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“Amazing first hotel stay!”

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Rafayel on the Left Bank - Hotel & Spa
Ranked #320 of 1,071 Hotels in London
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 6, 2013

This was our first ever stay in a hotel and I have to say it was amazing!
We came here to celebrate our 5 year anniversary together and it couldn't have been better.

From the moment we walked in, we knew it was good. The reception staff were very helpful and we were able to check in a little earlier than 2pm.

We were on the first floor in an Amazon room, which I thought would be too low, but it wasn't that bad. We didn't have a brick wall as a view so that's all that mattered!
We did have to keep the blinds down quite low because people would be able to see what you are doing, or not wearing!

The bathroom was so stylish, especially the lovely big shower! Lovely soft towels that got changed whenever you wanted.

The bed was so clean and crisp. We used the extra pillows that were provided which were so fluffy. I could lay in that bed all day.

I love how eco-friendly the hotel was and the technology was not hard to use at all! Love being able to turn the lights on and off without getting out of bed!

Room service food was so lovely. We ordered two burgers one night, and a pizza on the next. Very delicious.
We didn't have dinner at the Banyan, but we did have the breakfast in the morning which was AMAZING. Continental includes all your fresh fruits, croissaints, pain du chocolat, toast, waffles, yoghurt, cereals, orange and apple juice and cold meats. For a buffet, 9.95 was not bad at all!
My boyfriend had the full buffet which also included a hot meal of beans, sausages, hash brows, etc... and you choose how you would like your eggs!

When you stay, try to experience the spa. We didn't have any treatments done, but we did use the jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and had a dip in the pool.
It was a lovely way to start the day and the steam is so great for your skin, ladies! ;)

At night we had some drinks in the Crystal bar. I had a few cocktails, including a couple Vanilla Berries, Pina Colada and a Strawberry Daiquiri. So strong and so yummy!

We also had a look on the terrace which has a lovely view of the Thames and the surrounding area. It's a shame it shuts at 9pm though, as it would be lovely to spend a whole evening up there.

We did have a look at the surrounding area which isn't THAT bad. There is a Wetherspoons nearby and a Tesco Express if you need anything.
We ventured to Clapham town which was said to have nothing there....ALL LIES!
LOADS of places to eat and lots of clubs and pubs.
We had a mini pub crawl, venturing from bar to bar just having a look and trying different things.

We couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate our anniversary. Best choice of hotel and we enjoyed every single second.
Will definitely be coming back in the future, can't stay away!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Katie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 2, 2013

Stayed here with boyfriend on recent trip to London and couldn't have been more pleased. It is a bit out of the way, however the hotel runs a half hourly shuttle to Clapham Junction & Clapham Common, and it's right on the Thames, and Battersea Park is a 10 minute walk away.

The staff were lovely and very accommodating. The room was nicely fitted, clean, just the right size. The bathroom was huge and very clean.

We didn't get a chance to use the spa facilities but I am sure it's worth it,if you have the time.

Restaurant was nice, breakfast served promptly and quite adequate. Significant discounts for hotel guests at the restaurant so I'd recommend dinner the at least once.

Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank Timothy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2013

From reading previous reviews and their subsequent responses from the hotel I can see that Hotel Rafayel is obviously a hotel that strives for excellence and on some occasions perhaps has not taken criticism too well. I therefore ask both Tripadvisor readers and anyone from the hotel who reads my review to note that I am a top reviewer of many hotels and always write fair and balanced reviews and have received many helpful votes. I carefully consider all aspects of a hotel before submitting a review.

Please find my detailed review below.

Location: Myself and a friend were looking for a night away in London at a spa hotel. As I live in London I didn't feel it was necessary to stay somewhere particularly central so when I saw Hotel Rafayel I thought this seemed like a good option. I was completely aware of the hotel's location. However I would seriously advise anyone coming to London primarily for tourism that you fully investigate where this hotel is located as I don't believe it is convenient for getting to central London simply because of the time it takes to get there.
The hotel shuttle service is most welcome and we used it to pick us up from Clapham Common - but do remember to book it at least 30 mins in advance as it does fill up quickly.

