The Grosvenor, London
THE HOTEL: Opened in 1862, the Grosvenor Hotel was one of the capital's first great railway hotels. Today, the listed building is the newest member of the Guoman Hotels collection following a refurbishment project that has made the most of its Victorian features but also added a touch of modern luxury. This four-star hotel has 346 guestrooms and is located right next to Victoria station.
THE CHECK-IN: I arrived in reception via the discreet entrance from the station concourse. Those arriving via the main entrance are greeted by a 'wow factor' lobby with intricate decor, an enormous chandelier and gold leaf finishes – I only fully appreciated this after quickly checking in and making for the lift.
THE ROOM: My Executive room was on the second floor which still smelled brand new. Facilities included a Hypnos bed, Bose iPod dock, flatscreen TV, complimentary tea, coffee and minibar, an iron and ironing board, desk, safe, lounge chair, air conditioning and bathroom with Grohe rainfall shower and Elemis toileteries. The decor was black and white with a splash of red and gold, plus Londonthemed artwork. The only disappointment was an uninspiring view over the station roof.
THE BUSINESS: My room category granted me access to the swish Executive Lounge on the same floor where complimentary snacks, canapes, tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks are served until 11pm. Breakfast can also be enjoyed in its plush, tranquil surroundings. Elsewhere, there are nine meeting rooms, each named after famous trains. The largest is the Orient Suite with capacity for up to 120 people. There's also a new staffed business centre.
THE FACILITIES: The new restaurant, Grand Imperial, serves Cantonese dishes and has a private dining room for 20 people. The Brasserie is best for informal dining, while the new Reunion bar – which was busy late into the night – is set at the top of a central, sweeping marble staircase. There's also a lounge space for informal meetings and afternoon tea, a small gym, and BT Openzone wifi internet access throughout the hotel.
THE VERDICT: This deluxe property is in a tremendous location and has benefitted from a classy yet sensitive makeover. If the travel policy allows it, an upgrade to the Executive floor should definitely be considered.
THE DETAILS: 101 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0SJ. Rates start from £99 per room per night excluding breakfast and VAT. Tel: 0871 376 9038 or see www.guoman.com.
Reviewed by Andy Hoskins (2012)