How did little known Nadler get two of the top 12 London hotels on TripAdvisor?

This is our review of The Nadler Victoria hotel in London.

What does a hotel need to become a well regarded high end choice in London?  A bar that is popular with the rich and famous? A restaurant with 3 Michelin stars? A pool? Large gym?

‘None of the above’ appears to be answer when you look at Nadler Hotels. You might not be familiar with the name, but two of its three London hotels are in the top 12 ‘highest rated’ list on TripAdvisor.

Rob met up with the founder of the chain, Robert Nadler, recently and we agreed that it would be interesting to take a look at what makes his hotels tick.  Nadler Hotels provided us with a free night for this review but, as usual, HFP covered all other costs.

Nadler’s first hotel opened in 2006 in Kensington under the name base2stay, followed by base2stay Liverpool in 2010. In 2013 the Nadler Soho opened its doors and the two base2stay properties were re-branded as Nadler Hotels.  They describe themselves as ‘four star luxury boutique’ properties.

The newest addition was The Nadler Victoria in 2015.  This is where I spent a night to find out what Nadler hotels are about, who the man behind the name is and whether you should consider a Nadler hotel for your next stay in London (or Liverpool).

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - Exterior

The Nadler Victoria is located between Buckingham Palace and Cardinal Place, right next to the new St. James Theatre. Victoria tube station is about a 5 minute walk away and Green Park about 15 minutes. The location is especially good if you want to explore ‘tourist London’ by foot as everything around Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey is in easy walking distance. Having Victoria Station around the corner is another plus as nowhere ends up being too far away.

When I arrived, I realised that I’ve actually walked past the hotel many times before without ever noticing it.  (The same goes for The Nadler Soho, which is just off Soho Square and directly opposite a WeWork office we use occasionally – neither Rob nor I had realised that was a hotel either!).  The exterior is pretty simple and you wouldn’t expect a luxury hotel on the inside.

The reception area is wide and open with a well lit sitting area next to the entrance.

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - entrance hall

A lift serves all floors. The only thing you will find on those floors are rooms. Unlike many other hotels, Nadler is focusing on high quality rooms instead of a gym, restaurant or bar.

The reason for this is two fold.  Firstly, of course, it keeps the price for the hotel guests down.

Secondly, it helps the guests to engage with the surrounding area. Instead of having its own gym, guests can use the nearby Fitness First gym (with its equipment, classes and sauna) for £5 a day.  Instead of having its own restaurant – and hotel restaurants rarely make money apart from a few high profile examples – the surrounding bars and restaurants offer discounts to guests of the Nadler.  The hotels saves substantial amounts of money which helps drive good value room rates.

My Room

My room was a Deluxe which seems like a great size for a couple or a family with two small children.

The first thing I have to say is that, honestly, the bed was one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in.  In fact Nadler’s beds are so comfortable that, after guests kept asking about the mattresses, you can now buy them through the Nadler website.

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - Bed

The sofa was actually a sofa bed and can sleep two children who won’t be charged extra.

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - Sofa

The desk was an ok size.  It was big enough for a small laptop and having plugs (UK, European and USB) on top of the table was perfect for charging whilst working. As you can see in the picture the room has a large smart TV where you can find information about the hotel and area, listen to playlists and watch TV.

The hotel is working on a system that allows to stream directly from your devices to the TV. For now you can connect your devices with a cable in the room to, for example, work on presentations.

The wifi was super fast and is for free for every guest.

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - Desk Wardrobe

You can see in the picture above that there was a wardrobe next to the desk, but this was not the only one. To the left of the small hallway you can find another one with mirror door and plug for the hair dryer – which makes a womans life a lot easier!

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - Wardrobe

Rob told me that, for regular guests, Robert Nadler has a bathrobe embroidered with their name which is kept in storage and brought out exclusively for them whenever they stay.  These are the sort of touches which he believes work better for his chain than having a traditional hotel loyalty scheme.

The bathroom was a decent size with a combined shower / bathtub:

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - Bathroom 1

and with enough room to put a few washbags next to each other. It also had a speaker so you could listen to the TV when being in the bathroom.

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - Bathroom 2

The toiletries were by Gilchrest & Soames.

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - Bathroom Toiletries

Every room in the hotel has got a kitchen with everything you need to prepare a quick snack (microwave), to have cereals in the morning (good size fridge) and to make a good cup of Nespresso (free capsules). The hotel also offers a breakfast delivery service for the same price as if you went down to the nearby bakery yourself, only adding a small delivery charge of £1.

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - kitchen

If you are familiar with the Victoria area, you know that there are never ending construction works going on all over the area.  Almost all of Victoria Street as well as the tube station is being rebuilt over a number of years.  In order for the hotel guests to not be bothered by noise, the windows are triple glazed. I can confirm that I didn’t hear any of outside noise.

