The Grand Royale hotel is tucked into the little knot of streets which sits between Bayswater, Paddington and Hyde Park. There are a LOT of hotels here, ranging from international chains to tired old houses with peeling stucco and fading signs. Somewhere in the midst of these is this surprisingly charming place. Entrance to the rather grand looking townhouse is via steps to an impressive entrance area, which opens into a wood-panelled lounge area. There was no concierge here, despite other hotels in the group having this service, which meant a bit of a struggle getting our luggage into the lobby - but once inside staff were attentive. When we checked in, a trainee was being shown the systems which took a little longer - but our check-in was handled professionally and the staff showed good humour in the process.
It's worth pointing out that London hotel rooms are small - it's an old city, with tightly packed buildings which were almost certainly not built to be modern, accessible hotels. However, given the tight spaces available, a lot is packed into the rooms here. As we'd stayed with the group before we were upgraded to one of their 'Club Rooms'. This meant a little more space including a work area, seating and a slightly larger bed. The room was tidy, well air-conditioned (considering the unseasonable London sunshine!) and clean. As it was Easter, the staff had hidden chocolate eggs around the room as part of an 'egg hunt'. A nice touch which made the place feel a little more homely than many London hotels. There are also lots of other pleasant touches in the Club Room - fresh fruit, cold drinks and chocolates are provided, along with all of the toiletries and essentials you've either forgotten, or which are buried deep in your luggage.
Stepping outside, the hotel is in a pleasant, safe area just a few steps from Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Queensway Underground station is close by - and there is a wonderfully diverse stretch of shops and restaurants running between Queensway and Bayswater which is worth exploring just to get a sense of what a multicultural city London really is. The parks are superb places to wander or relax, with the Serpentine and Long Water with it's impressive fountains just a short walk away. If you're planning a trip to Knightsbridge or Harrods, don't get fleeced for a taxi or take the indirect bus or tube journey, just set out and walk directly across the park. You won't regret it.
We only stayed for one night here, in transit home from our international trip, but we're already hoping to head here for future weekends in London. It's not too much more expensive than budget hotels around the city, but offers a much more personal and pleasant service.
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Royale London Hyde Park Hotel London
- Shaftesbury London Hyde Park