I check into the London Hilton on Park Lane on my £55 room deal!

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This is my review of the London Hilton on Park Lane hotel.

Back in April, we covered a special promotion that Hilton was running to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Hilton London Park Lane.  55 rooms were being sold at £55 each.  Most of them ended up being booked by Head for Points readers.

If you live or work in West London then the Hilton London Park Lane is literally hard to avoid.  I have seen it numerous times per week for the last couple of decades, I have eaten in the restaurant and I’ve had family stay there.

It also intrigued me, because it is Hilton’s best known hotel in London.  It is where the Beatles met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, it has been bombed by the IRA and it is where Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries died in January.  Even better, it turns out that this is where the Pools Panel used to meet every Saturday to decide that Rotherham United vs Barnsley would have been a 2-2 draw had Millmoor not been waterlogged.

It is, however, a long way from being the most luxurious Hilton in London despite its Park Lane location and neighbours (Four Seasons, Metropolitan, Dorchester, Grosvenor House etc).  That award goes to the Conrad London St James in Victoria which I reviewed here.

I had never actually taken a proper look inside Hilton Park Lane.  Given that my Diamond status was good for executive lounge access and free breakfast, I paid my £55 and booked myself in to take a look.

Hilton London Park Lane review

Check in

London Hilton on Park Lane is not a hugely attractive building although it certainly isn’t the worst 1960’s tower in London. Hilton can’t do much about that, but they could have done something about the interiors.

The reception area, in particular, is a 1980s throwback.  The doorman ignored me whilst talking to a chauffeur he clearly knew.  On your right as you enter is the entrance heading down to Trader Vic’s, the polynesian restaurant in the basement which I have managed to avoid for the last 25 years.

A Middle Eastern jewellery boutique is on your right, and the whole feel – down to the smell and the dark wood and brass furnishings – gives the impression of a first generation Dubai hotel.

Check-in was swift and polite.  No-one mentioned my £55 rate although it was printed on the check-in document.

I was upgraded from a standard King room (floors 5-8) to a King Executive Deluxe.  As I was a Diamond the ‘Executive’ bit made no difference as I was getting lounge access anyway.  An Executive Deluxe gets you a room on floors 18 to 27 (I got 18!) as well as slippers and a robe.  I think that’s it.

I once put my brother in here on a points stay – booked from my account as a Hilton Gold – and he got upgraded to a suite so big it had a full dining table in it!  That clearly wasn’t happening here.

Hilton London Park Lane review

My room

It is hard to dislike a hotel room which is 18 floors up and which half-faced Hyde Park, basking in the Spring sun.  I wasn’t so high that I was looking down on the park, but I was high enough to take in the full vista.

Hilton London Park Lane review

The view was the best bit.  The rest was a bit, well, dull.  The Executive Deluxe rooms are described as ‘modern style’ so there may be older rooms elsewhere in the building.

Hilton London Park Lane review

Everything was working and correct – a decent desk and chair, lots of sockets, lots of lights, a suitable comfy bed, a sofa chair – but it lacked any sort of ‘wow’ factor apart from the view.  Some furniture seemed new, other bits like the desk seemed older.

Hilton London Park Lane review

The bathroom continued the ‘decidedly average’ theme.  Again, perfectly acceptable but there was no stand-alone shower, only one sink and the toiletries were the boring Hilton ‘Peter Thomas Roth’ brand.  I seemed to have the full Roth collection here including the lesser-spotted toothbrushes, mouthwash and shaving kit.

Hilton London Park Lane review

That said, the more time I spent there the more it grew on me.  The view was astonishing, although not all front-facing rooms can see the park because of the odd shape of the facade.  It took me a while to realise that I had got lucky or had been given a good one as a Diamond.

The executive lounge

I was here for afternoon tea, evening canapes and breakfast.   The lounge is split into two rooms of similar size.  Weirdly, possibly for the Middle Eastern market, the alcohol is in one room in the evening whilst the food is in the other.  This is a bit inconvenient.

Hilton London Park Lane review

The highlight was afternoon tea.  The hotel sells afternoon tea in its 28th floor Galvin-run restaurant so the kitchen is already geared up to making impressive scones, macarons etc.  I liked it a lot.

Hilton London Park Lane review

The evening spread was also good and you could get enough here to save yourself from having to eat out if you were busy.  There was a large salad bar, some chicken and mini polenta, rice, noodle and quiche lorraine dishes. There was prosecco, including rose, and a wide range of wines and spirits.  No champagne.

