I stayed here recently on a Friday night with a friend as a celebratory treat. We had booked two standard doubles but were kindly upgraded to the next room-type. Despite this, and not wishing to sound ungrateful, we were rather underwhelmed by our stay. I appreciate that this is a soft-opening, and therefore I expected there to be a few teething problems, but I was surprised at how wrong some of the basics still were. The hotel is undoubtedly aesthetically quite pleasing but it just doesn't function as a 5* star hotel, eco-friendly or not. Firstly, the location - it isn't great. Yes, it's by the river but obviously only some of the rooms have that view. The room I was in did but the bed was positioned facing away from it, overlooking the Travis Perkins building supplies yard opposite the hotel. Very strange. There are no bars or restaurants very near to the hotel and it's about a 15 min walk to central Clapham which is good but the route is through unfamiliar residential streets and we were warned to be careful in the area by our cab-driver. The hotel does offer a complimentary shuttle service to Clapham Junction and Sloane Square but it isn't always available immediately, so walking is really the best option (and eco-friendly too!). The main problem with the location though is the noise from the heli-pad next door. You can definitely hear when helicopters are flying overhead, although it didn't disturb our sleep - I think we just got used to it. The other noisy feature was the open ceiling vents that seemed to open straight up into the ceiling cavity above. It meant that the noise of other people running water in their bathrooms was very prevalent. Another particularly annoying feature was the temperature in the rooms. When I arrived the room was very cold (despite being shown how to use the thermostat). When I mentioned it to staff, it was adjusted but this time it was stifflingly hot. Staff explained that they are having problems with it and that it should be sorted soon. Breakfast was disappointing and expensive. It's held in a small side room. The service was exceptionally slow (despite there being only 3 other customers) and our poached eggs were undercooked/still raw. The accompanying toast was provided much later than the eggs in one case and not at all in the other. Other than that, there are lots of little things that aren't hugely important on their own but they do add up to. Eg the room had no plug socket near to a mirror, which is annoying for us vain types who like to blow-dry their hair. There was no price list by the (what appeared to be) complimentary small packets of kettle crisps which were then charged at a staggering £3.50 per bag on check-out. The bar didn't open until 6.15pm. The staff are doing their best but (and I hate to say this because they are lovely) they just don't seem to have a good grasp of what they are doing. In addition, they are not local to the area and they can't answer basic questions about where things are and how to get around. I over-heard another guest ask for a local map of the area and they were told there wasn't one. However the person I asked did have one, albeit a tiny one of only the very nearest roads nearby. Check-in and out took ages (40 mins in the case of the latter). If this hotel takes the time to find out what matters to its customers (I was surprised that no-one asked me about this, I had to offer my opinions!) and does something to improve things as a result, then no doubt the experience of staying here will be a much better one. As things stand, this is vastly overpriced for what it is (even with the 50% discount duing the soft-opening) and the experience I had would put me off using it again until things had improved.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rafayel on the Left Bank boasts 70 designer "smart" rooms, champagne bar, riverside restaurant and conference facilities, exhibition spaces as well as the latest spa and beauty treatments and gym. Rafayel is one of the world's most advanced luxury green hotels and proves that hotels can dramatically reduce their carbon emission output without compromising on five-star luxury, quality or comfort. Located on the River Thames at the heart of London's most dynamic riverside development, with sweeping views across to Chelsea Harbour, Rafayel is minutes from the shopping areas of Sloane Square and Knightsbridge and is close to Victoria Station and London's major attractions. Rafayel provides a free shuttle service to and from Clapham Junction and Clapham Common on Northern line every 30 minutes from 7.30 AM to 10.30 PM. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Rafayel On The Left Bank - Hotel And Spa
- Rafayel On The Left Bank Hotel London