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“Afternoon Tea - Epic Fail”

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The Principal London
Ranked #446 of 1,076 Hotels in London
Reviewed 8 April 2013

My mother kindly purchased us a GroupOn voucher to have afternoon Tea at this hotel as a little treat.

Having never had a proper afternoon tea before, I was quite looking forward to the experience.

When we entered the resturant where we would be served the tea, it seemed extremely drab and Soulless.

The tables were old and horrible wooden looking laminated things and there was a little vase with a fake flower in it! Surely a nice little white table cloth and a real little flower wouldn't cost them the earth? The tables were extremely close together and we felt awkward talking to each other as everyone could hear what we were saying.

As expected, we got one glass of champagne in a small champagne glass....which was fine, but obviously didnt last very long.

I then expected to see a menu for teas, instead, a watier came round and simply asked if we wanted tea or coffee!! My mother requested a decaf tea which was not available so she had to settle for normal english tea. I requested peppermint and luckily enough, they had this!

We were then given a cake stand which contained about 6 finger sandwiches in the bottom layer, 2 small cakes in the second layer and 2 scones on the top layer.

The sandwiches were tasteless and the bread was stale at the ends so they had obviously been prepared earlier that morning and were sitting there for quite a while!!

The cakes and scones were quite pleasant and I dont have any complaints about them, however, when I did go to use my fork to eat them, I noticed that my fork was dirty! Not nice!

We were sitting down for all of about 50 minutes and to be honest, by the end of that 50 minutes, we just wanted to get out of there.

Having now read a previous review from 2012, it would seem that nothing much has changed!

I would seriously advise not wasting your money here and pay a little extra to go elsewhere and have a much nicer traditional tea experience!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank vbaker151
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julie_Hammond_13, General Manager at The Principal London, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for your recent review on Tripadvisor. We are so disappointed to read of your Afternoon Tea experience with us. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional standards and endeavour to create a memorable afternoon tea for all of our guests.

We are extremely proud of our rich heritage and have ensured that the character and charm of our Hotel has been maintained over the years. Our wooden tables compliment the theme and style of our restaurant including our intricately designed statues. We have ensured that our décor is simple, but tasteful, however we are sorry that this was not to your liking and will pass on your comments to our specialist design team.

We have a variety of different teas and coffees, including our range of green teas. We do apologise, however that we did not have your mother’s preference, however do hope that she enjoyed her full English breakfast tea.

We are so sorry to read that you did not enjoy the sandwiches which were freshly prepared upon your arrival. Please be assured that your comments have been highlighted to our team of Executive Chefs as they really do take pride in their food.

We are pleased that you enjoyed the pastries and scones that were also freshly prepared on the day.

We are so disappointed that your fork was not cleaned to a high standard. Please be assured that this is certainly not our high standards that we pride ourselves sin and we will ensure that this does not occur again as we completely understand the poor impression that this has given you.

As it is an afternoon tea experience we ensure that this is served in a timely manner which allows guests to relax and enjoy themselves. We serve many afternoon teas on a daily basis and receive many compliments regarding our style, service and quality of food.

We are genuinely sorry that this was not the case for you. Please contact our Guest Relations Executive, Bebita Dhaya at bebita.dhaya@principal-hayley.com as she will be more than happy to discuss your concerns further with you. I do hope that we may have the opportunity to turn around your experience for you at Hotel Russell in the future.

Kindest regards

Julie Hammond
Regional General Manager

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2,012 - 2,018 of 3,869 reviews

Reviewed 7 April 2013

We paid 250 GBP for two nights - without breakfast. And without Wifi -always find it strange that they still want to charge you for internet, and 15 GBP for one day is to much!
Very small room, very poor sleep-comfort as the bed seems to lack a proper mattress! and very noisy from the pubs right outside. Bad was cold and the sink so small it was hard not to splash water all over the floor.
We could not do breakfast both days due to an early flight, and was therefore not able to take advantage of the lower rate (12 GBP instead of 19) very happy about that ! Went to the breakfast room to find the queue - very very long. This is a huge hotel with very many rooms, the breakfast is expensive and you will have to wait in line to get food - walk outside, turn first right towards the metro and on the opposite side you will find a small shopping plaza with several options, we went to Patisserie Valerie, had a wonderful breakfast with free internet for half the price! Would we stay again? Probably not. to expensive and to little charm.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank Ducati40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julie_Hammond_13, General Manager at The Principal London, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for your recent review on Tripadvisor. We are so disappointed to read your comments. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional standards throughout our Hotel. We are also very well known for our rich heritage and charm of our building.

