I traveled to London with my best friend for a bachelor's weekend prior to his marriage. We stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London - Docklands Riverside due to his membership in the Hilton rewards program, which ended up coming in handy, because it got us a good upgrade to a room with a view of the Thames and Canary Wharf, as well as access to a hot full English breakfast every morning.
After a harrowing 2 hour drive from the airport in rush hour traffic, in the back seat of a rather unconvincing sedan that left both of us feeling ill, we were relieved to walk into a well-lit, well-appointed lobby. A charming young woman greeted us with hot cookies (they tasted fresh, and delicious!), an upgraded room, and a smile. Finding the room was a bit of a challenge -- as Americans, used to a single bank of elevators taking us to where we want to go, the winding hallways leading to tiny elevators was a change, but once we sorted it out I was fine (my friend, on the other hand, had a tendency to go the wrong way, thank goodness I was there!). We had booked a two-bed room, but were upgraded to a view of the River Thames, which was really excellent. As it was my first trip to London, I was truly delighted by the upgrade!
The room was large, with two full beds (maybe queens), with nice bedding and pillows. The beside tables were quite small, but there was plenty of table space (including a coffee table in a rather nice small sitting area, a desk, an entertainment center, and the top of a cabinet near the door. The room came well equipped with an ironing board and iron. I don't recall whether there was a hair dryer, as neither of us needed one. There was a single chair in a small alcove near the windows, and near the door to the balcony. The chair wasn't very comfortable, but it did for a pinch when putting shoes on, reading a guidebook or whatever.
One downside to the proximity to the water was that the bathroom tended to be damp. The shower tended to spew onto the ground, so we had to be careful. The bathroom was small but managed to hold all our toiletries, etc. The shampoo, soap, conditioner, and body gel was fine -- nothing special but no complaints. The towels were large, soft, and plentiful. There was a large window in the shower/tub which was nice.
The first night, we were exhausted from travel, so we elected to dine in the hotel restaurant. Another adjustment for an American traveling abroad! The food was fine -- not spectacular and not, in my opinion, worth the cost, but I think that's about par for the course with hotel food. The next morning, we had breakfast in the hotel and thanks to my friend's Hilton rewards we had a full hot English breakfast each morning. This turned out to be a buffet in addition to the standard Continental breakfast, and included eggs (both scrambled and - I want to say baked, but possibly poached), bacon, sausages, hash browns, grilled tomatoes, blood pudding, and every day a different specialty item, which was carried around to each table by a charming young lady. I don't remember what was offered each day, but one day was waffle sticks, which were served with maple syrup. The young lady who was serving was very helpful -- picked up on our accents, offered assistance with the Underground, etc. She was very kind!
In the middle of the first morning, there was a fire alarm. The staff were professional and efficient in getting us all out of the buildings and across the street to a park.
By far the best thing about this hotel is the free ferry across the Thames to Canary Wharf, where we could then transfer to the riverboat service! The riverboat is a great way to get around the city, particularly central London where a lot of the tourist places are. Stops for the boats were very nearby to Westminster, the Tower of London, London Bridge, etc. The ferry ran about every five minutes, and ran late into the evening. My only regret is not finding out about the riverboats sooner -- a misread sign suggested that the boats were out of service.
Not everything was fantastic. A few items that proved to be somewhat vexing:
- The safe in our room was broken, and the staff all but refused to allow us to store our passports and cash in the hotel safe. They sent a technician to repair the safe, but he wasn't able to do so. They wanted to move us to another room, but there weren't any others available. Yet and still they were extremely reluctant to store our belongings for safekeeping. A front desk manager, I think named Penny, was somewhat rude when we asked. This left a bad taste in our mouth.
- The room service was a mess! The menu was wrong, and the individual we spoke to to order didn't seem to know what was available and what wasn't.
Overall, it was a great value and a nice place to stay. The breakfast upgrade was worth it since we were running around the city all day. The room was comfortable, the shower was nice and the housekeeping service was very thorough. Apart from the broken safe, the room was perfectly nice. The balcony and stunning views of the river and the city were a huge plus! The staff, apart from the aforementioned Penny, were all extremely kind, friendly, efficient, and knowledgeable.
I would love to stay again when I return to London.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Your memorable stay begins with a warm, chocolate chip cookie at check-in. DoubleTree by Hilton London - Docklands Riverside, located along the River Thames with stunning views of Canary Wharf - an ideal choice for travellers looking to make the most out of London from a waterside location. This former 17th-century wharf building boasts exposed brickwork and London's last dry dock for shipbuilding. The hotel's very own river ferry provides complimentary river access to the square mile of Canary Wharf as well as connecting you with Thames River Taxi Clippers that offer an unforgettable voyage on the Thames, straight into central London. Only 20 minutes away from London City Airport, the DoubleTree by Hilton London Docklands Riverside is the ideal place to stay when attending events at O2 Arena and the ExCel London conference venue or visiting museums and shopping. If we can't tempt you to take the river taxi, the nearby Underground station or Docklands Light Railway service offer alternative means of getting to the rest of the city. Secure parking for 120 cars is available at the hotel for just £14 per night. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton London Docklands Hotel London
- London Hilton