Hilton London Park Lane review

The breakfast also compared well to what was on offer downstairs, and there were some items – Coco Pops! – which were only in the lounge.

Unfortunately the lounge is let down by its too-brown furnishings and general lack of atmosphere.  It was frustrating.  The London Hilton on Park Lane is easy to sum up – it puts a lot of effort into ensuring that everything is ‘good enough’ but does not push the boat out anywhere.

Restaurant breakfast

Breakfast at Hilton London Park Lane was a real let-down.  I decided to have two breakfasts in the name of research.  Restaurant breakfast is served in the Podium cafe on the ground floor.

When I went in I was shocked at how small the space was for a 28-floor hotel.  There were fewer than 100 seats and obviously people don’t want to share, so in reality it could probably handle 40 rooms at a time at most. Even then, only a handful of seats were occupied at 7.15am although it was a little busier by 8am.  The lounge only had around 10 guests at 9am when I popped in.

Hilton London Park Lane review

Breakfast was just ‘fine’.  Apart from a couple of impressive looking muffins, the word that kept coming to mind was ‘average’.  Average choice, average presentation and frankly a below-average room to eat it in.  It was just ….. ‘meh’.

I didn’t check out the fitness centre or the casino.  I have eaten in the 28th floor restaurant before, which also has a smart bar.  This is run independently and attracts a huge amount of outside custom so you should make reservations in advance if you are staying here.

Conclusion

The London Hilton on Park Lane is ‘only’ a Hilton and comparing it to, say, InterContinental Paris Le Grand is unfair.   The room was on a par with the tired one I had last time I stayed at InterContinental London Park Lane, reviewed here.   The InterCon has funkier public areas however.

In truth if I could be certain to get a room with a similar view on future stays I would go back.  Hotel rooms, even luxury ones, tend to merge into each other after a while but the view of London you get here really stands out.

Elsewhere, I felt that the hotel was really catering for the Middle Eastern market.  The scent in reception, the Moussaieff jewellery boutique and the separation of the alcohol in the lounge all made me feel that I was abroad rather than in London.

At the end of the day this may all be moot anyway.  Plans are underway to turn the majority of the hotel into apartments.  London Hilton on Park Lane may have hit its 55th birthday but it may not reach its 60th.

The London Hilton on Park Lane website is here if you want to find out more or book.

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

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Comments

  1. Caleb says:

    My turn to try it out soon, thanks to HFP. So to sum up, staying in lounge for the breakfast is good enough, right? 🙂

  2. Good review, and perfectly sums it up! Odd question… but did you sleep overnight or pop home? Just wondering if the traffic noise from the circus below kept you awake.

  3. Best line…..had to read the full article…but worth it:
    “London Hilton on Park Lane may have hit its 55th birthday but it may not reach its 60th.”

    LOL!

    • Sussex Bantam says:

      My favourite line was “in the interests of research I decided to have two breakfasts” Yeah…right…

  4. I was there a couple of weeks ago for 3 nights on the £55 rate and got a similar upgrade albeit to the 22nd floor to be fair. Your review pretty much summed it up, view apart it really is nothing special and if anything quite the opposite its a very tired hotel! Maybe your over bath shower was different to mine but it flooded the bathroom as the shower screen was so small, so that made the room even worse in my view!

    I think the doorman ignoring people is pretty much their standard, same happened to me, just he stood in the middle of the door way chatting away blocking me and my 2 suitcases gettign past! Had to actually ask him to move!

  5. I used to stay here frequently, when it wasn’t 80,000 points. So much so, that I was known to many of the staff and managers. Agree it’s a bit ‘meh’, especially compared to it’s neighbours. The suites are nice (often get upgraded at the weekend).

    I like the downstairs breakfast, seems to cover all the bases fairly well. Perfect as a diamond 🙂

    Re. the lounge alcohol. I’ve never had a problem brining drinks into the larger section overlooking Park Lane. In fact, I’ve been asked to when I was there with my youngest – children “not allowed” in that section when the bar is open.

  6. David says:

    So is Bankside the best choice for Hilton brand hotels in central London?

    • I really like the Canary Wharf, granted it’s not central London. Heard good things about Tower Bridge

      • Stayed in the Tower Bridge a couple of years ago. OK, and the free cocktail was nice – gave me a free choice.

        Nice new rooms with good decor, and probably the best room computer I have seen – some Apple thing.