Please be assured that our room rates are extremely competitive and hence we do not include any incrementals such as wifi charges. We prefer to give guests the option of this if facility required. Our internet charges are in line with other leading hotels in the area, however we will certainly take your comments on board.

Due to the shape and age of our building each room has its own size and charm. Each room has been individually decorated to enhance its particular style and we ensure that all the necessary amenities are included for you for a comfortable and relaxing stay. Our mattresses are of an extremely high quality and to date we have not received any similar concerns. We do apologise that your room was not to your liking and will take your comments on board. We only wish you had informed us of your concerns as we would have done our utmost to assist you.

The pub just across the road is usually a relaxed, quiet establishment and normally we do not receive any concerns regarding them. Please be assured that we will address this as we do want all of our guests to have a quiet night’s rest.

Breakfast is extremely popular at our Hotel as we have a wide variety of fresh dishes to suit any palate. We have signs in our lobby area informing guests of the popular times. This allows our guest the option of choosing a leisurely breakfast time if preferred.

We do hope that we may have the opportunity to turn around your experience for you upon your next stay at Hotel Russell.

Kindest regards

Julie Hammond
Regional General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2013

We stayed at the Hotel Russell for one night, we requested a high floor rooms facing the street ( after reading tips on here) Our rooms were on the 6th floor (625 &627) with super views across Londons sky line, we also had a fantastic nights sleep due to comfortable beds and a quiet rooms.
Staff were very welcoming, Food~ fantastic choice at breakfast.
Thank you to everyone concerned at Hotel Russell for making our experience an enjoyable one.

Room Tip: request a higher level floor facing outwards (street) when you check in.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank river02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julie_Hammond_13, General Manager at The Principal London, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for your recent review on Tripadvisor. We are delighted that you had a wonderful stay with us at Hotel Russell. We genuinely appreciate your comments as we pride ourselves on our exceptional standards and endeavour to make each stay memorable for our guests. Please be assured that your very kind comments have been shared with our teams.

We do hope that we may have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Hotel Russell upon your next visit to London.

Kindest regards

Julie Hammond
Regional General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2013 via mobile

I am only reviewing the afternoon tea as I didn't stay here. I visited for champagne afternoon tea on a groupon deal and found the experience very average with no wow factor compared to other venues.
The good points include the fact that the members of staff who served us were all very friendly and helpful and we had Mumm champagne and they had soya milk for the tea when asked.
The bad points are that the sandwiches were dry and the cake selection was very average. Also a choice of teas wasn't offered.
On the plus side the location was very good for tourists , being next to a tube station and within walking distance of Oxford Street.

  • Stayed: April 2013
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
Thank Chocolatehobbit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julie_Hammond_13, General Manager at The Principal London, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for your recent review on Tripadvisor. We are sorry that you did not enjoy your Afternoon Tea experience as we had envisioned.

We are so disappointed to read your comments as we pride ourselves on providing exceptional standards throughout our Hotel. Please let me assure you that all of our sandwiches are freshly prepared upon your arrival to ensure their freshness. I have, however highlighted your comments to our team of Executive Chefs for their consideration. Our pastries are created by a specialist bakery and are delivered to us fresh each day, and we are sorry that they were not to your liking.

A choice of teas should certainly be offered and we will reiterate this to our team as we would like our guests to receive as many choices as possible whilst dining with us.

