My review of the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel, London

This is my review of the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel in London.

Regular readers will already know that I checked in to the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel last week on the £27 promotion run by’s ‘Top Secret Hotels’ page.  Despite it being a third-party booking, I received Club Carlson points for the stay.

Why did I come here?  Well, at £27 for two days of office space it was a viable alternative to working out of Regus.  Secondly, this is a very popular Club Carlson redemption – I have redeemed this hotel twice for my brother and his family, although I never visited him there – and so of interest to readers.  (It will become a less popular Club Carlson redemption when it jumps from 50,000 points per night to 70,000 on June 1st.)

The Park Plaza Westminster Bridge sits in the middle of a traffic island (oddly, not a major issue) directly opposite Big Ben and the House of Parliament across the river.  You are adjacent to the London Eye, the London Aquarium and Waterloo station and all of the family restaurants etc that surround those two places.  For a tourists, it is a great spot.

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge

The rooms

The hotel is round.  This means that the outer rooms are wedge shaped.  There is also a strip of smaller rooms which run through the centre of the building – these obviously have atrium views and presumably little natural light.

As a Club Carlson Gold via my Amex Platinum card, I was upgraded to one of the studio rooms on the outside of the building.  This was impressive and made clever use of the space.  Nearest the window is the sleeping area:

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge review

with a very modern wardrobe:

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge 2

and a TV opposite:

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge 3

Then comes the bathroom (there is a full size shower as well but it is out of shot).  Toiletries are from Elemis:

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge 4

Then, the most interesting bit, a proper seating area:

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge 5

and another TV:

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It is quite homely.  The quality of finish is excellent as you would expect from a relatively new hotel.

The facilities

As I didn’t stay overnight I did not try any of the restaurants.  There is no shortage of options.  As well as a handy café:

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… there is also a sushi bar ….

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…. a large main restaurant

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with a big wine selection ….

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge restaurant

…. and a large main bar.   You are unlikely to go hungry or thirsty.

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When it comes to leisure, there is an upmarket-looking spa and a swimming pool.  This is a library picture of the pool as there was a ‘mother and toddler’ swimming class on when I went down.

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge pool


Where the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge fell down, to be honest, was service and the certain issues caused by the design.  For a start, you enter the hotel at ground level but reception is upstairs.  There is no clear signage to tell you this and I had toured the entire ground floor before realising.  This was not a good start and sends an immediate warning that all is probably not well here.

When you reach reception, the three desks are spaced very far apart.  This means that you end up forming three separate lines.  If, like me, you end up behind someone who ends up taking an age to check-in because he wants to discuss all of his questions about London, you are in for a long wait.

The best view in the hotel – a huge multi-storey atrium with a massive glass wall overlooking Big Ben – is used as the club lounge.  This means that this amazing space is blocked off from most guests.  (You can buy lounge access for the day at a supplement if you booked a standard room at a cost of £49 per day for a couple and £33 for one person.  This includes breakfast, afternoon tea and evening drinks and canapés.)

Finally, I had a surreal experience at check out.  With the hotel full for a conference, I couldn’t get a late check-out.  I therefore checked out at noon and casually said that I would pop down a swim.  I was told that this was strictly forbidden, since – as I was checked out – I would no longer be insured.  Fine, I said, give me a late check-out for 1 hour – but you can have the key as I don’t need the room.  No, I was told.  That is strictly not allowed either.  I was warned off going near the pool.

I obviously ignored this advice and headed down there anyway.  The desk was, of course, unmanned so anyone could go in. However, I then found that the pool had been rented out to a toddlers swimming class and hotel guests were banned from using it.  All very odd ….

Despite this, I do recommend the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge if you can get a studio room.  They cost an extra £50 for cash but if you have status in Club Carlson you may well get one anyway.  The extra seating area is good to have, the wide variety of eating and drinking spaces is impressive (including the cheap café) and you get good fitness facilities.  Most of prime tourist London is at your feet and, if your room faces the right way, outside your window.

Post June 1st, the hotel will cost 70,000 Club Carlson points per night.  If you convert American Express Membership Rewards points, that means 23,334 points to be transferred.  Until then, you can lock it down for 50,000 points per night for bookings at any point in the next year.

You can find out more about the hotel, and book, on the Park Plaza website here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

An example of how devaluation creeps up on you (but deals are still good value)
10,000 Mile & More miles with their UK credit card
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  1. This is the newer one that’s built in the middle of what used to be a roundabout (traffic flow has changed now so it’s not a roundabout), it one time there was a very ugly extension to County Hall there which I’m pleased to say they demolished.

    There’s also another Park Plaza directly next to it. Are they still run as separate properties? Could you use each others facilities and charge to the room?

    Do Carlson generally own their properties or are they franchises like IHG?

    • Park Plaza County Hall is, as you say, next door. Forgot to ask about cross-charging or indeed ability to use the Westminster Bridge pool if in County Hall. My brother is in County Hall when he comes down for Wimbledon this year (could not get availability at Westminster Bridge) so I will find out in a few weeks.

