Four Seasons London

Discussion in 'Luxury Hotels' started by stimpy, Feb 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. stimpy
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    stimpy Silver Member

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    Since Richard asked...

    My stay started out fairly negative, but ended up reasonably good. I was pretty disappointed to find that the hotel isn’t completely open. I found out later that someone was supposed to have informed me of this prior to my stay, but that didn’t happen. And the explicit reason I didn’t get an FHR upgrade (Booked promo deluxe, expected Premier) was because management purposely chose to only open 50 rooms the first week. They did this to ease the employees into the opening. Basically the choice was to preserve good quality over having more rooms. So I had a negative eye to the start and found lots of nit-picky issues.

    1. Dust. If you notice, the hotel is full of dust and will continue to be until the upstairs spa is open. From the type of lighting they chose in the elevator, the chrome in the lounge, etc., it really makes the dust noticeable. And the staff are not wiping it down. Even in the room, the top shelf of the closet had a bunch of dust and when I put some things up there, dust floated down over my clothes through the slats.

    2. The Concierge doesn’t know what channels the hotel offers. They advised me I could watch a particular football match on ESPN, Channel 18. But there is no ESPN in the hotel, at least not yet. When informed of this, they sent me to a pub in Shepherds market.

    3. Room service breakfast, while excellent in most respects, is running a bit late now. And the person taking the order was fine one day, and the next day missed a few things.

    4. They didn’t go through all the robes and remove the factory tags.

    5. The balcony door is locked and no one offered to open it for me or even inform me it could be opened.

    6. No office supplies in the room. No scissors, no paper clips, no stapler, no printer, etc. It’s pretty sparse in the desk drawer.

    7. You expect exceptional in a Four Seasons room, especially this one. I was shocked that instead of a nice place to plug in an iphone to connect to a high end stereo, like you have at most decent new luxury hotels, they chose a cheap little iHome clock radio. This is the type of thing you see at an average Crown Plaza or Westin type hotel. In fact I recall first seeing the same thing at the Crowne Plaza in San Jose, CA about 3 or 4 years ago. Now they are everywhere at mid-range business hotels. But I can't recall any new or renovated luxury hotel that went this cheap on personal music integration.

    8. No lint brush in my room. No iron either, but of course they will bring you one quickly if you ask.

    9. The shoe shine service wasn’t what I would expect at a luxury hotel like this one. It seemed like they just gave it a quick wipe down.

    10. At the tea service you could see that some of the employees lack confidence. They need more reps.

    11. The shower has a real cheap tray for placing the shampoo and gel, which is inappropriate for the slim, long bottles. The bottles keep falling down and are made of cheap plastic which breaks when it hits the shower floor.

    12. At high end London hotels, you expect and always get, super strong water pressure. But not here and where it really fails is the toilet. This hotel thoughtfully placed a spray hose next to the toilet, as there is no brush, but it’s weak too. I don’t want to say anymore about this.

    OK, now to the good things. The room, aside from the failures noted above is very nice. Probably the most impressive thing is the air con/heating system. It is absolutely perfect and this feature sets the FS London apart from the older hotels, including of course the old FS London. I later learned that it is really quite an intelligent system that knows when you have left the room and makes slight adjustments.

    At the desk there are ports for UK, Europe and US power, Ethernet, HDMI, RGB, VGA, but no USB. Internet costs 15 pounds for basic, or 20 pounds for premium. The welcome screen says that premium means high speed, but I later learned (and wish someone would have told me earlier) that premium also means that you can use up to 4 different PC’s or smartphones on wired or wireless. Yet the Internet speed is pretty poor. In fact extremely poor considering the hotel is only about 20% full. This is something that will definitely need to be corrected ASAP.

    There is a Blue ray player and a decent sized LG TV. I watched the second half of the Super Bowl on this TV and it seemed pretty good. Otherwise I don’t watch TV much and I can’t say anything else about it.

    The lighting is quite good with lots of controls. Too many in the case of the bathroom area which has 4 unmarked switches. You have to experiment for a while to understand it all. They should label at least the night light switch.

    My room was 410 and I didn’t notice much street sound except when there was a lot of honking for some reason. Also there is a lot of construction work going on all over and that is quite noisy at the moment during the day, and heard in all the hotels in the neighborhood I’m sure. At one point It sounded like the military was shelling us. There was a huge hole at a site in Hyde Park (yes my room had a nice view of the park) and I wondered if they were doing underground blasting?

    The minibar is fine. Maybe not too impressive with only a non-vintage Champagne, but still overall pretty good. I had a Red Bull to stay awake for the Super Bowl at 5 pounds. That’s only a little more than double what you would pay in a nearby shop. [​IMG]

    The bathroom amenities are Roja Dove and seemed fine to me. Except for the fragile bottles as mentioned above. If you plan on nicking a few bottles, make sure you wrap them carefully in your bags!

    The concierge redeemed their earlier gaffe by having a pre-prepared list of places to watch the Super Bowl, and happily made a reservation for a nice place in Knightsbridge.