We only wished you had informed us of your concerns at the time as we would have done our utmost to rectify this. Nevertheless please do be assured that your comments have been taken on board. We are delighted that you enjoyed the high level of customer service received from our team as well as the Champagne and option of Soya milk.

We do hope that we may have the opportunity to exceed your expectations upon your next visit to London.

Kindest regards

Julie Hammond
Regional General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2013

Stayed at Hotel Russell from the Monday to the Friday.
Rooms were clean and modern.
Good breakfast, plenty of choice.
Full of history and character.
Excellent location for accessing the sights and delights of London.
Most importantly the wife liked it so would stay again.

Room Tip: Stayed on the first floor room 122, despite what other reviewers said had a quiet room, no problems...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Pin66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julie_Hammond_13, General Manager at The Principal London, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for your recent review on Tripadvisor. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us, especially your wife. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional standards throughout our Hotel.

We are so pleased you enjoyed your clean, modern room as well as the rich history and charm of our Hotel. All of our breakfast dishes are freshly prepared on the day by our team of Executive Chefs. We are a stone’s throw from many of London’s major attractions and we are so pleased that you found our location so beneficial.

It will be our pleasure to welcome back you and your family back to Hotel Russell in the future.

Kindest regards

Julie Hammond
Regional General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2013 via mobile

Nice building, terrible room. Room should have single bed only and was not suitable as a double. Paid well over the odds for something akin to a Tune Hotel room. That would have been better value for money. Reception staff are nice. Consierge was useless and just told us to ask reception when we asked for something. Don't waste your money here. There is better value and better service elsewhere in London

  • Stayed: March 2013
    • Value
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4  Thank SydneyLindsay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julie_Hammond_13, General Manager at The Principal London, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for your recent review on Tripadvisor. Please accept our sincere apologies for the disappointment you experienced with your room size. We have a variety of different rooms each with its own unique size and charm. We are sorry that you found your room too small and will certainly take your comments on board. We only wish you had informed us of your concerns during your stay with us as we would have done our utmost to provide you with a room more to your preference.

We are also sorry that you did not find our Concierge helpful as they normally receive many compliments regarding their efficiency and friendliness. If your query is regarding your room account then one of our Receptionist’s would be better equipped to answer any queries that you may have.

We pride ourselves on our exceptional standards and I do hope that we may have the opportunity to turn around your experience for you upon your next visit to Hotel Russell.

Kindest regards

Julie Hammond
Regional General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2013

Good combination of nostalgic ambiance and modern facilities.Kind and helpful staff.
Noisy nights at the park side.Maintenance is a huge job in this building.
If you do your bit on environment not used towels should not be replaced!

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Galahotels.com
Thank Rudi K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julie_Hammond_13, General Manager at The Principal London, responded to this reviewResponded 7 April 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for your review. We are sorry that the London traffic noise was a concern for you during the evening. Please be assured that your comments have been taken on board.

We have an amazing Maintenance team who ensure that all the facilities in our hotel operate smoothly. Any guest requests are accommodated as soon as possible.

We are extremely environmental friendly and should our guests require any fresh towels to place them on the bathroom floor. If they wish to reuse their towel to place this on a towel rail.

We are delighted that you enjoyed the ambiance of our establishment as well the friendliness of our team as we endeavour to make all guests feel as comfortable as possible.

We do hope that we may have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Hotel Russell in the future.

Kindest regards

Julie Hammond
Regional General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Principal London

Address: 1 - 8 Russell Square, London WC1B 5BE, England (Formerly Hotel Russell)
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > London > Bloomsbury
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#285 Family Hotel in London
#299 Luxury Hotel in London
#346 Romantic Hotel in London
Price Range: £326 - £1,015 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Principal London 4*
Number of rooms: 373
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Principal London will open in stages throughout the course of this winter, and will fully launch in March 2018. Whilst the final touches are made to some areas, be one of the first guests to experience a sneak preview of the newly renovated hotel located in the heart of Bloomsbury, London’s most literary neighbourhood. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Russell Hotel London
Hotel London Russell
Russel Hotel London

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