Review: The Park Tower Knightsbridge, London

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Introduction
Review: Qantas First Class Lounge Los Angeles
Review: British Airways Business Class A380 Los Angeles To London
Review: The Park Tower Knightsbridge, London
Review: British Airways Galleries First Lounge London Heathrow
Review: British Airways Business Class 777 London To Los Angeles


As I explained in the intro post, we ended up deciding to book The Park Tower Knightsbridge. It’s a Category 6 SPG property, meaning a free night redemption would have cost 20,000 Starpoints per night. The paid rate was 263GBP (~$400), but I ended up booking using the fourth night free benefit available on the Citi Prestige Card.

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That meant the stay cost ~$1,600 upfront.

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But then I was refunded ~$400.

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So basically we were paying ~$300 per night for a fairly nice hotel in London, and would earn a lot of points. That seemed like a pretty good deal to me, given what an expensive market London is, and that the rate included VAT.

I had gone back and forth about where to stay in London, and in the end decided on The Park Tower simply because of the location. The Park Tower is the former Sheraton, though was converted into a Luxury Collection property.

One thing convenient about The Park Tower is that it’s located just off the Piccadilly Line, meaning we could take the underground straight from Terminal 5 to Knightsbridge station, which took about 50 minutes. Given that we were arriving around rush hour, that was much faster than taking a car, not to mention much cheaper.

Knightsbridge is an area with gorgeous architecture, though there’s one building which sticks out like a sore thumb — The Park Tower.

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The Park Tower Hotel exterior

Goodness, when was this in style? It’s especially unfortunate, because there’s no easy fix to such a hideous exterior. It’s not like you can change the surfaces or put on a new coat of paint and suddenly it’ll look like it’s from this era.

The entrance to The Park Tower is located off a back alley, though there’s also a side entrance directly off Knightsbridge.

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The Park Tower Hotel entryway

Fortunately the interior of the hotel was significantly nicer than the exterior, perhaps somewhat generically luxurious. The lobby was fairly small, and we quickly found the reception desk on the right side. There was one person ahead of us in line, so within a couple of minutes we were helped by a friendly associate.

The associate confirmed all Platinum benefits, including that we had been upgraded to an executive suite (I had used Suite Night Awards). He offered us the choice of 500 Starpoints or breakfast as the Platinum amenity, and of course we went with the latter. He quickly gave us the keys to our room on the 11th floor.

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The Park Tower Hotel lobby

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The Park Tower Hotel lobby

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The Park Tower Hotel lobby

Behind the lobby was The Knightsbridge Lounge, where afternoon tea is served. You have to walk through it in order to get to the hotel’s restaurant, One-O-One.

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The Park Tower Hotel lobby

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The Park Tower Hotel lobby

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The Park Tower Hotel lobby

Then across from the reception desk was The Hyde Bar, which is the hotel’s lobby bar, as the name suggests.

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The Park Tower Hotel lobby bar

Overall I found the public spaces to be quite nice and intimate. Next to The Hyde Bar were the elevators to the guest rooms.

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The Park Tower Hotel lobby

The hotel has a unique elevator system whereby you enter your desired floor on a screen, and then it sends you to either elevator A, B, or C. As a result, the actual elevators don’t have buttons for floors.

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The Park Tower Hotel elevator controls

We quickly found ourselves on the 11th floor, where we turned left towards our room.

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The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge hallway

We were assigned a suite which actually had two doors — rooms 1117 and 1118 (that’s because the suite basically consists of two standard rooms).

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The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge room entrance

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The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge floorplan

We first entered through room 1118, which was the executive suite’s living room. There was a bathroom on the right, and then it led into the living room.

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The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge executive suite entrance

The living room featured some padding seated by the window, a desk, and a chair with ottoman at the far end of the room.

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The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge executive suite living room

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The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge executive suite living room

Then there was a living area with a couch and another chair.

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The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge executive suite living room

The TV was across from the desk above a table, which is also where the Nespresso coffee machine was located.

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The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge executive suite living room

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The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge executive suite Nespresso coffee machine

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The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge executive suite living room desk

While it looked rather janky, I appreciated that there were plenty of outlets near the desk, including a US outlet.

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The Park Tower Hotel London outlets

Waiting on the table under the TV were a bunch of bottles of water (when my Ambassador asked what my preferred welcome amenity is I said as much water as possible!), as well as a note from my Ambassador.

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The Park Tower Hotel London bottled water

There were two more bottles of water in the fridge.

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The Park Tower Hotel London fridge

I thought the note from my Ambassador was sweet as could be and showed great attention to detail. I had SPG reservations in Bali, Abu Dhabi, New York, and London over the course of a week, so clearly he was paying attention. Kudos to him!

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The Park Tower Hotel London letter from Ambassador

The bathroom in the living room featured a walk-in shower, sink, and toilet.

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite second bathroom

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite second bathroom

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite second bathroom

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite second bathroom

It was stocked with Molton Brown toiletries, which I was impressed by.

