This is not a complaint, but more an objective review of the hotel from the perspective of Leisure travellers.
Firstly the good points. A 5 star hotel at current prices is exceedingly good value. The rooms are very impressively furnished, with a slick style and packed with technology. We stayed in a basic suite and you get spacious room, a good-sized bed, climate control and WiFi, a huge plasma television (that said we couldn't seem to work the music player or movies but we didn't particularly need that anyway), a bathroom almost as large as the room itself and we even had a partial view of the Thames. The only slight negative would be that it lacked the quaint little touches I have received in other 5 stars such as a chocolate on the pillow or a more extensive range of toiletries, but that's just me.
The hotel itself is very aesthetic with a modern asian theme, pleasantly lit at night. Whilst it may look large the hotel only actually extends up two floors, the rest being private apartments, so you get a more exclusive feel than the larger chains. If you wish you can go up to the top floor and out on to a terrace with views all over London. We didn't have time to use the spa facilities or restaurant but with several offers on they looked reasonably good value. The florist and bakery in the lobby we're a little strange opening at random times, and never seemed staffed, with the florist looking more like it was a bag storage. That said the cup cakes did look very nice!
There are however two significant points I would raise as to why we would not return to Hotel Rafayel. Whilst some of the staff proved helpful and energetic, others appeared too bored or too busy to pay any attention to the lobby guests. This highlighted itself most evidently in the free shuttle service to the nearest tube station, which is really was quite awful. We used this service on 3 occasions, booking in advance for all of them. On one of these occasions the driver took us to the wrong location first, prolonging our journey. On the other two occasions the drivers we're at least half an hour late for pickup, and for the most part the staff didn't even seem to care. One driver even told us that he couldn't be bothered to take us because his shift finished soon, but his colleague would be there in just a minute. 25 minutes later we got into this taxi. The service here was really disgraceful for a 5 star hotel where you expect little things like this to be very efficient. We were 30 minutes late for a dinner reservation at Clos Maggoire (despite allocating over an hour to get there) which is a very fine restaurant and one which I would highly recommend, perhaps they should teach the hotel staff some service tips.
This leads me on to my final point, the location. We were staying in London for the purpose of seeing the sights, going to the West End, some nice restaurants etc.. A weekend break. The hotel is not very good for this purpose. Whilst it may advertise Battersea as not a weak link, it's claim that you can be at Clapham Common within 7 minutes must be with very little traffic as we never got there quicker than 15 or 20. You then need to take at least two, probably three tube connections to reach the popular places in central London. Therefore on average journeys to the centre would take around an hour which means that you need to take everything you need for the day, just 'popping' back to the hotel would probably set you back 2 and a half hours which was a very significant portion of the time we had. These times are omitting the delays caused by the free shuttle service. I would also highlight that the free shuttle service does not run past 7.30pm or 9pm on weekends which means if you are returning from a night out you have to find you're own way back.
Overall whilst a very nicely fitted hotel, it's location and service meant it quite simply wasn't suited to our needs and we shall not be returning. I cannot speak for all types of clients in this respect as if you're destination was south of the river it is probably quite a good location, Wimbledon perhaps. If you wish to go to Rafayel then I would recommend instead taking the 170 bus to Victoria which took around 35-40 minutes but you can by-pass the shuttle service and two tube connections. Unfortunately we only discovered this half way through our stay. However for anybody who intends to spend most of their time in Central London then I would sacrifice the 5 star rating and go for something central, as once we got over the frustration of getting in London really is a fantastic city and we had a great time.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
Thank you for rating us as 5 star rooms & 5 star sleep quality. We are proud and appreciate your comments.
Of all our poorest reviews on Trip Advisor, none of them has faulted us on quality of the rooms which represents the spirit of the hotel. We get feed backs from clients who think our responses are wholesome and address very clearly the weaknesses of ours. Recognizing our weaknesses and addressing them has been our greatest strength.
We accept your criticism on the delay of our shuttle service. This is currently our weakest link. The shuttle leaves every 30 minutes and sometimes gets delayed due to the incoming guests. It is a 5 to 7 minutes drive to Clapham Junction. We are in the process of brining 3 eco friendly cars to address this issue and implement the timings very strictly. Your comments has expedited the process.
We are an independently run small hotel that takes great pride in our approach to our customer relations which is very unique. Forums like Trip Advisor are customer tools for us, which only helps and adds to our competence and efficiency.
Unfortunately two of our main strengths the food and the spa missed your opinion. We have over 640 reviews on Top Table who has categorized our restaurant as Gold Star. So is our spa. Our food and treatments at the spa offer 50% discounts and we don’t add any service charge. That makes us such a unique proposition in London.
The reason you gave us 5 star room and sleep quality is for the size of rooms and the amenities in them. The weak point is our location, Battersea. If you are the kind of traveler who wants to live in the vicinity of Park Lane or Knightsbridge we are about 20 minutes away as you have rightly pointed out. We are very honest in our acceptance regarding location, which we have highlighted in our website even to the extent of ‘Why Battersea ?’ . Once someone selects us they are well aware that they are 2o minutes away from Sloane Square.
As a ‘quid pro quo’ for our 20 minutes far off locality of Knightsbridge, we offer 5 star rooms & sleep quality for ½ to 1/3 value of a similar rooms in Central London. There is no service charge and our 24 hour parking rate is only £ 15. In addition we offer 50% discounts in our restaurant and spa. Our customers get great value and we make an extra ordinary effort to keep them happy, but if you need a location like the west end, this is not the area to be.
London is a great city and we try to get people to London in a manner that they get a good sleep for value and without any hidden surprises. Stephen Bailey has termed Battersea as leading the resurgence of the beautiful south and we are at the vanguard of the renaissance of the south. We think Battersea has the potential to be a “Rive Gauche” of London.
Thank you once again for your frank review. We do appreciate it greatly.
Chris de Saram
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.