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - View Construction

Your other room options

The superior rooms are slightly smaller than the deluxe rooms, having an armchair instead of a sofa. These rooms can sleep one additional person as there is a trundle bed with a thick mattress under the bed which can be pulled out at night and stored away during the day.

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - Superior Room

The bookcase rooms have (as the name suggests) gorgeous old book spines as wall decoration. These rooms are a bit smaller and don’t have a bathtub in the bathroom.

Nadler Hotel Victoria review - Bookcase Room

As you can see the rooms differ only in size and not style.

Did it work for me?

Robert Nadler’s philosophy is that his hotels are part of the community and that he works alongside other hospitality businesses instead of taking business away from them. By doing so, the hotel group is also able to keep the prices for the rooms down. This is a great approach which is a win win situation for the hotel, its guests and surrounding businesses.

(I have not discussed detailed pricing here because it obviously varies from night to night.  For Wednesday 15th June, however, the cheapest refundable room at The Nadler Victoria is £266.  The Conrad nearby – which is 5* rather than 4* – is an astonishing £445.  The unremarkable DoubleTree Victoria is £299.)

The Nadler Victoria is well designed (by Robert Nadler’s wife), has location related artworks throughout the building and rooms (painted by Robert Nadler’s stepson), the beds are incredibly comfortable and the location works well for many key tourist attractions and business areas.

It always depends, of course, on what you personally expect from a hotel.  If you prefer to have restaurants and bars only a lift ride away, The Nadler Victoria is probably not for you. We are, however, talking about Central London here and the Nadler hotels have easy access to the wide range of venues in Kensington, Soho or Victoria depending on which one you choose.

If you like to explore the areas you are staying in and appreciate a luxury room for a modest price then this is a brand worth considering.  The lack of loyalty benefits may put off some HFP readers but booking through, say, (where the hotel is rated ‘Outstanding’ with an average user score of 4.8/5) would let you pick up Rewards credit.

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  1. Were there any negatives?

    I think you forgot to include at the end “I was a guest of the hotel” or a preface that this is a paid advertorial since all photos link to the hotel website.

    • “Nadler Hotels provided us with a free night for this review but, as usual, HFP covered all other costs.”

    • General Mayhem says:

      It was made pretty clear in the article. I for one found it interesting as I have never heard of them but I would be happy to give them a try. Engagement with the local business community is very welcome.

      I am sure that, if you still feel misled by this article, Rob will cheerfully refund your subscription cost to ‘head for pints’.

    • It is often better to read the article before commenting on it.

    • Raffles says:

      Nah, don’t do those. Hard to believe, I know, but I did genuinely think that the story of how a very small, founder-dominated, hotel chain has become exceptionally well regarded in the hugely competitive London market was worth writing about.

      Also worth noting that a free night here has no perk value for us given that Anika lives centrally anyway and, had I done it, it would have been a modest walk from my house.

  2. Did you read the 3rd para???

    Rob met up with the founder of the chain, Robert Nadler, recently and we agreed that it would be interesting to take a look at what makes his hotels tick. Nadler Hotels provided us with a free night for this review but, as usual, HFP covered all other costs.

  3. The concept is attractive but why oh why do hotels think a crappy coffee machine is any substitute for a decent kettle. ( as a Brit in Italy I have strong views on coffee and tea 😉

    • Raffles says:

      Anika will generally mark a hotel down if a room does not provide enough high quality coffee to feed her habit :-) See past reviews …..

    • Tea is another matter, but are you genuinely suggesting that the coffee you can make with a sachet of instant Nescafe is superior to the stuff you can make with a Nespresso machine???

      • Mr Dee says:

        Good point, a kettle is only going to be beneficial for Tea or an instant type coffee.

        A selection of quality loose leaf tea and a kettle which you can set the temperature would be impressive.

      • Agree re instant coffee – but with no mention of the kettle (thanks for adding that Anika) it seemed that the Nespresso machine was the only hot drink source – and the “coffee” from that I find barely drinkable.

        • Still don’t get your point – are you suggesting then that hotels should supply cafetieres?? Don’t really see how one can do much better than a Nespresso machine for a hotel room. And their coffee isn’t actually that bad, as long as you don’t let the water run through the capsules too long – it’s certainly superior to all other similar types of machine I have tried. George Clooney isn’t the only reason it’s popular.

          • I wasn’t the one who mentioned cafetieres. When I read the article there was only mention of the Nespresso machine and no sign of a kettle in the pictures so my comment was about the trend to provide coffee making facilities but nothing to make tea – my morning fix. And as an aside I find coffee pod coffee pretty average but that is probably because I’m in Rome and good coffee is available in most bars for €1 or less (the tea is universally execrable).