  2. Cheshire Pete says:

    Nice hotel. I stayed there and paid extra for a Big Ben facing room. Very impressive especially at night as the direct look across the bridge with traffic seemingly flowing under you gives a surreal impression of floating in mid air in front of the iconic views……

    Like Rob though I did complain about slow checkin, seemingly no priority checkin was in operation either.

  3. Demand compensation on your £27 stay for the pool being out of use. Go on, just for their reaction.

  4. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    The suites are even better. If you get a river-facing one, you get a huge rooftop terrace directly facing parliament, sunloungers and a sitting area. The rooms have a nice kitchen/bar area and there’s even a special check-in and elevator to the top floors.

    This would be one of my top overnight picks in London for a date night or similar. It’s not even that expensive for what it is – random Saturday night in August was £322 when I just looked. I imagine a cash upgrade wouldn’t be too bad either.

  5. Stephen says:

    Is it worth using their eStandby system for upgrades? Does applying for eStandby affect your chances of a Club Carlson upgrade (I’m only silver, so presumably low down on the list anyway)?

    Do any of the higher end rooms come with lounge access included?

    • They had a sign on the reception desk offering executive room upgrades for cash – and of course you can buy lounge access on top of any room.

  6. I’ve stayed in this hotel a view times. Some of the rooms have absolutely dreadful views or no views at all and some have great views – so this can really alter the experience.

  7. Martin says:

    Years ago, most hotels were happy to extend use of the facilities — pool, club lounge, etc –on the day of departure after checkout time, but increasingly I’m getting knocked back on this. I’m all for naming and shaming the mean ones.

    • Go on then !

      • Ok.

        I stay in too many hotels so I need to log them as i go to be sure I’m not mis-remembering, but two 2015 ones that stick in the mind.

        Sheraton Waikiki – happy to let me use Club Lounge all day on day of departure.
        Hilton Waldorf London – lounge access not allowed after check-out. I know I had pool access problems too, but I forget the details of what that was about. It might have been an unannounced closure.

  8. Audrius says:

    Stayed here last Monday as well on a £29 rate. Checked-in by a trainee, also upgraded to an outside facing studio. Asked about a welcome gift upon check-in (Gold member), promised it would delivered. Never. Called reception in the evening to inquire about that, was sent a bottle of prosecco. Received 2490 points (paid 2 pounds more, received 3 points less than you). Great stay, anyway.

    • I forgot about my welcome gift! Doh! That would definitely have made the stay free, offsetting the points.

      I was actually there 13 days ago, not last Monday, which was good for you as you missed the chaos of the incoming conventioners!

      • Did you provide your Club Carlson number prior to arrival at hotel or at check-in? I have a stay at this hotel coming up soon.

        • I put it in the ‘Notes’ section when I booked, which is why I was pre-upgraded. I would email them the day before and ask them to add it to the booking, don’t do it any earlier as they may not get your name from lastminute until the day before.

  9. Waribai says:

    Just as an update. I also got one of the lastminute rooms thanks to Raffles early Saturday morning tip!
    Living 15 mins train journey from Waterloo, this was just going to be a fun night for the family and to let the little one splash around in the pool. I also emailed the hotel to link the booking to my Club Carlson number and was hoping I would get my gold benefits. they confirmed that I would.

    Anyway, due to work commitments, I couldn’t make it so I let a friend and her husband use my night and emailed the hotel. Again they confirmed they would add her name to the booking.
    When they stayed there they said the queue was very efficient and as I was a Gold member the went to the much shorter queue for the Club Carlson desk.

    I think this was probably a mistake as when they checked the receptionist asked a multitude of questions about me and then made it clear to them that they would definitely not receive an upgrade or any other of my gold benefits. All fair enough really. But when they told me how adamant she was, I thought it might be the same person you encountered Raffles!
    They had a great time anyway and since they live far from London it was a genuine trip to the capital. They also said the breakfast was great. I’m not sure if they paid for it or not.
    Incidentally, the stay was last Sunday but there have been no points awarded to my account as of yet and I somehow doubt there will be!

    • In such scenarios, I generally recommend that people check in as me and that the partner hands over a credit card for extras (so they don’t notice the non-matching name). If they got free breakfast out of them then it must have been a Gold benefit!

      Points are a bit slow – it took about a week for my Stockholm ones to hit. I wouldn’t give up on them until Monday. It is possible they wiped your number when they realised you were not the guest.

  10. Waribai says:

    Thanks. Yes, I think I’d also recommend not going to the Club Carlson members desk as you might get a slightly more officious member of staff there disappointed not to be checking in the loyal customer!

  11. Also stayed there last weekend. As a CC Gold was given a larger outside facing room. Plate of macarons as a rather tasty Welcome gift ! No points yet but thoroughly enjoyed my stay and found all staff members courteous. Look forward to another “staycation” at this hotel.