    I had no idea the hotel had town cars, and when it came time to go to see the game the concierge kindly installed us in a Rolls Royce Ghost. Later the next morning I was able to take the Rolls to a meeting near Tottenham Court. This is a real nice feature. Of course when the hotel is full I would expect it’s going to be harder to get access to the two cars they have. But for now there is generally one of the cars always parked at the door. Also there is a restriction that you are not supposed to use these cars for your departure, even if it is just to Paddington. The boot cannot hold very much baggage. However if it’s just one person traveling lightly and you ask nicely…

    The bar in Amaranto is a true feature of this hotel. It is very well staffed, and very, very well stocked. I spent an enjoyable time sampling high end Tequilas, Rum, and Bourbon. And a very nice Chianti suggested by the Director of F&B. There was a lady who must have been about 5’10”, wearing another 5 inches of heels and a gown, walking around playing clarinet, saxophone and I don’t know what else. It added an element of class, but I don’t think it was really needed as the bar is already pretty classy and IMHO a step above the other nearby hotel bars.

    High Tea, included with FHR, normally goes for 32 pounds per person, but I can say it is well worth it even if you pay. I would not recommend eating lunch before tea! They give you a lot to eat. They have two modes of service, English or Italian. I chose Italian and was not at all disappointed in what I ate. The quality was superb. And of course the Wedgwood China was good too. [​IMG]

    The tea menu is extensive and has some real special choices. I’m a fan of Jasmine and was not even a little disappointed in what I drank. However the service is still a bit shaky. Some good, some not so good. They placed a tall 3 tier serving dish right in the middle of the table, so you cannot easily see the person across from you. Later when I mentioned this to management they were upset because they have special side tables purchased just for this very reason. Some of the staff need a few hundred more reps to get the smoothness and confidence down. Because I was so full from tea, and because we chose to go to a late night place to watch the Super Bowl, I cancelled dinner reservations for Amaranto. Maybe also because the service is a bit shaky and I didn’t want to be disappointed. But based on High Tea and the excellent room service breakfast I am sure the food quality is there.

    Speaking of room service, included with FHR is breakfast either in the room or restaurant. I chose room and the first day ordered the American breakfast and the person on the phone asked me all the right option questions including what newspaper I wanted. It arrived a bit late, but the quality was excellent. Exquisite bone china dishes, teapots and demi-tasses, and the server offered to do just about everything but spoon the food in my mouth. I had to shoo him away. [​IMG]

    The next day however the person on the phone didn’t offer juice or newspaper and my head was a bit too foggy to think about that til later. The first day I tried grits with poached eggs, and the next day steak and eggs. Both were superb.

    Before check out I met with the GM and he listened to all my issues then gave me a tour of the spa site. There were about a dozen men up there doing construction so you can see why the hotel has a dust issue. I think they should make the March 1st date barring unforeseen problems. The vitality pool is done and was full of water. The saunas and steam also appeared to be finished. They are working on the treatments rooms now but I can say they have excellent views, as does the lounge area.

    That’s all I can think of for now. If anyone has questions, post them and I or someone else should be able to answer.
     
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  2. Chris H
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    Chris H Silver Member

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    Thanks stimpy for the thorough review. Will you return after the hotel is fully open and (hopefully) has all the kinks worked out?
     
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  3. stimpy
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    stimpy Silver Member

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    I am sure I will return someday. But there is a lot of competition in London.
     
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  4. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Does anyone know how they decide who can use the house cars (2 Rolls Royce)? My understanding is that it is at "their descretion"- however is this based on PP, suite booking, regular guest, whim of the person you are speaking with?
     
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  5. stimpy
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    stimpy Silver Member

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    The doorman controls access to the Rolls. It's based on first come first serve. And of course the doorman has to know you are a guest. I had no problem at all using the Rolls. It is pretty much the same as any other luxury hotel's town car.
     
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  6. Thank you for your report, Stimpy. I'll be looking with interest how many of the issues you have reported will have been rectified by the time I get there later this month.

    One thing that is really bothering me is the water pressure. Did you say anything about it to the management, and if so, what was their response?
     
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  7. stimpy
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    stimpy Silver Member

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    I reported everything directly to the GM. I would expect most issues to be fixed by March, but we'll see.
     
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  8. TRAVELSIG
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    Thanks Stimpy! Look forward to visiting this hotel.
     
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  9. philcape
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    philcape Silver Member

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    Nice, thorough report Stimpy.

    Sounds like too many issues still being bedded down so I'll wait until later in the year. Except maybe for tea. [​IMG]
     
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  10. TRAVELSIG
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    One question Stimpy- how is the high speed internet? Is it Wayport as the provider?
     
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  11. stimpy
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    stimpy Silver Member

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    I think it was Superclick. 15 for normal internet, 20 for premium. But Premium gives you up to 4 devices wired or wireless. The internet performance wasn't good. In fact incredibly bad when you consider the hotel is only 20% full. Hopefully that will get fixed ASAP.
     
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  12. TRAVELSIG
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    Thanks. I really dislike that Four Seasons still charges for Internet except for suite customers. Packing around various 3G sim cards is such a hassle- although a neccessary one when hotels charge more for Internet for one day than a monthly subscription fee with far higher speeds.
     
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