Is it ever acceptable to judge a hotel on its smell alone?! If so, The Park Plaza London Waterloo comes up smelling of roses! The beautifully sweet aroma hits you as soon as you enter the moody, darkly lit reception area. It smells expensive. And it looks like a members club.
Check in at reception is pleasant, it’s over in a flash because you’re too preoccupied with the stylish surroundings. The surreal art and objects gracing the shelves and the oversized festive snow globe filling most of the sprawling space (it was Christmas when I visited..)
I was three hours early for check in (talk about over keen), and although I only had a very short wait before my room was ready, I used this as the perfect excuse to check out Park Plaza London Waterloo’s busy, buzzy long bar restaurant and bar area – Florentine. With a brasserie style menu, a whole host of stylish bottles and cocktails, super comfy seat and lightening speed wifi, I supped on a lovely crisp cold glass of Italian Fiano and hashtagged livingmybestlife on Insta.
But the best was yet to come. The Exec floor is where I was headed, which even has a rooftop terrace for use in summer – swanky. I sashayed along the wide corridors, tripping over a couple of times in my inappropriate footwear on the luxurious thick tread carpets.
For the best views at any London hotel which offers sprawling views over the city, Exec is definitely the way to go. The vibes of my new New-York-apartment-style-room were perfectly set off by the floor-to-ceiling windows and I loved all the modern furnishings including the ‘feature wall’ – a sort of life sized colour light box separating the gigantic bed from the bathroom.
In these ‘ultra-modern’ hotels, it’s also the norm to have your lights, curtains and air con controlled by a super cool pad on the wall and by your bed. Mine seemed to be missing the ‘make the bed’ feature in the morning but I was pretty happy with the rest! Lighting could even be set to mood. Perfect for watching the enormous wall-mounted TV in the evenings while admiring the high lacquered shine of the furnishings. How very boujis.
I sadly didn’t get time to use the heated indoor pool or the fitness centre, but I did of course have a wander down there to check it out (then at least I could feel as if I’d done 20 lengths in their lush 15m pool). As far as facilities go, these are state-of-the-art. Meanwhile, I discovered, following a sweaty workout and shower (with the whole range of Elemis products no less) the Exec Lounge is the place to be between 6-8pm with free drinks and even – get this – canapes. Amazing.
Breakfast was equally as impressive with more food than I could ever hope to eat. But of course I did try. Fresh juices, copious amounts of fresh breads and pastries (thank goodness I wasn’t on the no carbs before Marbs diet), and a fabulous array of hot English breakfast items set up for the day. And maybe the day after that. I checked out with a huge smile on my face, feeling confident I’d found a hotel brand I could definitely become loyal to.
It’s no wonder that at the end of last year, Park Plaza Hotels were named AA Large Hotel Group of the year – a BIG deal within the hospitality industry and a real stamp of achievement for the hotel group in recognition of their outstanding level of service, food and accommodation across its 11 hotels in the UK. If I’d been on the judging panel, I’d have awarded them it too.