This is a marginally indulgent post, but if you live in London – especially if you’ve got kids – it is of interest.
I wouldn’t normally write about a hotel changing brands, especially when it is a brand within the same family of hotels. However, I do occasionally focus on good child-friendly properties for Londoners who fancy a weekend away (see my Crowne Plaza Marlow posts as well). The Waldorf-Astoria Syon Park is ideal for this.
The hotel has just announced on the Hilton website – although not yet on its own website – that it is rebranding as (downgrading to) a Hilton from March 2013. It will be known as Hilton London Syon Park.
Opening a couple of years ago, it was always an odd property. Built on the Duke of Northumberland’s estate, the hotel is in the grounds of Syon Park. The large country house is still there, and you can tour it in season. The Duke, keen to generate income, has heavily commercialised his grounds and they now include a huge garden centre as well as the hotel.
Being close to Heathrow, it was probably felt that the hotel would appeal to the luxury conference and weddings market. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working too well. Possibly because the back of the hotel overlooks a council estate and the front overlooks a car park (although if you have Hilton status you get a room on the side overlooking the gardens!).
A ludicrous amount of money was spent on the hotel, hence the Waldorf-Astoria branding. Here are a few images:
Picture 4 is the main house, the bottom picture is the amazing conservatory at the house.
For an easy break with kids, the hotel has a lot going for it.
a) big grounds
b) the pool (top photo) although children hours are restricted
c) the garden centre next door has a huge cafe which makes it easy to have casual snacks if the hotel restaurant is too formal
d) literally 2 minutes walk from the hotel is a huge soft play centre (see here)
And if you don’t have kids, you can tour Syon Park House, enjoy the very plush rooms (see photo above) and eat in the very well regarded restaurant.
The hotel seems to be failing, unfortunately. Converting it to a Hilton may be a way of cutting costs by reducing service levels, or it may just be a reflection of the room rates they can get. But this works to your advantage!
At the time of writing, on Friday April 12th – a date I picked at random – you can get a room here for £90 including VAT. Since it will be a Hilton by then, a Hilton Gold will also get free breakfast and free internet. Frankly, it is almost cheaper than staying at home and paying to go to the local pool – and your garden probably isn’t as big as the Duke of Northumberlands.