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Review: The Westminster London, a Hilton Curio Collection hotel (ex-DoubleTree)

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This is our review of The Westminster London hotel.

Formerly the DoubleTree Westminster, the hotel has undergone a significant refurbishment over the winter and has opted to swap brands to Curio Collection by Hilton.

Curio is a brand aimed at high-end hotels which want to be part of the Hilton Honors ecosystem without having to follow a specific brand manual. They are usually more boutique-y than you would otherwise find in a Hilton or DoubleTree branded hotel.

Review: The Westminster London, a Hilton Curio Collection hotel

Hilton invited us to take a look at The Westminster now that it has (almost) finished its renovation works, with final touches to some floors still being made.

The hotel website is here.

Location

The Westminster London is located just off Millbank and Lambeth Bridge, down the road from Tate Britain:

Westminster London location

The area itself is fairly quiet, filled with residential and office blocks, but you can Boris bike to Soho and the West End within 15 minutes or so.

Whilst it has the styling of a boutique hotel, it’s hard to call The Westminster ’boutique’ in practice. There are 464 rooms across 12 floors. Readers with long memories will know that this originally opened as a ‘Mint’ hotel, the chain famous for putting candy-coloured iMac computers in every room.

The Westminster London hotel exterior

Check in

First impressions of the lobby are good:

The Westminster London hotel lobby

My check-in was quick and easy, although things are still very quiet. The Westminster London definitely feels tourist rather than business-oriented and tourism to the UK is still way down.

The Westminster London hotel checkin

The check-in staff acknowledged my Hilton Gold status.

The unifying artistic theme of the hotel is a range of playful portraits like this:

The Westminster London hotel artwork

Room

I was given a room on the 11th floor, a ‘Queen Premium Corner Room’. This is currently the highest category room at The Westminster London, with a number of suites still being finished.

Whilst the room footprint was a fairly standard rectangle, the room is laid out in a unique and innovative way. Rather than walking down a dim corridor past a bathroom to the bed, The Westminster has merged the corridor and bathroom to create a far more open and welcoming layout that makes the space feel much larger than it is. Here is what you see when you enter:

The Westminster London hotel room

As you can see, a diagonal ‘corridor’ makes it way past a large corner wardrobe:

The Westminster London hotel wardrobe

…. and the sink, which is immediately on the left:

The Westminster London hotel bathroom

The lack of hand towel rails is a small pet peeve of mine, and unfortunately The Westminster falls into this trap, although the toilet door handle can act as a rail.

Toilet and shower are then in separate cubicles, with twin rainfall and normal shower head:

The Westminster London hotel toilet

and

The Westminster London hotel shower

Note that this is not real marble, although the effect is pretty convincing. It lends the room a more premium feel although, with just one down-light, both can feel quite dark.

Whilst The Westminster London is currently making its way through its stock of Crabtree & Evelyn DoubleTree toiletries it will soon be introducing its own brand of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner:

The Westminster London Curio Collection by Hilton - toiletries

From the bathroom/dressing area you then enter the bedroom proper:

The Westminster London hotel bedroom

This is a corner room so you get the corner bench by the window. Beyond that, I believe the room is fairly similar to any other room. Clever use of space gets you a proper desk, which I spent most of the afternoon working at:

The Westminster London hotel desk

…. as well as a sideboard with tea and coffee facilities and an empty mini fridge. There is a Nespresso machine with capsules:

The Westminster London hotel coffee machine

Plus a rather entertaining sign in English and Chinese warning guests not to cook noodles in the kettle:

The Westminster London hotel kettle

At the end of your bed you get a 50″ TV, and of course there are plenty of plug and USB sockets around for all your connectivity needs.

The Westminster London hotel tv

Finally, here is the view on a dreary July day:

The Westminster London hotel view

All in all it is very well done, and the innovative room layout means they have managed to fit a lot of parts into a smaller room. I particularly liked the corner desk which is spacious enough to work at but is tucked away into the corner.

Dinner at STK

The main restaurant in the hotel has been taken over by STK, a trendy pre-party Friday night steakhouse. This is the second STK to open in London, after the one in the ME London hotel on the Strand.

If you don’t know it, STK is a popular destination restaurant with an influency-Essex crowd. Rob told me a harrowing story about what he found when he accidentally walked into the very full-on experience that is ME London’s STK Sunday lunch recently ….

They often have a DJ booth (unoccupied on my Tuesday night) and Instagrammable features such as this sign:

The Westminster London hotel restaurant

Things were very quiet the night I was there and there were only a few other groups of people in the restaurant.

The Westminster London hotel stk restaurant

and

The Westminster London hotel bar

STK bring you their signature bread roll and dip when you are seated:

The Westminster London hotel restaurant

I went for the ceviche starter, which is good. I’m always a big fan of ceviche:

The Westminster London hotel ceviche

The STK menu lets you pick and mix your steak, topping and sauce depending on what you like. I went for the smallest steak, a 200g fillet steak, topped with lobster tail and bearnaise sauce:

The Westminster London hotel

The steak was cooked to my preference although it could have been served hotter – the plate was a little on the cooler side, so I’m not sure if it had been warmed or not. Note that you also have to order sides separately – as you can see above I went for a range of vegetables.

When it comes to dessert there are only three options on the menu: a cheesecake, warm cookie or chocolate cake.

The Westminster London hotel stk

We opted to share the cookie which was pretty disappointing and not to the same standard as the rest of the meal. To be honest, you’d be better off buying a bag of utterly addictive triple-choc-chip cookies from Sainsbury’s ….