        Even a green wall in the internal courtyard which proves that green walls die very quickly.

        Would go back.

        • Forgot – mine was the Tower Bridge DoubleTree. In my mind a Hilton.

      • David says:

        I like Canary Wharf too – and got upgraded to a lovely suite last time. Dirt cheap at the weekends and surprisingly easy to get to from a lot of London.

    • bosco says:

      Bankside is fab. Stayed there over Christmas once just after it opened. Finally a breakfast chef who could make a proper omlette!

      • Omelettes are my go-to for breakfast at a Hilton, the head chef at Glasgow is a top bloke for this.

        However some DoubleTrees (Newcastle Airport) want a £5 for the privilege :-O

  7. Long term reader says:

    About time HFP actually reviews a PAID stay and isn’t gushing with praise.

    • We would never have accepted a free night here to do a review though. We only review places which we know readers will like. Only a total idiot would accept a free night in a hotel with a bad reputation and only an idiot chain would offer up such a room in the first place.

      My personal, ie not charged to the business, hotel spend last year was over £20,000. None of it was reviewed.

      • I was disappointed when I stayed here. The windows in my room were constantly covered with condensation (it was October) and the executive lounge was rammed full of barefoot, scruffy, loudmouthed guests with obvious hygiene issues, although I can’t blame the hotel for that! Trader Vics was fun…

        • The clientele in the lounge is definitely not high end, I agree. This is a tourist hotel though at the end of the day and anyone with money has probably 2,000 more luxurious Park Lane rooms to choose from.

      • Keith W says:

        How often do you stay at home?!

        • I have two kids so we’re taking two rooms or a suite in prime hotels during school holidays. Adds up quickly. Had we paid for Hilton Bournemouth the other weekend it would have been £1200 for the 2 nights for example.

          We are in Zurich on Monday and, as it isn’t a holiday there, even the mid- range Marriott is £600.

  8. RichT says:

    Beware – Hilton decided my stay on this rate was non-qualifying.

    As I started the Diamond status challenge on the day ofy stay there it was very annoying! Got all the benefits in the hotel but then it posted to my account with 0 points and 0 stay credit.

    Whinged in twitter that it wasn’t stated anywhere on my confirmation and they’ve awarded my points and credit “as a one off”…!

    • That is annoying for the challenge. If I don’t get my 1000 or so points I will probably survive 🙂

      Never had a non-qualifying Hilton room though. Even reward stays are qualifying after all.

  9. A bit disappointed (or maybe glad) to hear this… I’ve booked it in August for partner’s birthday (via the HH credit card voucher). Any other recommendations for the occasion? Conrad St James, as mentioned in the article?

    • Do you have status? Conrad has nice lounge but some rooms are small with no real view. Huge blocks of flats are being built literally next door too on the old New Scotland Yard site. If you are Diamond and you want ‘classy’ it is the best bet though – or if you’re off to see Hamilton round the corner.

      • Arnold says:

        Does the Conrad beat The Trafalgar? I have a reward voucher to use & can’t decide

        • Not been inside since the Curio rebrand. No lounge IIRC. Funky rooftop bar overlooking Trafalgae Square.

      • Just Silver unfortunately – haven’t reached 10k spend on the card yet. Thanks for the heads up though! Any other suggestions? St James Curio Collection?
        I’ll be trying to pay extra for an executive upgrade in any case.

        • Bankside is the best modern one, but that is behind Tate Modern. No easy answer. Park Lane has views and location, Conrad has class, Bankside is most modern. Trafalgar has the rooftop bar.

  10. Alex W says:

    Casino?? That got my attention! Don’t suppose you earn honors points on your stakes, though…

    I’ve got a stay in June, think I’m glad I opted for the intercontinental next door instead. Used creation free night certificate. The full price at these hotels is obscene and certainly sounds like the Hilton isn’t worth the full price, be it cash or points.

    • The IC is a nice hotel, worth paying for lounge access imo especially if you want to have a few drinks 😉

  11. Russell Gowers says:

    Sounds like every other Hilton I’ve stayed in in Central London then – tired, “just good enough” rather than “superb”, and overpriced.

    I think the nicest Hilton property I’ve used in Central was the Doubletree at Tower Bridge. Fresh, modern and a superb Exec lounge (no spirits but some half decent wines and beer on tap!)

    • That used to a Mint hotel, that’s why. They were built to a high standard. Westminster is meant to be equally good.