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The Park Tower Hotel London Molton Brown toiletries

The bedroom was basically the same size as the living room, and was connected via the connecting door. Some might think that doesn’t feel especially “natural,” though I quite liked being able to fully close the doors between the rooms. I tend to work crazy hours (especially when jetlagged), so it was great to be able to close the door so Ford could sleep without me disturbing him.

The bedroom featured a desk and couch by the window.

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite bedroom

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite bedroom

Across from it was the king size bed, which seemed to be a Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed. Presumably that was one of the things which stayed after the hotel was converted from a Sheraton to a Luxury Collection property. And that’s good, because I love the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper.

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite bedroom

Across from it (by the wall closest to the living room) was the TV.

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite bedroom

The bathroom in the bedroom was similar to the one in the living room, though it also featured a tub.

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite sink

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite bathroom

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite shower

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite bathtub

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite bathtub

While the suite didn’t face Hyde Park, it did have panoramic views of the surrounding area, which I thought were gorgeous.

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The Park Tower Hotel London executive suite view

All-in-all I couldn’t have been happier with the room. Was it the most modern or luxurious room in the world? Nope. But it was spacious, comfortable, and practically designed. For the price we were paying, I thought we were getting an exceptional value.

We had breakfast on three of the mornings at One-O-One Restaurant. Despite the restaurant being a decent size, there was a queue for breakfast a couple of mornings, whereby we had to wait for 5-10 minutes for a table, which I find to be rare for a hotel restaurant.

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Line for breakfast

As a Platinum we were entitled to the full breakfast buffet.

The restaurant itself was quite nice, though nothing special. It featured a back room with a more traditional dining room.

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant

And then there was also the room with the buffet, which had more seating in more of a cafe setting.

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant

The breakfast spread itself was reasonably good, though not amazing. In the actual dining room was the continental buffet spread, which consisted of fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, cold cuts, cheese, hummus, dates, etc.

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

Then in the room next to the dining room was the rest of the spread, which consisted of bread, muffins, croissants, and several types of hot dishes.

This included scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, french toast, pancakes, etc.

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast buffet

The coffee on offer at breakfast was good, and I appreciated that they always brought out a full pot, which meant I could replenish at will (I drink a lot of coffee). The restaurant generally seemed to be a bit understaffed, as the staff was friendly, though was rushing around like crazy clearing tables.

Upon giving our room number we were informed breakfast was free, though were still given a bill at the end to sign. It indicated that the normal cost for the breakfast buffet was 29GBP (~$44) per person, which seemed kind of crazy for what they were offering, even factoring in London prices.

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The Park Tower Hotel London One-O-One Restaurant breakfast check

One afternoon we ordered room service, which consisted of a Caesar salad and a “handmade pizza.” While the pizza was fine, the only thing “handmade” about it was it being removed from a plastic container in the freezer and being placed in the microwave for a few minutes. 😉

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The Park Tower Hotel London room service

The hotel also has a gym on the basement level. It was quite small, though every time I used it there was no one else there, so I guess it’s not especially popular with the guests.

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The Park Tower Hotel London gym

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The Park Tower Hotel London gym

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The Park Tower Hotel London gym

All-in-all the staff were very friendly. The housekeepers always did a good job, and the front desk was helpful with the few minor requests we had. It’s worth noting that suites at this hotel also come with butler service, though I’m not sure what purpose that serves, exactly. When we arrived the butler knocked on our door and asked if we needed help unpacking. When we said no, he said we should let him know if we needed “anything else.” That was the last we saw of him.

As far as the location of the hotel goes, Knightsbridge worked great for where we needed to be. For those of you not familiar with Knightsbridge, all major cities have cultural “pockets” (Little India, Chinatown, etc.). Knightsbridge could best be summed up as Little Riyadh.

I thought it was pretty funny that we seemed to be among the few non-Saudi guests. Hilariously many of the Saudis coming on shopping trips didn’t even carry their own bags back home, but on two occasions I saw trucks labeled as “Arab shipping logistics” loading stuff from the hotel. That must be quite a shopping trip!

The hotel clearly tried to cater to those guests, and I found it pretty funny that even the afternoon tea was advertised as offering “flavours of the Middle East.” At least they know their market!

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The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge Middle Eastern afternoon tea

I suppose Ford and I stuck out like sore thumbs in this hotel…

Bottom line

While the Park Tower Knightsbridge isn’t the most luxurious hotel in London, it was a fantastic option for what we were looking for, and I’d stay again in a heartbeat. The location is great, the Platinum breakfast is generous, and we got a great upgrade to a spacious suite.

You also can’t beat the deal we got, paying ~$300 per night thanks to the Citi Prestige Card and earning tons of points. Stylistically I still far prefer the Andaz Liverpool Street, though for the average person visiting London it’s probably not as conveniently located.

What’s your favorite SPG property in London? Or do you have another favorite hotel?

