The gym is accessed with your room key and is kept lovely and cool at all times.
Rather fantastically they also have late check out options. We ended up calling them from our room and asking if we could check out a couple of hours later since our train home was a while away. It wasn't a problem and they didn't even charge anything for the pleasure. To add to that, when we went down to check out, the receptionist asked if we wanted to store any of our luggage or bags in their safe area. Great service!
Last but not least if you are a total tech nut job you'll probably like being greeted with the I-pod docking station on the desk meaning those Apple-ites among you can play your own selection of choons all holiday long. On the downside if you want some wi-fi you will have to pay for the pleasure of having it.
---Check it out---
Checking out was quick, easy and pleasant. They made sure they asked how the room was and then they processed our payment. I had assumed they had done this when we came in the morning before but it would seem that they don't actually take payment till you leave. I assume they just scan your card to start with in case you do a runner. This also implies to me that they would be much more willing to refund you if you didn't have a good stay but maybe that's just me making crazy assumptions.
---So, would you stay again? ---
The room was lovely, the bathroom was fine, the hotel was beautiful. All that taken into consideration I would stay again. The only thing that puts me off is the price, but that, obviously, depends on how much money you have to spend. I'm currently skint, so even a pot noodle, a bottle of white lightning and sleeping on a park bench seems like a posh weekend away right now. The previous hotel was £192 for two nights compared to £214 for one night. Obviously the longer you stay the better deal you'll get, but again, its all down to money. You definitely get comfort for your money at least. Allan would gladly go back
===A quick look at my stay===
Marks out of 5
Bathroom: 4 stars. Everything was fine, but the shower was a touch lackadaisical.
Bedroom: 5 stars. Perfect. Comfy, cosy, yay!
Cleanliness: 5 stars. Perfect
Location: 5 stars. Bang on top of Victoria station, right next to all the theatres, Great!
Restaurant: 3 stars. Brought down only due to the waiter and the pricey food. What we got was lovely.
Price: 3 stars. A little too rich for my blood and maybe a bit too much for what you get, but not far off the mark.
Overall experience: 4 stars. It was a welcome end to our hotel saga and made up for the horrible experience in the last hotel. A touch on the pricey side but mostly worth it. Free wi-fi wouldn't go amiss I feel but overall fairly satisfying.
------Contact details: ------
101 Buckingham Palace Road
0871 376 9038
Summary: A lovely hotel but a little pricey.