Typically, I prefer to stay in hotels that are recently built and therefore modern, but when presented with an opportunity to stay at The Waldorf Hilton London, I was unable to say no. It’s one of London’s most illustrious hotels, with its history fascinatingly dating back to the early 20th century.
Situated in the heart of West End, the hotel will thrill many a theatergoer. Just beside the hotel is the Novello Theatre, where Mamma Mia! is currently being staged, while among the venues adjacent to the hotel is the Lyceum Theatre, where the Lion King is being staged.
The hotel was purposely opened in the area in 1908, as its founder, Edward Sanders, was a theater impresario. Through the financial help of William Waldorf Astor—after whom the hotel was named—Mr. Sanders wanted the hotel “to follow the American tradition of offering more than just a room but to be a place for passers-by to stop for dinner, afternoon tea, or a drink.”
Throughout its 108-year history, the hotel, now a listed building protected by the English Heritage, not only hosted tangos, bands, film shoots, awards ceremonies, and other glamorous events but also survived two world wars. By the way, the hotel is also famous for the impeccably-styled Palm Court, where scenes the Titanic film “A Night to Remember” were shot.
Fast forward to the 21st century, the Hilton group acquired The Waldorf Hotel in 2004, renamed it to The Waldorf Hilton London, and completed two multimillion renovations—in 2005 and 2015. Despite its facelifts, however, the hotel’s Edwardian glamour has been retained, not only on the outside but on the inside as well.
We arrived at the hotel early into the morning, before our tour outside London was set to start. Entering the lobby was like getting transported into one of those fabulous hotels you’d see in classic movies. But that’s not to say the hotel seemed old—thanks to proper maintenance and renovations, it looked new.
For our room wasn’t ready yet when we arrived, one of the friendly front desk associates offered to take our bags and provide us with lounge access, so we can have breakfast. Talk about good service!
As we returned later that day, we were handed the key to Executive Room. Getting there, we had to take the lift to the seventh floor then take the stairs to the eighth floor because the heritage hotel, being old, has its architectural limitations. Good thing, our luggage were handled and stored by the concierge before check-in and after check-out.
We loved our room the moment we saw it. Sure, we weren’t in a modern room like we are accustomed to, but we were reliving Edwardian glamour of the olden times—an experience hard to find in Asia.
Being a room in a Hilton, all the conveniences expected of a five-star hotel were present, starting with The Hilton Bed by Serta, which features patented technology that “improves circulation and reduces night time restlessness.” The bathroom, set in marble, had a powerful hot shower (a godsend in frigid climates) and amenities by New York-based brand, Peter Thomas Roth.
Since, again, we were staying in an Executive Room, we had access to the intimate Executive Lounge. Eating out in London can be expensive, so we took advantage of the lounge’s continental breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening cocktails—all of which were excellent in our opinion. Plus, the service in the lounge was fantastic—we were always greeted with a smile and assisted whenever we needed anything.
We also had the chance to try out Homage Restaurant, and foremost, we were astonished by its exquisiteness—the furnishings were classic and tasteful, and the chandeliers the hung from its high ceiling were gorgeous. Despite how classy and intimate the place felt, however, we were surprised that the prices were fair—entrees (steaks included) averaged 20 GBP (~1250 PHP), which is about how much one would pay in a hotel of the same or lesser class in Manila.
Anyway, we enjoyed the creamy mussels, the smoked duck breast, and of course the steaks, which came from farms in England (Casterbridge) and Scotland (Buccleuch). The steaks were tender and definitely excellent for the price.
Our schedule in London was busy, but we were able to check out the hotels facilities, which include a heated indoor swimming pool and a fitness room.
IN A NUTSHELL: WHY STAY THERE?
With modern hotels dominating the market, a stay at this classic hotel is unique and memorable.
The service and location are fantastic.
The hotel’s nightly rates are affordable for London and are great value-for-money.
Hilton Honors members earn points and get preferential rates on top of extra perks.
THE WALDORF HILTON LONDON
Aldwych, London, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 207 836 2400
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