Monday, 22 October 2012

Mum's gone to the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge


"I agree, it's a fabulous room but I think it's going to be noisy."
"Why do you say that?"
"Well, we're on the first floor, right above the bar and they have live music there at weekends."

Trust his Lordship to put the dampers on things.

It was August and we had just arrived at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, following our night on the yacht. You must remember my night on the yacht, heaven knows I bragged about it enough. We decided on a further night in London so we could go to the theatre and see One Man, Two Guvnors. I was reminded of this when reading fellow blogger, Curry Queen's post about her visit to see the show in Broadway, with James Corden in the starring role. It dawned on me that I had never actually written about either our hotel or the play. Must have been that mirrored ceiling above our bed on the boat - affected my memory.

Before I carry on with the hotel review, I do have to say that the play was outstanding. Like Curry Queen, I don't want to give too much away but it was one of the best things we've seen at the theatre. Farce but with a whole lot more to boot. Owain Arthur played the lead in the production we saw and was excellent. If you get the chance to see it - go, go go!

Back to the hotel...

Captain Sensible needn't have worried. The hotel was so well sound-proofed you couldn't hear the music or the traffic outside and I don't think I heard any stomping down the corridor either. A new addition to the Park Plaza group of hotels and right next door to the Park Plaza County Hall where we stayed a few years ago, the location is pretty good: on the river, next to the London Eye. It's an imposing building and when you enter through the revolving doors into the huge lobby there is a striking bank of escalators feeding guests up to the reception desk: it feels like a cross between an airport terminal, a shopping mall and a spaceship.. The vast amount of space throughout the hotel makes it unlike many hotels in the capital and there was a buzz about the place which appealed to me.

We chose to stay in a studio room which was very large by London standards. With a convenient 3/4 length wall separating the bedroom from the living area (where Rory was sleeping) and large LCD TVs in both areas, we certainly weren't on top of each other. Complimentary wi-fi throughout the hotel kept our teen happy and the tea and coffee-making 'station', complete with a microwave, fridge and a separate sink, was a big hit with me. I have to say, whoever decided on the sink was a genius: how many of us have wanted to fill the kettle on holiday only to find someone is ensconced in the bathroom and may be some time?


Park plaza studio room - westminster bridge
Studio room - bedroom

Studio room - lounge area

The hotel has a number of eating establishments ranging from a light and airy coffee bar to a patisserie/lounge area, a sushi bar and Brasserie Joel. We chose to have a pre-theatre dinner in the Brasserie and it was delicious and pretty good value for such a gorgeous restaurant and attentive service. Can I remember what we had? I think Dougie had some kind of marinated tuna followed by steak and Rory and I both had butternut squash soup followed by sea bass? Whatever we ate, it was wonderful and I would recommend the restaurant even if you're not staying in the hotel.

The brasserie is also used as the breakfast room and is way too small for families at busy weekends. When the world and his wife traipsed down at 9am Sunday morning, the hotel had set up a separate breakfast area in the hangar-sized ballroom in the basement of the hotel. Yes it did the job but with trestle tables groaning with tea urns and food warmers, it had all the appeal of a soup kitchen.

The hotel can be expensive, particularly when their website has the annoying habit of not including VAT on the rooms until the final part of the booking process, but if you can get a good deal then it's worth considering. There is a spa and a swimming pool, although we didn't use them on this quick, one-night stay. Worth noting that, for families with young children, there is a babysitting service and children's menu.

 If  you do go, sit down in these quirky chairs and admire the view.







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20 comments:

  1. Cool chairs! Sounds a cool hotel too, and very well placed for central London.

    Thinking about the show, I don't know the last time I went to the theatre, and I used to go a lot when I was younger (and the prices were cheaper...). Living in France doesn't help, I'm not really interested in going here.

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    1. It was a big treat for Rory to go and see a play rather than a musical which, of course, is my usual fare. Your boys would love it: real belly-laugh funny.

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  2. Those chairs are brilliant. Like you I love it when there's a microwave and sink, because if need be I can organise food on the run. Great review..I'll have a look next time I'm up in London which will be around first week of November.

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    1. I forgot to say that, as part of their room service, they also provide microwave meals - delivered in a carry-out bag ready to be ding-dinged!

      Let me know where you end up in November!

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  3. I must be tired. That bed looks so fluffy and inviting. Makes me want to visit London again! Ace chairs too.

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    1. Bed was very comfortable and, strangely enough, so were the chairs - they were a little like a rocking chair, or rather, they bounced a bit!

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  4. I was going to say I liked the chairs too, but everyone else beat me to it. I did notice, though that Rory looked like he was intently staring at a small electronic device: smart phone? iPod? iTouch? - looked so much like my children it nearly brought a tear to my eye.
    I thought the studio sounded fabulous (microwave's a must) but am not sure how I'd feel about waking up to the giant woman's head next to my bed. I guess as long as I didn't have my glasses on, though, it wouldn't matter...; )

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    1. Yes, the little darling is looking at either his iPod Touch or his phone. I can understand how it brought a tear to your eye ;-)

      Yes, what is it with this scary artwork? You may recall I had a Japanese pilot staring down on me in a hotel in Sweden. In comparison this lady was quite tame, possibly because she isn't looking at me.

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  5. Wow that looks really nice (and expensive) I must drag Mr. Bored down to London for a couple of nights next time we're back in Blighty.

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    1. We've had a few London trips recently. This was a great find, but I also had a great stay at The Hoxton in the summer and also the Radisson Bloomsbury was fab a few weeks ago and cheaper. All depends what floats your boat. The boys loved this one.

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  6. Interesting your comment regarding busy hotel breakfasts at weekends. I always think it is best, especially if with family or friends taking more than one room, to arrange to meet for breakfast at say 8.50am or 9.25am as most people work on the hour or half-hour.

    Also please to note the world is still masculine and takes his wife along with him at weekends. I hate the PC types with their "the world and her husband".

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    1. In truth, I think we did avoid going down to breakfast at exactly 9 for those very reasons. We do try and either eat a lot earlier or later. I don't think it would have made much difference that weekend: the ballroom was packed and they were definitely set up for the onslaught!

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  7. Loving those chairs and I must say with those huge paintings on the wall you must have felt a little in an art installation. (not a bad thing at all) Not having any noise is so important. Over the weekend we stayed at a hotel in SF and we heard the whole gamut from hairdryers to laughing, chatting and scrapping.

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    1. I can put up with noise from outside - traffic etc, but noise between rooms and in corridors is so annoying.

      Curious about the scrapping: was it a good fight? :-))

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  8. Ooh, how very stylish. It does make me fancy a weekend in London - it's been too long. And the theatre (in English!)- how lovely that would be.

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    1. Sounds like you and Sarah both need a dose of London - you've both had too much warm weather!

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  9. Those chairs are amazing! Sounds and looks like a great place! Have to say, I think the worst sound-proofing in any hotel I have ever stayed in, was at a (posh) hotel in Leeds. All night we were kept awake by the calls and cackling of "ladies of the night" on the street below (it was tucked down an alleyway)... Worst nights sleep I have had in years! :D

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    1. Ooh Lordy, they're not quite the sort of street sounds I'm happy to listen to!

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  10. Thank you for the mentions! I'm so glad you enjoyed it too - it was brilliant wasn't it?! The hotel looks fab too - so much nicer than the dreary and noisy De Vere dump we stayed in when we visited Leeds Uni with the daughter recently. Never again!

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    1. Weekends away can really be spoiled by a poor hotel. Such a shame.
      Are you doing the rounds of different universities at the moment?

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