Room: We paid £139 for a night in an Amazon Suite, room 118. The room was nice but a slightly odd 'L shape' layout which I wasn't sure made the best use of the space, however the room was very clean and I liked the decor. The bed was also very comfortable - we had requested a twin room but at check in the hotel said all the could offer was an extra bed (which I assumed came at an extra cost - though this wasn't really explained) so we decided just to take the king bed option. I liked the tea and coffee making facilities but was disappointed that there was no shampoo provided in the shower - just a bottle of hand and body wash! No what I'd expect in a 5* hotel. Free Wifi was a nice extra and worked well, along with decent air conditioning which worked nicely. The bathroom was well done and after a bit of trial and error I figured out how to use the shower! We slept soundly and were not aware of any noise.
Finally we weren't expecting a view of the Thames, however as we were on the first floor it's not an understatement to say we were in absolute full view of the surrounding building site/office buildings which resulted in us having the curtains closed for most of the time we were in the room. If this is a major concern I advise booking a river view room.
£139 is the most I would pay for this room - I understand you do get a decent amount of space for a London hotel but I have paid the same amount of money to stay in an executive room at a Raddison in central London so I don't think Rafayel is necessarily offering ridiculously low rates, saying that they are not overpriced for what they offer either - they are on par with other London hotels so it comes down to personal preference with the kind of hotel you want to stay in.

Spa: Most disappointing. Anyone coming to this hotel primarily for the Spa should think again. In my time of staying at 'spa' hotels I have never encountered a smaller one than this! It amazed me that the gym next door took up so much space, yet no-one was using it, and the Spa was restricted to a tiny corner. It has a jacuzzi (that can fit a maximum of 3 people), a resistance pool that can fit 3 people max, a sauna that can fit 3 people, and a tiny steam room that was out of order. The Spa is marketed as being 'moderately sized within economy space to offer guests a sense of comfort and well being' - however there was no sense of comfort or well being, everyone there was very awkward as there was clearly no room for more than about 8 people to use the whole Spa and I saw quite a few guests come and have a look around, realise there was no room and leave. The hotel may have been better advised to just install one very large jacuzzi and forget the resistance pool and perhaps just have one large steam room OR sauna instead of trying to fit too much into too little space. There were also no keys for the lockers which I found bizarre as there was lots of lockers!! I would have expected to have been given a locker key when I was given my towel at the Spa reception?

Staff: Staff were ok. I read one hotel response saying they were trying to strike the right balance between being too over friendly and too cold and efficient. I think perhaps they have gone slightly too far in the cold and efficient approach. Don't get me wrong, I don't want nor need the hotel receptionist to have an hour long conversation with me when I'm checking in but you can still get the job done and have a smile on your face and kindly explain where everything is without taking extra time (I had to ask about the whereabouts of the Spa, check out time etc.) The greeting and subsequent service didn't feel 5*. This is not a personal attack against the staff but I do think if the hotel is aiming for a 5* ambiance there needs to be more of a friendly welcome from reception staff - if I'm being honest it felt like I was checking into a Premier Inn, not a 5* hotel - reception were efficient and pleasant but just not that interested in me as a guest. We also booked a taxi from the hotel to Clapham Junction station through the hotel as we were in a hurry and the shuttle was full - we paid £6.50 for 5 minute journey and had a very weird taxi driver who kept shouting things out the window and talking to himself which I thought wasn't really acceptable.

