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Review: The Park Tower Knightsbridge, London
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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.
That meant the stay cost ~$1,600 upfront.
But then I was refunded ~$400.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then across from the reception desk was The Hyde Bar, which is the hotel’s lobby bar, as the name suggests.
Overall I found the public spaces to be quite nice and intimate. Next to The Hyde Bar were the elevators to the guest rooms.
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.
We quickly found ourselves on the 11th floor, where we turned left towards our room.
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).
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.
The living room featured some padding seated by the window, a desk, and a chair with ottoman at the far end of the room.
Then there was a living area with a couch and another chair.
The TV was across from the desk above a table, which is also where the Nespresso coffee machine was located.
While it looked rather janky, I appreciated that there were plenty of outlets near the desk, including a US outlet.
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.
There were two more bottles of water in the 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!
The bathroom in the living room featured a walk-in shower, sink, and toilet.
It was stocked with Molton Brown toiletries, which I was impressed by.
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.
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.
Across from it (by the wall closest to the living room) was the TV.
The bathroom in the bedroom was similar to the one in the living room, though it also featured a tub.
While the suite didn’t face Hyde Park, it did have panoramic views of the surrounding area, which I thought were gorgeous.
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.
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.
And then there was also the room with the buffet, which had more seating in more of a cafe setting.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😉
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.
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!
I suppose Ford and I stuck out like sore thumbs in this hotel…
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?