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My review of the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel, London

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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 lastminute.com’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 hotel review

The rooms at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge

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 hotel review

with a very modern wardrobe:

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel review

and a TV opposite:

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel review

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 hotel review

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

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel review

and another TV:

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel review

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

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge 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:

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel review

… there is also a sushi bar ….

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel review

…. a large main restaurant

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel review

with a big wine selection ….

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel review

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

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel review

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 hotel review

Service

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.

Earning Radisson Rewards points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, you can earn Radisson Rewards points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.  These include:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points (= 30,000 Radisson Rewards points) sign-up bonus

The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points (= 90,000 Radisson Rewards points) sign-up bonus

American Express Rewards credit card – 5,000 Membership Rewards points (= 15,000 Radisson Rewards points) sign-up bonus

It is worth noting that holders of The Platinum Card receive free Radisson Rewards Gold status for as long as they hold the card.  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Melia Rewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:3 into Radisson Rewards points which is a very attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Amex point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 3 Radisson Rewards points.

(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.)

Comments (20)

  • 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!

    • Rob says:

      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.

  • 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!

  • Susan says:

    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.