Ambiance: Confusing to say the least. When we arrived we didn't feel like we were entering a 5* hotel - the lighting is incredibly harsh and dare I say it a little tacky. Blue/Pink/Green lighting does not scream high class hotel. I don't doubt that money has been spent on the reception area but it all feels too much of a mish-mash at the moment. If they are going for the 'modern' look maybe get rid of the harsh lighting and have a more neutral, calming light, install some nicer white furniture and get rid of the fussy artwork and nick nacks and just generally calm it all down a bit! The decor felt like it needed to be streamlined a bit more - there were too many different ideas going on in too small space. There is potential there but at the moment it's not one thing or another. The bedrooms are decorated so nicely I don't understand why they decided to go so harsh in the reception and hallway areas?
Finally there was a rather unusual mix of guests staying at the hotel. I'm not a snob and it's not my place to judge who stays where but I must admit I didn't expect to see groups of teenagers staying at a 5* spa hotel?? They weren't rowdy or causing trouble but it was just quite unexpected to see this particular demographic staying there.

Verdict: I liked the rooms at Rafayel - care and thought had obviously been put into them and they had everything you could want from a hotel room. As mentioned before I didn't feel short changed by the price of the room. However, I have offered some constructive criticism about other aspects of the hotel which I hope the hotel takes it in good faith.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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3  Thank Student123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2013

Friendly service, clean room, but how the hell does that shower work?
Seriously there were like 5 different handles and I ended up sprayed in the face by one and it took me quite a few goes to work out how to use it. I think if there was a little note saying what to do the shower would have been excellent it was just very hard to understand, and I'm not stupid!

The cold pool could have been a little bigger. My friend and I could have held hands and touched one end to the other, but the spa was decent enough. Even though we couldn't figure out how to turn the bubbles off and they were very loud.

We had facials and massages and the service was excellent

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Katieceebee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2013 via mobile

I took my boyfriend here as a suprise for his birthday. Despite what other reviews have said we decided to walk from Clapham Junction to the hotel as it allowed us to see more of the area. The view of the hotel on arrival was stunning, girl on check in was lovely, however the girl beside her was having a silent argument with a colleague across the room (lots of mouthing and hand gestures) which created a bit of an atmosphere.
The room itself was very small and had a view of the car park which had a giant shelter over it so the room was very dull but the shower was nice and being able to control everything from the keyboard was a nice feature. The only problems we found with this room was that the noise from the carpark would wake us up early in the morning with people shouting and horns being blasted, a lot of noise could be heard from outside the room as well with people moving about (banging doors, another rooms radio).
The location was perfectly fine for us, one train took us straight to watford from Clapham Junction and only took 40 minutes and a lovely man named Yusif directed us to the best, and cheapest, way into the heart of london by explaining what bus to get and where to get it.
We also dined in the restaurant on the first night, food and staff where both lovely.
Overall we had a decent stay, was not as impressed with the room as I would have liked and that was down to the size, the noise, and the view (blinds were down the full time so nobody could see in from the car park). I wouldn't say this is a 5 star hotel but it done us for our time in London.

Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
1  Thank stephdoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2013

Stayed for 1 night as visiting friends; although we hadn't booked a twin they managed to accommodate our request. All of the staff were helpful and taxis very fast at arriving! Room was great. The only negative was the shower was difficult to turn off/on.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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1  Thank Sam-Jonathan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2013

I stayed here for 4 nights. Tonight, on my last night, I was locked out on the rooftop terrace. Each night I would go up on the terrace at around 10:50 or so and stay until 12:30 enjoying a scotch, looking out over the buildings and the Thames. Tonight while I was up there at around 11:05, a man came out and said the rooftop closes at 11:00, but that my wife and I could stay until 11:15. That was nice, but very inconsistent considering that the last 3 nights I had stayed there past that time. I also purchased a nice scotch to enjoy on the last night of my vacation (to sip on as I sit and look out). It was frustrating, but I could deal with it. However, once the clock struck 11:15 I headed inside, and noticed something peculiar... The doors to the roof were locked! I was locked out on the roof and had to iMessage my wife (she had gone inside about 5 minutes before) because we don't have cell reception since we don't live in the UK. Imagine if I wasn't in range for wifi!! After that, I went down to talk to the staff. Talha, the manager was incredibly rude. I told him what had happened, in a very kind way I might add, and he responded in a condescending manner with sarcasm. In a nutshell he said too bad deal with it. When you fly across the world and fork over the money to stay at a place like this you would expect some sort of courtesy. Apparently, that isn't a value of Rafayel on the Left Bank. Stay away. Come to London, just not here.