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Comments

  1. WHen you say “of course” you take the breakfast over points…..why? My bf is Plat and always wants the points. I do crude math and feel breakfast is worth way more, but he disagrees. (I usually win if the stay is more than one night). Also, I find it rare that Plats get full breakfast, they ALWAYS limit us to fruit, cereal, and pastry.

  2. The restaurant gave you a bill to sign as a polite way to offer a tip. I sincerely hope that you left a tip.

  3. @ cahbff — It all depends where you’re staying. I find that most US properties are less generous, while properties outside the US are considerably more generous. I value Starpoints at ~2.2 cents each, so to me 500 Starpoints are worth ~$11. Keep in mind also the amenity is on a per stay basis, while breakfast is daily. So for a four night stay for two people, we were basically giving up 500 Starpoints for eight breakfasts. At a bit over $1 each, that seemed like a good enough deal.

    Keep fighting the good fight. 😉

  4. LOL, the elevator concept is as stupid as it gets. At first it seems interesting idea, but what if you miss (or change your mind) to which floor you are going, once you are already in the elevator. Not the brightest idea….

  5. Question on Prestige “4th night free”

    I have a three night London trip coming up and was wondering if its worth booking four nights on the prestige to get the extra SPG points. Would I be able to reserve an “extra” night before my arrival so I could check in early in the morning when my flight from NYC arrives? Or would reserving an extra night on the end work if I’m using Keyless entry?

    Just wondering if there’s any risk to Citi reimbursing me.

    Thanks,

  6. Lucky- with your relatively recent stay using Airbnb in London, any more interest in using it again? I was reading your review of what seems like a perfectly nice, but honestly soulless feeling space, and thought something like this:

    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5251138?checkin=02%2F10%2F2016&checkout=02%2F14%2F2016&guests=2&s=oOINyt0Q

    which is only a few blocks away and $1000 for 4 nights, would be a much better choice if I were in your shoes. Obviously your circumstances are probably much different than most of your readers, especially because of your relative flexibility with where you are on any day. So Airbnb, which is generally less flexible than hotels, might not work in your exact situation, but for my tastes, I’d rather have that apartment than a room at this hotel. When I was in London in May I used 2 free nights from the Hilton Reserve card to stay at the Conrad St. James, which was fantastic. But a hotel like this one does nothing for me.

  7. As much bitching as some of the commenters do on here about your trip reports with Ford, I love reading them and think Ford should do more reports – put that man behind a computer. Though not quite as prolific as your travels, I’m doing the same with my BF. Points or cash to lots of places he hasn’t been, or neither of us has been…and always in a premium cabin. I fear, however, I’ve created a monster as now he scours the blogs looking for CC churning and manufactured spend opportunities. So keep these coming!

    That elevator concept is getting pretty popular here in SF for buildings in the Financial District, especially when they’re over 15 floors or so, and when there are multiple banks of elevators to serve the building. It takes a while to get accustomed to at first, for sure, but having worked in buildings both with and without it, I’d prefer the setup as in the hotel over the standard elevator configuration any day.

  8. Ben,

    surprised you haven’t hit the Churchill while in London lately. It’s great and has a wonderful London vibe absent at the Liverpool.

  9. I’ve stayed here a few times and really like the hotel and the location.

    On the issue of elevators, put me down in the not a fan column. Our problem was only one was working. A big enough crowd formed where not everyone made it on. So, we would end up stopping on a bunch of floors because the preprogrammed elevator doesn’t know the guy trying to get to the 10th floor is still sitting in the lobby.

  10. It’s funny how you keep trying to convince yourself you had a good deal here. There are much better, cheaper hotels in London – you’ve massively overspent

  11. Thank you so much for this review. My partner and I are planning on a London trip next fall, and I had stayed here in 2004 when it was a Sheraton and was wondering how it has fared all these years later. So glad to see you gave it a great review. I loved it then, especially the location for the Tube station, you just can’t beat that! And it looks so much nicer than it did nearly 12 years later from when I was there last. I think we found our London home next September!

  12. I guess you need an spg ambassador to fight all the fights for you. I stayed at the same hotel at the same time as you and my SNA was denied, even though I booked months in advance and even emailed the general manager. SPG SNA is a joke. Jumping to Hyatt

  13. Janky has been in use for the last…

    In other news, any comments on the breakfast “line” as opposed to the empty breakfast room(s)?

    Also in other news, so exciting when we can find ourselves surrounded by a myriad of cultures. Hope you had some great conversations.

  14. Little Doha, more like…

    The main entrance to the hotel isn’t on a back alley though Ben, it’s the northern side of Lowndes Square which has more than its fair share of billionaires living on it.

  15. @Lucky, did you receive starpoints from citi prestige booking? Can you also apply Suite Night Award to Citi reservation?

    TIA!

  16. Nice that you had butler service, The etiquette the butler will follow is, the butler will introduce themselves and as they requested please call them if you require anything, you did not do so therefore they did not come, one other thing if you do call they will walk into the room with out knocking, after all you did call them. It did make me jump when that happened to me at the Lanesborough

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