      • Stu N says:

        Yes Doubletree Tower Bridge is good. Rooftop bar with free introductory cocktail (HH Gold) and a few more paid not entirely compatible with 0830 meeting next day.

  12. Why didn’t you do OLCI? Was upgraded to executive room beforehand and all floors were available. Followed advice from flyertalk and picked 2117. Didn’t regret it!

  13. Almost worth having a separate tab for best hotels with status and tricks/tips to get best rooms and lounge access especially with the changes in Marriott / SPG recently as all these extras certainly make hotel stays much more valuable 🙂

    • Mark F says:

      Well…I’ve discovered recently that as a Gold member, with Digital Key, you get de facto access to lounges without upgrade to a qualifying room. 2 Hiltons recently where the Exec Lounge shows on the key (along with lift and room). A real boost as I’m still 8 stays away from Diamond, when this trick becomes academic!

  14. ankomonkey says:

    On the subject of Coco Pops, my son split his bowl on our living room carpet this morning. They’re so chocolatey, they even turn the carpet brown.

  15. Bagoly says:

    Test for whether they are really focussing on the Middle East market: what meat is in the sausages at the breakfast buffet?

    Hotels in Switzerland a few years ago seemed to be offering only lamb sausages.
    I don’t object to adding those – diversity is good, but I do object when they therefore do not offer pork ones.
    Based on my limited sample, they seem to have swung back to pork recently?

    • KevMc says:

      When I was there on Sunday morning, they had both chicken and pork sausages available.

  16. KevMc says:

    My wife and I stayed here at the weekend using the 55% off discount that ran when the £55 rooms had sold out, and we loved it.

    We were upgraded to an Exec room (1813) and had lounge access, as I am Diamond – the room had an incredible view, we thought the room was nice and the lounge was good. We actually both enjoyed our stay more than when we had 2 nights at the Conrad in February, but it looks like we are in the minority (perhaps it was the weather?).

    We are heading to Shanghai next week, and have 5 nights in the Waldorf Astoria. We booked through BA Holidays when they had the Chinese New Year flash sale on in order to get a (massively) reduced rate at the hotel – does anyone have any tips on getting Diamond status recognised? I know technically we won’t get any, as we have booked via a 3rd party, but 6 breakfasts and 5 lots of food/drink in the lounge would save us a few more quid…

  17. Roger1* says:

    I’ve not stayed at the Hilton Park Lane for many years. In one sense, it is satisfying to see that the rooms have barely changed. 😀

    When I was working in Halkin Street (diagonally opposite across Hyde Park Corner over the Wellington Arch), we often used the Hilton for US guests. FWIW I preferred the Hilton Mews behind the Hilton. Our VIPs went to the Goring.

    The Zurich Marriott at £600 is expensive as a result of exchange rates. I suspect that the CHF rate compares reasonably with historical rates in CHF. When I got married, the rate was CHF 7.50 to £1 rather than today’s 1.33. Yes, I feel poor … 🙁

    [OT: another minifont article, difficult to read]

    • That’s two rooms for £600 mind ….

      The first luxury hotel I ever stayed at was the Hilton Park Lane Mews. This would have been 1989 or so. The hotel still exists (I saw it on Monday) but is now independent. They allowed cross-charging and it was a bit of an overflow place. Today they would call it the executive wing and sell it as an exclusive quieter experience!

      • Roger1* says:

        Ah, yes, I did think £300 or so was a little steep after I posted.

        One more from Memory Lane: the Mews was steps from Tiddy Dols restaurant, which our US visitors loved. Long since gone. Time to stop reminiscing, Rog!

  18. barnaby100 says:

    Bankside is a much better Hilton than the Conrad. Run by the same company. I stay at both very regularly and Bankside is hands down winner for rooms, upgrades and breakfast. Conrad wins on location but some rooms are very noisy and the internal ones have a limited phone signal- the rooms under the flagpole flap all night and some of the rooms are under the hop on hop off bus so you get the tour booming out every 20 minutes. Conrad has some nice rooms but it has some really poor rooms. Bankside is newer and so very consistent. Even though both lounges have been significantly downgraded recently they are ok, again I would say that Bankside is better, Conrad used to be much better but they reduced evening food offer. Always loads of idiots having business meetings (interviewing prospective staff) or loud conference calls in the Conrad lounge- the Bankside doesn’t have a great mobile phone signal in the lounge- luckily.

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