Also, at around 7 AM each morning there are loud hammering sounds. I was willing to look past this until I was treated so poorly. It's also far away from the main part of the city.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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13  Thank Cwn425
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Malcolm_Bass, Director at Rafayel on the Left Bank - Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 2, 2013

Dear Sir

Thank you for your review on TripAdvisor. We find it hard to believe that you have written such a damaging review for a small incident and not given the true facts in its entirety. We have the right to respond and provide the facts for the benefit of other readers in this forum.

Our roof terraces close at 11PM as per regulations of the Local Authority. We bent backwards to allow you to stay outside in our Roof Terrace till late even though it was beyond the regulated time. These are displayed for the benefit of the guests. It is unfortunate that you have not seen the notice displaying the closing time. There are exceptions to this rule. We do allow guests to stay out later, provided they remain quiet, thus not disturbing our neighbours.

Furthermore, we like to categorically mention here that you were not locked out on the roof terrace. One of our Duty Managers found the fire exit door leading to the terrace wedged open during his rounds and closed it properly. Anyone with a room key could have accessed the building through this door. You got locked out since your wife went in earlier with your room key. Even then, there is a lift right next to the fire exit which you could have taken to the ground floor and walked back across the courtyard to the reception. As the above indicates, we repeat ourselves that you were not locked out of the building, due to any negligence of the hotel.

Talha the duty manager has an entirely different recollection of your attitude towards the staff. You have been quite rude and demanded compensation for being locked out or to prepare ourselves for a bad review on TripAdvisor. He apologized profusely and requested you to bear with us, especially since you had mentioned that you have had an enjoyable stay thus far. Your comments about the rude and unfriendly staff is contradicted by the vast majority of our guests in this forum, hence we wish not to elaborate on this further.

We are sorry if you were disturbed in the morning due to a loud noise. We have noted your comment and are investigating the matter.

Regarding your remark on the location of the hotel, you made an informed decision to stay with us, knowing exactly where we are located, as clearly described in all websites featuring our hotel. We are less than 20 minutes away from central areas such as Victoria and Waterloo at a third of the price of a similar hotel in Central London. We are a fledging business offering a product of high standard with equally matching services, at competitive rates. We love what we do and try our best in every possible way to make our guest’s experience a memorable one.

We thank you once again for your patronage.

Kind Regards
The Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rafayel on the Left Bank - Hotel & Spa

Address: 34 Lombard Road | Falcon Wharf, London SW11 3RF, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > London > Clapham / Battersea 
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#60 Spa Hotel in London
#71 Business Hotel in London
#227 Family Hotel in London
#229 Luxury Hotel in London
#263 Romantic Hotel in London
Price Range: $146 - $282 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Rafayel on the Left Bank - Hotel & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 70
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rafayel on the Left Bank boasts 70 designer "smart" rooms, champagne bar, riverside restaurant and conference facilities, exhibition spaces as well as the latest spa and beauty treatments and gym. Rafayel is one of the world's most advanced luxury green hotels and proves that hotels can dramatically reduce their carbon emission output without compromising on five-star luxury, quality or comfort. Located on the River Thames at the heart of London's most dynamic riverside development, with sweeping views across to Chelsea Harbour, Rafayel is minutes from the shopping areas of Sloane Square and Knightsbridge and is close to Victoria Station and London's major attractions. Rafayel provides a free shuttle service to and from Clapham Junction and Clapham Common on Northern line every 30 minutes from 7.30 AM to 10.30 PM. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rafayel On The Left Bank - Hotel And Spa
Rafayel On The Left Bank Hotel London
Rafayel On The Left Bank - Hotel & Spa London, England

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