I stayed at the Hilton Kensington in June on a good lastminue.com deal. For what we paid, which was less than London budget hotel price, the hotel was good. So why only three stars you ask? Well let's see if I can justify that apparently low rating...
First let's start with the good. The location was simply fantastic. On a very pleasant road just along from Kensington Palace and Gardens. For transport the hotel is just a few minutes walk from Shepherd's Bush with great connections into town on the Central Line. We were also seeing a show at the Apollo Hammersmith which was just over 20 minutes to walk. The enormous Westfield shopping complex is also on your doorstep with a large selection of shops and restaurants.
Next let's go with the average... We had a double room on the second floor. Anywhere else in the world I probably would have called the room poky, but for London it was OK. Large and very comfortable double bed, a small desk and chair, but not much floor space around. The air con was also decent. On lowest setting it kept the room nicely cool but without too much noise. There didn't seem to be much noise creeping in from the other rooms but you could hear everything from the hallway, especially closing of doors (we woke up a couple of times thinking it was our door that was opening/shutting!) and room service in the mornings. Don't expect a long peaceful lie-in. However the shower was nice and powerful with plenty of hot water at all times.
So the above would probably have meant a four star review overall, however there's a reasonable amount of bad as well. The main thing was the carpets. The lobby carpets are a bit grubby which was a little disappointing on entering an otherwise posh looking foyer. However the bedroom carpet was absolutely filthy. Completely stained all over from various substances. Such a shame as the linen and rest of the room was clean. Beyond rescue the carpet badly needed to be replaced and I didn't like putting my clothes down on it, it was that dirty.
The shower room was cramped and poorly ventilated, smelling damp and a little mouldy. The shower itself didn't drain properly which I never like - I don't like having my feet in "backwash" from the drain. The cleaners were also somewhat mean with shower gel - only one miniature each day. Given there were two of us in the room this wasn't enough, particularly if you wanted to shower in the morning and again before heading out in the evening. Also there was no toilet brush which I find an odd omission.
I have an ongoing dislike of otherwise decent hotels (who's walk up price is in excess of £200 per night) wanting to charge for wireless internet, particularly as it inevitably turns out to be slow and unreliable. Sadly the Hilton was no different, with free wifi only available in the foyer. Honestly, free wifi these days is a requirement alongside running hot water. Basic wifi should be free across the property, potentially with a charge for faster, more reliable internet.
Then there was the view. Our room had a view across the flat roof at the back of the property. Now I have absolutely no problem with this, I wasn't expecting a stunning view. However the roof has accumulated rubbish and looked particularly shabby. It wouldn't take much to pick up the litter and sweep it clean regularly. Again for such a posh hotel having such a grim, litter strewn view from the window is disappointing.
Finally there was the TV. Hotels can be particularly incompetent with technology. In this hotel they are taking a digital widescreen signal, chopping it to 4:3, and then distributing it over poor quality analogue cables to widescreen TVs. This may not make sense to some, but in essence it meant that on your widescreen TV in the room you get a fuzzy chopped 4:3 picture (if you want correct aspect ratio). Particularly bad for watching the World Cup that was on - the game time at the top left is chopped off. Distribution should be digital and widescreen native. Honestly it was like being back in the 70s with fuzzy, small 4:3 screens and a poor selection of channels.
So actually those 3 stars are now seeming generous rather than mean. On the deal we got (which ended up cheaper than most budget London hotels) I can't complain too much. However at anything approaching regular price this hotel is simply not up to the standard I expect from a Hilton. When I compare it to Park Plaza Westminster where I stayed on my last trip to London (and is similarly priced for normal advance rates) this Hilton hotel simply isn't in the same ballpark. Overall I can't see me retuning to this hotel again unless a full room refurbishment is guaranteed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hilton London Kensington is located close to a lot of London event venues and some great shopping too. Only about a 7-minute walk from Holland Park underground station and one of the main central tube lines, Hilton London Kensington is surrounded by places to eat, drink, shop, and watch bands. There is always comedy or music at the Hammersmith Apollo - a simple walk away, or sporting events at Wembley stadium - a short train ride away. And with the modern, well-stocked Westfield shopping center located just across the road, when you stay at Hilton London Kensington you can shop all day. Whatever you chose to do in your spare time, the hotel itself is bright and airy. All the rooms have an LCD flat screen TV and a mini bar. If you don’t want a night in, relaxing in your comfortable room and don’t want to venture too far either; choose to dine in the romantic West Eleven restaurant after making the most of the 24-hour gym and the relaxing sauna and steam room. Staying at the Hilton London Kensington is about making the most out of your time in London. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton London Kensington Hotel London
- London Hilton
- Hilton Kensington