            • Yep – can’t beat the coffee in Rome! :) But beggars in other countries can’t be choosers and Nespresso will do me for a hotel room.

          • Mr Dee says:

            If I really need a kettle then I make sure to bring my own travel kettle as many don’t supply them.

    • It’s a Nepresso coffee machine, far better than a kettle and a sachet of instant coffee.

    • I am SO SORRY, I simply forgot to mention the kettle (added it now). There was also a good selection of tea and the tap had a BRITA water filter to make tea and coffee taste better.

      • Haha 😀 I don’t drink tea/coffee so a plentiful supply of water or soft drinks is a much bigger plus for me :)

    • The_Real_A says:

      This is why a cafetiere is always in my bag :)

    • ElectroDuende says:

      Running the Nespresso without capsule will give you plenty of hot water… just make sure to throw away the first cup to get rid of any coffee flavour.

  4. Sounds like a nice hotel, so thanks for the review. £266 for a night is a bit steep, however. While the chains are generally only cheap at weekends in London and will often charge rates like those Anika quotes, sites like Secret Escapes always have 4 or 5 star hotels for much less than that. The Atheneum was available for £175, for instance, and that’s just one example. If you’re willing to pay £266 for a Wednesday night in London, then you can get a lot more for your money by going through Secret Escapes. You might even like to run an article on them some time, Rob – they have a referral system for sign-ups, so I’m sure you’d do well out of it! :))

    • The night I picked is an extremely expensive night so you shouldn’t compare it to random London days.

      In any event, I doubt many business travellers have Secret Escapes in their corporate travel policy!

      Isnt the Athenium closed? It is covered in scaffolding and the common areas seen shut off, so even if it is open there is a good reason why they are dumping rooms quietly ….

      • No, it’s not closed – just being refurbished, as far as I know. The rooms are pretty good, so they alone are a reason to stay there, even without the common areas.

        I know that Secret Escapes is no good for business travellers – but there are quite a lot of us leisure travellers among our readership. If you refer somebody, you get £25 stay credit per person, once they’ve made a booking, so you’d do quite well if you had a referral link. And they have some genuinely good deals for decent hotels in the best parts of London – significantly cheaper (and better) than most of the chain hotels during the week.

  5. I wonder if there is the potential for foul play to ‘game’ the Tripadvisor rankings?

    The hotel looks nice but having seen many other hotels on Tripadvisor which get to the top it’s an combination of hard and soft products.

    From that point of view, is it really that great? The point about having no gym/pool, no restaurant and no bar is presented as some kind of advantage (hey, you can get to know the area!) whereas in fact for someone that may be travelling on business, they are not advantages at all, in fact, pretty big downsides.

    There seems to be some justification of keeping costs down, but then it mentions that the hotel wastes money on making personalised bathrobes for each guest, something that delivers little value.

    It seems a solid hotel, but with just 236 reviews on Tripadvisor, I am not sure if something is amiss here. Most other hotels in the top ten are well into the four figures. And how many of those initial reviews were off comped nights, you have to wonder.

    The Premier Inn is number 45 on the list, so I think that is a more remarkable fact considering the number of really good 4/5 star hotels ranked below it.

    • Not ‘every’ guest, you need to become a regular visitor to get that. Robert told me that he used to let guests take them home but they are so bulky it didn’t work so they started keeping them around. Probably not a massive extra cost as you’d get a robe in your room anyway.

      Worth noting that the hotel has only been open for 5 months. That would mean 10 TripAdvisor reviews a week during that period.

    • Andrew says:

      You need to take being near the top of Tripadvisor with a pinch of salt. We recently stayed in the ‘best’ hotel in Hanoi. It was nice but certainly not the best hotel in the whole city. It was probably at the upper end of the mid-range hotels but because it exceeded expecations people gave it good reviews. The problem was that they were clearly getting a lot of business thanks to their Tripadvisor position and had priced themselves accordingly.

      If you stay in a truly luxury hotel your expectations are that much higher and it’s very difficult for a hotel match them, let alone exceed them

    • I think it’s rather missing the point to take TripAdvisor rankings as a measure purely of which is best. The people reviewing a Premier Inn won’t be scoring it based on a direct comparison with the best possible service and amenities a hotel could offer but based on what you would expect for a hotel of that level and price point. Thus a very well run budget hotel should rank considerably better than a less well run luxury hotel.

  6. surfnode says:

    We use the Soho Nadler regularly since it opened but it is a victim of it’s own success and getting quite expensive.

