Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Review: I try the landmark London Hilton on Park Lane hotel

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

How to earn Hilton Honors points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Hilton Honors points.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

(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.)

Comments (45)

  • Alex says:

    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?

    • Rob says:

      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

        • Rob says:

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

      • Alex says:

        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.

        • Rob says:

          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.

  • 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.

    • Yuff says:

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

  • 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!)

    • Rob says:

      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.

  • Kai says:

    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!

  • Yuff says:

    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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…