W London Leicester Square

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by Wurm, Feb 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    I completed a one-night stay at this hotel, in its fourth night of general operation. My overall impression was positive, but a number of caveats need to be considered by the prospective guest.

    Location: The hotel is located a short block from Leicester Square (the square itself is being reconstructed in preparation for the 2012 Olympics). The location is excellent for many of the more popular touristic sites, and especially well-placed for West End theater. London's two opera houses are also easily reached by foot - The Coliseum (English National Opera) is a few blocks away, while the Royal Opera (Covent Garden) is about six or seven blocks away.

    Transport: For those wishing to use The Underground when arriving at Heathrow, the hotel is well-places as it is near stations on the Piccadilly Line (the line serving LHR). The journey at mid-day takes about one hour, and there is limited floor space for luggage (but no racks). Caveat: The closest station, Leicester Square (about two blocks), although it has escalators taking the traveler the majority of the way upward and downward distance, there are two medium-length staircases from the platforms to the lower escalator access level, and also one medium-length escalator from the end of the escalator to street level. My recommendation is to walk about four additional blocks and use the Covent Garden Tube station (also on the Piccadilly Line). This station has lifts that run from street level most of the way down to the platform - you only have to negotiate one stairway, about 18 steps or so.

    Reception: Entering on street level, one takes the elevator one level up to the reception level. Three "pods" are provided for guest processing. I was assisted by a young man who was well-intentioned but who seemed not to have learned all the nuances of the system. Another employee, who seemed a supervisor, stepped in and helped out. I liked that she did so in a supportive way (didn't berate the employee).

    The room: I was in a basic room, "Wonderful" in W-speak. From other reports, the first three categories of rooms are all the same size, differing only in location in the building. I think the measurement is 25 square meters - cosy but wokrable - very adequate for one, snug but not claustrophobic for two people who know each other quite well (see below).

    On entering my Wondrous room, there is a vestibule area containing a hanging closet area, storage for the ironing board, small hanging area for the robes, a few storage drawers and cubbyholes. The air conditioning control and master light switches are also located in the vestibule. There is a room-key slot to "tell" the a/c system that you are in the room - my CVS Extra-Care card was pressed into service, with no problem whatsoever :D The vestibule can be sealed off from the room via a sliding panel - I think this will help in reducing ambient noise from partying guests returning to their rooms.

    Once inside the room, the "extension of inner space" design concept becomes immediately apparent. The floors are tiles, with a chocolate brown sectional rub under the bed. A wall-mounted Phillips HDTV sits opposite the beds - unfortunately, this makes it impossible to watch while using the one-armed lounging sofa, since the couch is underneath the TV. Mid-room is the most innovative area - the water closet and the shower are hidden behind walled access doors, but the sink is out in the open. That is not in and of itself a show-stopper, however, the "desk area" is merely an extension of the same counted that the sink is recessed into. Not so bad if there is only one in the room, however, with two people, care will need to be taken in not allowing water to possibly harm any electornics in use. In general, the mirrored walls and furniture-free space in the center does give the room a feeling of spaciousness that belies its actual shape.

    Other notes: There is a safe with UK-mains outlet, so that you can recharge your laptop pr phone whilt it is locked away. Happily, there is a easy-to-access UK mains plug right at bedside, something that many hotels forget about. There's a mini-bar (a mod-looking cylinder, sort of like a stripped-down R2-D2 with drinks and condoms) :D TV channel selection is decent, not expansive, concentrating mostly on the BBC, SKY and CNN news feeds, also the ESPN international feed (lots of soccer, little about the potential NFL lockout). Water pressure in the shower (rainforest head and also a wand is very good - the surgace is slippery and I recommend using the washcloths on the floor to avoid a slip.Internet service, at about £15 for 24 hours, was reasonably robust, with no dropouts.

    Food and Beverage: Not used, so I cannot comment. The main bar was closed for a Vogue magazine party, but management was offering all guests free drinks at a "popup bar" (probably a meeting room pressed into service) - this was a smart gesture!

    Checkout: Painless and accurate - the lady who assisted me was quite young (college-age, seeming), but had a pleasant graciousness and sincerity about her that made her a natural for the hospitality industry, should she wish to pursue such a career. She handled the system with aplomb, unlike her colleague the previous day. Which leads to:

    "W" Attitude - I'm happy to report that there was a total absence of the staff arrogance and near-hostility towards guests not meeting some corporate definition of "our type of guest" that mars many W locations, especially in North America. Management at this location, while certainly recruiting an attractive staff (nothing wrong with that, I like looking (discreetly) like the next guy), they have kept out the "bimbo / himbo" element that know how to preen but hasn't any fathom of the meaning of customer service.

    Conclusion: A stunning physical design in a near-ideal location, matched with attentive, attitude-free staff. As long as one knows about the unique "bathroom layout", this is an option to be placed in the upper reaches of the list when considering options in Central London (especially good for SPG redemptions, and weekends, rate-wise).
  2. AC_MM
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    AC_MM Silver Member

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    Great review, thanks so much for posting. I have been watching the progress of the hotel and it's defiantly on my next stay list. the location is so central and ultra convenient for anyone who wants to be the hub bub of Regent street, Piccadilly circus, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and Oxford Street.
  3. From NYC
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    From NYC Gold Member

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    Thanks for the detailed report.

    Still, as a budget-conscious SPG Plat, I wonder whether I’d stay here as opposed to the very nearby LM Picadilly, where I’d have a lounge for breakfast and evening meals, a terrific swimming pool and good gym, and where I’ve always been given nice suites.

    Yes, I know it’s a lifestyle choice and difference. Would certainly give it a one-night stand, just to see.

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