Back in 2018, Hilton announced an overhaul of its Hampton by Hilton budget hotel brand for the first time in 10 years. Building hotels takes time, of course, so it has taken two years for the first new-look hotel to open in the Europe / Middle East / Africa region.
Hilton chose Ealing! I’m not sure why, but given they could have picked anywhere in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Ealing was too convenient to ignore. I popped over to take a look.
Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Hampton by Hilton, Courtyard by Marriott and Holiday Inn Express hotels, as well as Premier Inn, if they are new builds. The quality level is very high these days and they are sweeping away bed and breakfast and low-quality independent competition wherever they open.
The new look Hampton by Hilton raises the bar further. The quality of this hotel is SUBSTANTIALLY better than the Holiday Inn Bournemouth which I reviewed on Monday. There is real pressure now on the core Hilton, Marriott and Holiday Inn brands to raise their game before they get eaten by their own children.
The new-look Hampton by Hilton room
Let’s take a look at what I found. Fundamentally, Hilton has used a number of clever innovations to allow it to fit a lot into a small room. (Hilton has an ‘Innovation Gallery’ in the hotel attached to its Head Office in Virginia, which I visited in 2018.)
Part of the ‘next generation’ strategy is to reduce room size without making them feel smaller. To be fair, I think Hilton has pulled it off.
Let’s look at a few features:
Above the bed are a number of pictures and artefacts. You can see a framed record, and the one on the left is a made from an old letter. It is not behind a frame, interestingly.
Here is another shot which shows the artwork off in a better way:
The floor is wooden with a large rug under and around the bed.
There are a lot of sockets. Two plugs on each side of the bed plus a USB.
There is large padded headboard behind the pillows, for people who like to work from their bed.
So far, so standard. It then gets more interesting:
Next to the bed is a modular green sofa. This is basically made out of four different units which can be moved around, and could even be used to create an extra sleeping area.
Thankfully, Hilton has not gone down the – perhaps now abandoned – industry trend of dumping desks. Yes, it saves space, but it also annoys your customers. Instead you have this:
A huge 55 inch TV – as good, if not better, than most people would have at home. More interesting is the area below:
There is a flip-out desk. This is very clever, allowing you to have a virtually full depth work area which only takes up a very small amount of room space when not in use. It doesn’t wobble at all, before you ask. This has another two plugs plus a USB.
There is a fridge provided (not always a given in budget or even mid-range hotels) and a kettle. This was a surprise though – the fridge and kettle are from Smeg. High quality, attractive and not cheap. Note also the leather handles on the drawers.
The ‘wardrobe’ is what you come to expect from low cost hotels these days, ie an open rail. The coathangers are ‘proper’ ones and not the silly ‘unstealable’ ones I had to contend with at Holiday Inn Bournemouth.
There isn’t much you can do to revolutionise a hotel bathroom of course. Toiletries are from dispensers.
The one novel element is that the sink surface is made as one piece. They haven’t cut a hole in the counter top and dropped in a sink – it is one large moulded chunk of plastic. It looks different and is presumably a lot easier to clean.
The shower has a rainfall and a traditional head.
Down in the lobby …..
The lobby follows the current trend of being a combined eat / drink / work / socialise space. See:
There is no restaurant but you can order paninis and other snacks 24/7 from the bar or reception.
The breakfast room in the basement is currently closed. I popped down there but it was in darkness (and has no windows!). Guests receive a ‘brown bag’ breakfast of croissant, muffin, cereal bar, orange juice, a mandarin and coffee, to eat in the lobby or their room.
There is a good sized gym in the basement.
About Hampton by Hilton London Ealing
As I visited the hotel, I should round out the article to make it a full review. It’s a great hotel, in a brand new building. The only thing I don’t understand is why it was built where it is.
It isn’t just the Hampton. Within 90 seconds walk on Uxbridge Road you have an ibis Styles and a Travelodge, and a Premier Inn is under construction. Why?! You are still 10 minutes walk from Ealing Broadway tube station, which is quite a trot at night or in bad weather or with luggage.
OK, Crossrail will eventually open, but the distance from the station won’t change. West Ealing station is a little nearer – this is National Rail serving Paddington, and Heathrow via the TFL Rail services.
Ealing Broadway itself is a decent area, with a huge number of shops and restaurants between the hotel and station.
At the moment you can get rooms for £56 per night which is ludicrously good value, given that this includes breakfast and everything is brand new.
If this is the Hampton by Hilton of the future, then I’m impressed.
(I accept that this one, as the first ‘next generation’ Hampton in EMEA, will be used by Hilton to market the brand to potential franchisees. It may have been a little over-specified for this reason.)
You have what is, effectively, a budget hotel with a more sockets, a better TV, a better kettle, a better fridge, a better shower and arguably better decoration than many people have at home. The pressure on the four-star hotel brands is going to get tougher.