There is also another, more casual, restaurant called Bao Yum:

The Westminster London Bao Yum hotel restaurant

Breakfast at The Westminster London

On the other side of STK is further seating which is used during the breakfast service:

The Westminster London breakfast hotel

A side-room is opened up and this is where you’ll find the current breakfast offering. This included a full hot breakfast buffet, which is served by a member of staff who was very eager to fill up my plate to the max!

The Westminster London hot breakfast hotel

and

The Westminster London hotel breakfast

Beyond the cooked options the offering is a little meagre:

The Westminster London hotel breakfast

There are brown bags with mini croissants/pain au chocolat, pots of yoghurt, fruit and mini cereal boxes. The breakfast feels a little lacklustre given the ‘Curio Collection’ branding, and I’ve also been to DoubleTrees with more substantial breakfast offerings. It may be that it improves now that lockdown restrictions have been fully lifted.

Gym

Whilst the finishing touches are being made on the upper floors the gym has relocated to the very top:

The Westminster London hotel gym

This has great views across London and features a mezzanine floor. The gym will stay here permanently.

Conclusion

The team behind The Westminster London have pulled off an effective rebrand and refurbishment of this large hotel. Bar the soon to be replaced toiletries you’d never know the hotel was previously a DoubleTree.

The rooms are particularly impressive, with an excellent use of space that helps to open up an otherwise fairly small footprint.

Staff were extremely attentive at every point – at reception, at dinner and at breakfast.

There is room to improve the breakfast offering and tweak some items on the STK menu but otherwise The Westminster London has opened hiccough-free and offers a great base for exploring London.

Lead-in prices start from £165 per night. The Hilton Honors cap for this hotel is 60,000 points (you can check caps here) so – given our 0.33p target valuation of a Hilton point – you would be getting outsize value from a redemption whenever room rates were above £200.

You can see more, and book, on the hotel website here.


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Comments (69)

  • Clara says:

    Walking straight into the bathroom? No thanks!

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Agreed. So if two people are staying in a hotel room, one returns at a different time to the other … heads upstairs, opens the door … and both that person and everyone walking past is treated to the sight of the other room occupant churning a log on the toilet, to the happiness of nobody.
      Sounds like the stupidest idea ever to me.

      • Aaron C says:

        The lav is in its own little room with an opaque door. You open the main room door into a large vestibule which contains the wardrobe and the sink. The lav and the shower are to the left with full length opaque doors to each. There is another sliding door to the bed area which contains the corner desk. The layout is fine.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Brushing their teeth perhaps.

    • BJ says:

      Not unique, I’ve seen variations on the same elsewhere dating as far back as motels in the USA forty years ago. Even stayed in one somewhere in Asia where the bathroom (not the toilet) walls were clear glass with no way to shade them: not a place for the modest! Holiday Inn Resort and Spa Patong Beach (the best HI branded hotel I ever stayed) was similar but at least it had electric shades if you wanted to use them. I think the idea was that you could relax in the bath and watch TV if you wanted as there were speakers and controls in the bathroom itself.

  • 1ATL says:

    While perhaps aesthetically pleasing upon initial observation, this obsession some hotel designers have with style over function is lost on me. Who on earth has a wet room come hall way at home and why would I want to experiment with that concept in a hotel room? I stayed at a Park Inn at Zurich Airport once where the shower cubicle was literally opposite the bed and the toilet was hidden away in what felt like a cupboard. And every W Hotels I’ve stayed in has had the same stupid concept of open plan bath/wet rooms with very little privacy from the bedroom so I’m guessing it’s appealing and acceptable to millennials to answer the front door while sat on the toilet. I have to say it’s all lost on me.

    • Aaron C says:

      Heh Sheraton Gran Canaria (now Salobre) has a large clear window between the bath/shower and the bed area. Dunno if you want your OH to see you in the shower all the time.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        What are you up to that you wouldn’t …

        I have no real issue in a king, though I’ve occasionally shared with bro/friend if that’s all there was you’d find a way round it. BUT I honestly I don’t understand TWIN rooms that have these features. The fact you’re not willing to share a bed is probably a massive give away to the fact you don’t want to see the other person in the shower!

  • Perkypat says:

    Wife has been booked in here by work in November. They must have an offer on because its usually Premier Inn or Travelodge.

    • Mike says:

      My work has a Travelodge first policy, Premier Inn by exception and only if no Travelodge with in 10 miles / 30 mins travelling time has a vacancy

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Your work must be a blast.

        • Barnaby100 says:

          Plastic sheets on the bed at the travel lodge

        • Rob says:

          These things are relative, of course. If Mike works for a charity which works hard to funnel every penny into more grants then fair enough. If Mike works for a business where the CEO pockets £2m per year then he should have quit years ago (and you can only imagine what other fun policies such an employer has).

          HfP has investment banking levels of travel policy, which of course comes out of my pocket at the end of the day, so I am fully qualified to comment on this before anyone chimes in!

    • Barnaby100 says:

      It always used to be on the public sector lists when a city inn/mint but dropped off when moved to Hilton

      £120 used to be the price limit for London for civil service

  • old codger says:

    “The area itself is fairly quiet, filled with residential and office blocks, but you can Boris bike to Soho and the West End within 15 minutes or so.”

    I didn’t realise Boris bike was a verb. I’m guessing Rhys wasn’t in London when Ken Livingston set up the feasibility study and eventual green lighting for the cycle hire scheme. Boris saw a winner, and like usual, swung over to support it and take credit for it. Not an original idea in that man’s head.

    • Sloth says:

      Yeah but a “Ken bike” doesn’t trip of the tongue quite so well, does it…?

  • Peter says:

    Ibis budget always has the sink in the room. – Looks like all you need to do is make the room look more expensive and you can charge 3x the price…

  • Kurt says:

    Used to live next door in 2003 and 2004 when the place was being built. Yes, a quiet part of zone 1. With a lot of redevelopment in the past 20 years.

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