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.
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 Westminster London is located just off Millbank and Lambeth Bridge, down the road from Tate Britain:
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.
First impressions of the lobby are good:
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 check-in staff acknowledged my Hilton Gold status.
The unifying artistic theme of the hotel is a range of playful portraits like this:
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:
As you can see, a diagonal ‘corridor’ makes it way past a large corner wardrobe:
…. and the sink, which is immediately on the left:
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:
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:
From the bathroom/dressing area you then enter the bedroom proper:
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:
…. as well as a sideboard with tea and coffee facilities and an empty mini fridge. There is a Nespresso machine with capsules:
Plus a rather entertaining sign in English and Chinese warning guests not to cook noodles in the 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.
Finally, here is the view on a dreary July day:
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:
Things were very quiet the night I was there and there were only a few other groups of people in the restaurant.
STK bring you their signature bread roll and dip when you are seated:
I went for the ceviche starter, which is good. I’m always a big fan of 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 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.
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:
Breakfast at The Westminster London
On the other side of STK is further seating which is used during the breakfast service:
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!
Beyond the cooked options the offering is a little meagre:
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.
Whilst the finishing touches are being made on the upper floors the gym has relocated to the very top:
This has great views across London and features a mezzanine floor. The gym will stay here permanently.
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.
How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (October 2021)
There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
The Platinum Card comes with a limited time bonus of 60,000 Amex points (converts to 120,000 Hilton Honors points) until 2nd November 2021.
Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.
You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)