  7. FIRSTclstraveller says:

    I have used the Nadler Kensington (when it was base2stay) and always found it first class. Thanks for this interesting article.

    • I actually walked past it N-dred times on my way to work but never realised it was a fourth-star boutique hotel – looked like a student dormitory and hostel to me, to be honest…

  8. At the weekend, hotel rates are generally cheap. You can Happy Mondays deals at several Novotel/Mercure hotels for £60 in London – with status, you generally get an upgrade and might well get a room with a Nespresso machine etc. Hilton hotels are often around £100 at weekends – again, with status, you’d have Exec Lounge access and breakfast.

    I don’t see anything about the Nadler that would encourage me to book it at £123 at the weekend over a chain hotel at the rates I’ve quoted (plus I might get some bonus points etc by staying at a chain) or to book it at £200+ during the week, when I could get something else just as good for less.

  9. I have no issue with this article – I dont view it as an advert. I’m not swayed towards the hotel though. Firstly I live in Central London too so there is that….but neither the area (sorry) nor the concept does it for me. If I’m paying somewhere just South of £300 I want more than a room.

    • Agreed – a good quality, central, serviced studio apartment can be had for £130 a night and a 1-2 bed for the same price as these.

  10. I think the advertorial comments are the result of the article reading like one – a bland list of features and recitation of the management’s talking points – even if it has not actually been paid-for.

    • To be fair (and I haven’t visited the hotel) I imagine that there isn’t much you can criticise about a hotel which sells itself as ‘only rooms’ and then has good quality rooms and …. nothing else. “It does what it says on the tin” as they say.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        Quality of breakfast/gym/recommended restaurants? If the model is ‘we don’t provide X but our partner does’ then the quality of their partners’ services is fair game I think.

      • Although I’m not likely to stay here, the fact that they have realised that some guests want the ability to stream their own entertainment via the TV is a big plus. I stayed at the Sheraton (not Skyline) at Heathrow last year, which still had a CRT television – nothing like the 32″ advertised. It may have had a games console attached, but there was no way I could connect my laptop and watch what I wanted to see.

  11. I think the article is fine in context and we need content to keep this board going !

    However, as others have said, a hotel offering nothing more than a room and coffee machine needs either to be cheap or have some other USP not evident here. Certainly a few clicks of a mouse would see that £266 look pretty stupid against other options, even in the vicinity, which I know very well.

    However, having heard a review and seen the rooms, then were this hotel to crop up in a search when I needed a room, then I would consider it, but only on price. Status, loyalty and so forth at the chains and far better priced independents and small groups are available locally.

    • The £266 needs to be seen in the context of other hotels on the same night, eg the DoubleTree for £40 more round the corner and the Conrad for almost £200 more. This sort of debate is why we tried not to make it a review about price even though the selling point is ‘affordable luxury’.

      • Yes, but if its selling point is ‘affordable luxury’ – then you really need to focus on whether it is ‘affordable’ and whether it is ‘luxury’! The review suggests that it is not really the first and sort of the second. Comparing it to chains mid-week is as problematic as taking mid-week chain prices as a guideline for valuing points – their rates are hugely inflated and you’d have to be pretty silly or naive to pay them.

        • You need to remember that the bulk of the 20,000 daily visitors to this site – as opposed to the 100 people who supply most of the comments – are actually regular business travellers. The email subscriber list, which is presumably indicative of the overall reader base, is fundamentally ‘big corporate London’.

          • Thank goodness plenty of us non-Londoners comment to offset that imbalance 😛 😀

  12. barnaby100 says:

    I just got the Conrad for £153 on a Thursday night.

    I think the Hesperia (doubletree Victoria) is an odd hotel and you can hear the platform announcements from some rooms but I have colleagues who love it.

  13. Callum says:

    This probably reflects on me more than anything, but I rarely notice any major differences in these reviews between fancy hotels and a Premier Inn etc.. The general impression I get is always along the lines of “same basic principle but looks a little bit nicer and costs 3x the price”.

  14. James PG says:

    OT – on household Avios accounts, I’ve read the article but it seems commenting is now disabled.

    I have a household Avios account with my mother, we’re no longer at the same address and I would like to be able to transfer the c. 70,000 Avios that are in there into my BA Exec Club account.

    Is the best way to do this to download the form, fill it out so that the household account is disbanded and 100% of the Avios paid to me? Then I will be at liberty to transfer them into the BA Exec account?

    • Yes, with accounts you can divvy them up as you see fit and then you’d be free to transfer it across to your BAEC account from your one.

  15. “Nadler’s beds are so comfortable that…you can now buy them through the Nadler website.”
    I must be blind. Having hunted high and low, I can’t find the page. Any clues?