Overall, I'd recommend the hotel--Not the 4-star quality I expected, but free breakfast was worth the extra we paid.
(1) BREAKFAST: Were told that all guests get complimentary breakfast. It was served in the basement--we just gave our room number then got a plate and were able to choose from many options and have as much as we wanted. The staff was generally on top of things and treated us like paying customers.
(2) 24-HR SERVICE: Staff was generally pleasant and helpful. We once had to ask for extra coffee in our room 3 times, but beside that, we got everything we asked for promptly. When we first got there, there was a lady yelling and complaining about NO SHEETS ON THE BED, so when we saw the same thing in our room, we simply asked for extra sheets and got them that same minute.
(3) LOCATION: Was pleased that many things were in walking distance (including the shuttle to the Heathrow airport at Paddington station).
The website and customer service before we got there was a bit confusing and frustrating.
We ended up calling the hotel directly since the information on booking.com and theshaftesbury.com didn't match up and we were worried our reservation would not be honored from a third party. Reading the reviews, I was worried that we'd get moved to another hotel, so we booked a few weeks in advance--maybe that helped.
We called 3 times and got different information about the availability of beds and showers in the rooms (wanted 3 beds in the triple, but were once told they don't do that and later told they'd put in a request...wanted to make sure there were showers in the rooms and were once told that they'd put in a request and were later told that all rooms have showers). We reserved two rooms and when we asked if they could be close to each other the response was "all the rooms are close to each other." We just took that strange answer and hoped for the best.
I'm not exactly sure which type of rooms we got since our email confirmation didn't include the words "deluxe" or "club." We got a twin room and a triple, both on the 4th floor. The twin had two beds moved together and the triple also had two beds together and a couch. I remember reading that the couches were for sleeping, but we were told that they are just couches, and I don't think ours had a pull-out option, so we just used an extra duvet, and it was fine. Both rooms had a bathtub/shower and toilet.
We also had towels, toilet & facial tissue, plenty of shampoo & conditioner, gel and hand soap, tea & coffee, milk & sugar, a super-fast kettle, 2 bottles of water, fresh flowers, a television set, a center table (in the triple), a desk & chair, one luggage rack, a microwave (unplugged in cabinet), a telephone, safe, hairdryer, bedside tables and storage/hangers for clothes (but we didn't use the wardrobe/closet because we had to move the floor lamp in order to fully open it). The rooms were small and some items were awkwardly placed, but the rooms were not as small as some of the reviews stated, and we found them suitable. The bathroom in the triple was not very large, but there was a mirror above the toilet for when two of us needed one.
There was no wine or fresh fruits as stated in one description, but maybe that was for the more expensive rooms. There were no bathrobes and one of our rooms didn't have an iron, but I'm guessing we could have requested those. There was also no newspaper but I saw some offered in basement and we probably could have requested that too.
My first impression of the rooms was relief that they matched the pictures and quality I expected, but upon closer inspection, the facilities don't look as sleek or feel as expensive or new. Our rooms looked a lot like a couple of the pictures on booking.com and the hotel's website. Our triple looked like the photo with the red couch and the tea cups on the right side, but I'm guessing they moved some furniture from behind the photographer before taking the picture to make it look more spacious. The photo of the bathroom that's online was most likely taken from inside the tub. The pictures of the breakfast room are accurate, but there’s a picture of a TV or sitting room on booking.com that I didn't see anywhere. There is a sitting area in the basement by the computers that I saw in one of the pictures by the bar, but it’s small.
(1) INTERNET: If there WAS free Wi-Fi, we couldn't get it in our room. Another guest told us that it was only available in the basement and in the reception area. We tried a couple of times to use the Wi-Fi in the basement, but it didn't work for us. Luckily, there were two public computers in the basement that were available most of the time we needed them.
(2) NO USA plug adapters: It's possible we were supposed to request them, but I assumed from the descriptions I read that they would be in the rooms. The only "USA plug" I saw in the room was for a shaver in the bathroom. Also, there were no other outlets in our bathroom other than for shavers.
(3) OTHER THINGS: (a) bathroom door was loud and difficult to open & close (b) towels were of cheap quality (c) the bathtub was elevated so I had to watch my step getting out of the shower (d) the lighting in the bathroom was fine, but there was no overhead light in the center of the room, so it often felt dark in the room (e) as I mentioned, there were no extra sheets in the room so we had to request them. Also, there were some heavy blankets in the cabinets, but they looked questionable, so we didn't use them (f) there was a draft coming from a windows that wouldn't close. The draft didn't bother me because of the heavy drapes. The heater, which may have been on most of the night because of the draft, didn't bother me either (g) at checkout, we were told we owed 75 pence for the phone use. This wasn't much, but we were upset because we weren't even able to connect our call--we only heard beeps on the phone before we hung up. We got the number from the company that was trying to find our lost luggage, so we assumed it was a local number, but were later told that the "0844" number was a toll call. Arguing our case did nothing, so we just paid.
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