I was registered for the 2014 London Triathlon and realised that I was going to have an early morning start on Sunday 3rd August. I knew driving across London at 4.30am was going to be a bit of a stress so, fairly late in the day I decided to book in to a local hotel.
There were surprisingly still rooms at a few hotels so I made a few phone calls - there were a couple of key criteria for me:
1) Hotel car park with a guaranteed space.
2) Breakfast served at 4am.
3) Would allow me to have my bike in my room so I could check everything over during the evening before and be all set to go first thing.
Crowne Plaza was one of the first hotel's in the area I called and the long wait while the centralised booking call centre team went off to check with the actual hotel about my special requirements was reassuring. They replied with a confident yes to all three questions.
They also had a suite available which had a special deal - a free late check-out to 4pm which would actually be ideal. Of course - it was not really free, as the suite was nearly £300 per night but I figured I would treat myself.
As the time drew nearer I actually drove to the Crowne Plaza a week in advance just to check out the Triathlon bike route. I could see for myself the ample private car park at the rear which was great. I popped into the hotel and asked about driving directions for the day itself as there are always major road closures for the triathlon itself but surprisingly the concierge had no idea - even though it was just a week away.
That should have warned me.
On Saturday 2nd the drive to Docklands was predictably nightmarish - with the two day London Triathlon already underway it took an hour to find a route still open.
Arriving at the Crowne Plaza the car park barrier was locked and the car park was rammed. My wife went to reception and they were able to find us literally the last parking space.
In reception, a gentleman was already there with his bike asking about taking the bike to his room and was told firmly "no bikes in your room" to which my ears immediately pricked up. He was as annoyed as I having made similar enquiries up front, and we both insisted on seeing the manager. The reasoning for the "no bikes in the room" rule was that "the corridors of the hotel are too narrow" and we might "damage the walls". What?? Serious triathletes will often spend as much on their bike as the average person might on their car so they are not likely to risk scratching their expensive dream machine on cheap hotel walls! Unbelievable. The only option given was to store your bike in a conference room with everyone else's bikes.
Then we asked at the front desk about breakfast - breakfast is normally served at 7am, no good for me as my wave start time was 7am! When pressed they could do breakfast "maybe at 5am" - still not the promised 4am I had originally requested.
The hotel was completely unbudging and unflinching despite my having pre-checked these key details which formed the basis of my selection of the Crowne Plaza.
Oh, and the corridors? 6 foot wide, making it all but impossible for even the clumsiest triathlete to scratch the walls!
By 8.30pm I had finished dinner and was in my room winding down for an important early night's sleep. I had a nice hot bath to help relax and then went to bed. I was just dozing off when out of nowhere an alarm starts buzzing. I had no idea from where, and then a light comes on in the room - it's the TV! The light gets brigher and the alarm gets progressively louder, impossible to ignore. So then I had to get up and find the TV remote - I couldn't turn the TV off, I had to login to the TV using the number keys on the remote, then go into the message system - to find a generic broadcast message to the owner of a Ford Mondeo with such-and-such a registration - could you go to the car park and turn your vehicle lights off!! Seriously!?? This is an urgent message for everyone in the hotel??
I turned the alarm off and deleted the message - but now I hear the same alarm from every room on my floor! There is no way I can sleep through it so I call reception to complain.
"Oh but their alarms will all go off as soon as they respond to the message". My reply - duh! "What if they're not actually in their room?". "Ummm...oh, well, we can turn it off manually". "You had better have these alarms off in the next five minutes or I'm coming down there to see the manager!"
I was livid, and although - five minutes later - all the other alarms did indeed switch off I was so riled now that my odds of dozing off were now zero and I just tossed and turned for I don't know how many hours.
In short - this is ABSOLUTELY NOT the hotel you want if you are here for the London Triathlon or indeed any event that starts early at the Excel centre.
Having paid £300 for a suite for a specific occasion I felt completely ripped off and as a result of my complaints being completely ignored I have no way to vent my displeasure with this hotel than to vote with my wallet and never use Crowne Plaza - or any InterContinental Group hotel - ever again. I will also be sharing this review across my social networks to ensure my friends and colleagues take heed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to the Crowne Plaza London Docklands , a unique, contemporary hotel overlooking Royal Victoria Dock.We are walking distance from ExCeL Exhibition Centre (West) and just minutes from the financial district of Canary Wharf & the City of London. London City Airport is a 5 minute ride away & the O2 in Greenwich & Tower of London can also be easily reached. The hotel is located next to Docklands Light Railway(DLR) station Royal Victoria, which connects after one stop with the Jubilee Line, at Canning Town, into Central London or Stratford.The hotel boasts its own Meeting Success Centre, with 9 meetingrooms accommodating up to 275 delegates including a dedicated Executive Boardroom.We offer today's business and leisure travellers dependability, friendly service and the latest in designer-led facilities at excellent value rates. We can't guarantee the weather in England, however we can guarantee the quality of our 'Make It Happen' service and our world-renowned breakfast buffet.The hotel houses a busy, contemporary bar and lounge and a restaurant accessable from the avenue or from the hotel Reception. The Quad Club offers guests a purpose-built health and fitness facility, with an indoor pool,jacuzzi, sauna, steamroom and the latest gym equipment Please note: opening times of the leisure club may vary seasonally. The hotel is located in the East of London - host to the 2012 Olympics. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Crowne Plaza London - Docklands Hotel London