The hotel: A five-minute walk from Paddington Station in London’s regenerated Paddington Basin, this 393-room hotel opened in March 2022. It’s the first of three new hotels being opened by parent Whitbread in the Paddington and Marylebone area of the capital by the end of 2023.
The check-in: The lobby was bustling when I arrived at around 5.30pm. I tried the self check-in kiosks but my booking code wasn’t accepted so I approached the reception desk and waited in line. There were a few people apparently waiting for their rooms to be ready but thankfully mine was.
The room: I stayed in one of the brand’s new Premier Plus rooms, which have some of the same features as a standard Premier Inn room, such as the famous king-size Hypnos bed and a choice of pillow, but with some extras, such as a bigger desk with an adjustable chair, mini-fridge with complimentary still and sparkling water, Nespresso machine, tea bags and some Green and Black chocolate (which I love and scoffed immediately). There’s also an ironing board, flatscreen TV, and an upgraded vanity unit with a stall and hairdryer, all cleverly designed to maximise space. Plus rooms also come with faster ‘Ultimate’ WiFi too. My only criticism was that the power shower could have been a bit more powerful.
The business: Speedy Wi-Fi, above desk power points and the larger desks made my bedroom a comfortable space to check emails. On my visit the noise and activity levels in the lobby weren’t conducive to work or meetings but there were quiet corners in the restaurant and bar.
The facilities: A long staircase from the lobby leads down to the vast Bar + Block Steakhouse restaurant, which is where breakfast is also served (full English £9.50 and continental £7.50). Lunchtimes and evenings the speciality is a selection of hand cut steaks – 8oz, 12oz, 16oz or even bigger on request. There’s also burgers, fish and chips and a roast on Sundays.
The verdict: This new-build has all the best bits of a Premier Inn but with some well-executed extra touches. It’s in a pretty, vibrant part of London that I never even knew existed but I will definitely go back.
The details: Paddington Exchange, N Wharf Rd, London W2 1LF