Just returned from my third stay at the Royal Park Hotel and I have got to wonder if there's been a change of hands in the property management or if the hotel is just resting on its (previously) well-earned laurels. I've been a repeat customer of this establishment for all the reasons described in the 400+ reviews on Tripadvisor. It's an intimate hotel with charming interiors and spotless presentation; excellent staff and service (for the most part); great location near Paddington and Hyde Park; and reasonable rates for an exorbitantly priced city. So I was looking forward to my short stay in London last week. Sadly, the experience fell far short of my earlier visits.
Check-in as usual was brisk and went without a glitch. The front desk and staff were, as always, courteous, helpful and warm, from the bellhop to the lady who brought me coffee. Room was, from first appearances, pristine and well kept. All, in other words, was as it was -- and as it should be.
Early next morning, however, I woke to the sound of running water -- as if a tap had been turned on full blast. I went into the bathroom to discover a sizable leak had sprung above the shower; closer inspection revealed the ceiling was swollen and deteriorating due to condensation. When I reported the leak downstairs, the gentleman at the front desk was solicitous and offered to have me change rooms. None were ready at the moment, however, so he suggested that I pack my luggage to be moved subsequently. I asked if there was any way to be compensated for the inconvenience of having to repack and move (it should go without saying that a room change would be obligatory, especially since maintenance was not available that day). In particular I requested that I might be comped for breakfast. He replied that this was not possible since the rate was already locked in the "system." I thought this was a slightly odd response but didn't feel like pressing it. (Note: I hate complaining about service in any situation and felt I had already used up my "diva" chips.)
Later that afternoon my bags were moved and I ended up in an identical room upstairs, which was fine. The next morning, though, proved even more inconvenient than the first. I had requested breakfast service at 8:30-8:45 with the intention of leaving for Heathrow around 9:30. When breakfast did not show up by 8:50, I called room service to check on its status. The rather harried person who answered said it would be up very shortly. A few minutes before 9, with no breakfast, I called again. This, time, though, the same person effectively barked at me "I KNOW..IT'S COMING." He then admitted there was a problem in the kitchen and apologized. I was, to say the least, taken back by this extremely brusque (and completely unacceptable) response.
And then: When the breakfast finally DID arrive a few minutes later, the food was undercooked and inedible. At this point I had no choice to call the front desk to complain. A gentleman (I think his name is Thomas) was very helpful on the phone. He said he would have a word with the manager who would be back in touch shortly.
A couple minutes later Laurent (the manager) rang, politely listened to my concerns, and was exceptionally gracious in taking responsibility for this litany of missteps. He told me that there would be some compensation when I checked out that morning, not the least of which was I would not be charged for breakfast. Sure enough, check-out a half hour later was seamless and I was appropriately compensated for these various problems. Were it not for his intervention and the help of the other front desk person (Thomas?) the stay would have been a complete wash.
For this reason, Royal Park Hotel earns a rating between "Poor" and "average" elevated by the deft handling of Laurent and his colleague at the front desk. My sincere hope is that this was just a series of unpleasant coincidences (that all happened to be visited on one traveler); and that issues around both the physical plant (a crumbling ceiling above the shower) and room service are shortly addressed. I really would like to return to this establishment as one of the two hotels I use regularly in London but management needs a record of this rather surprising dip in performance.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Classical in its 19th-century elegance, The Royal Park is like a grand hotel in miniature. The hotel is ideally located for the visitor wishing to combine the cultural and commercial destinations of the big city with a tranquil and welcoming London residence. The Royal Park is centrally located in the quiet tree-lined area of Westbourne Terrace, bordering Hyde Park and Marble Arch. Hyde Park is to its south and Piccadilly lies east of the hotel. Heathrow airport is a 45 minute car journey, or 15 minutes by train to Paddington, also very The Royal Park is close to the property. Gatwick operates from Victoria station a 10-minute taxi drive away. Great for access to Central and West London. 15 minutes from Heathrow airport on the Heathrow Express. Nearest London underground stations: Lancaster Gate (Central Line) and Paddington Station (Circle, District and Hammersmith and City Lines), both 5 minutes walk.High speed internet access available, 24 hour room service and Concierge, DVD/CD player, two dual line telephones with voice mail, UK and US shaver outlets, LCD TV, Satellite channels, Italian cotton linen sheets, Hair dryer, Electronic safe, Mini bar, Luxury bathroom amenities, Individually controlled air conditioning and heating. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Park London
- Hotel Royal Park
- Royal Park Hotel London