The words Groupon and Waldorf are not normally two you expect to see in the same sentence. Fortunately for us, it can happen.
We were delighted to accept an invitation from a friend of a friend to join her for dinner courtesy of a Groupon offer. Investigation of the hotel website in search of a map yielded no such practical information but instead suggested that hotel guests, having arrived at one of the London airports, should make their way to a mainline station and from there, travel by taxi to the hotel.
Dining in London is a always a special treat for us and we were excited as we caught the 4.35 train from Waterbeach, all dressed up and armed with a printout of a google map to make sure we wouldn’t get lost!
It was the first of the hot days of this strange summer of 2013 so we were warm by the time we arrived – and looking forward to our complimentary champagne cocktail!
There is no disputing the iconic character of the building, and I can imagine the thrill of first-time visitors to London arriving at the hotel.
The dining room is lovely: lofty, elegant, gracious and redolent of Edwardian tea dances with its soft gold colour scheme, graceful palms, classical columns, antiqued mirrors and enlargements of faded post-cards on the walls.
Staff were friendly and patient with us as we were more interested in talking than in perusing the menu. Champagne cocktails delivered and consumed, choices made and orders taken, we enjoyed the view and the conversation.
The food was competent if unadventurous. And, although the special fixed price menu was limited, there was enough choice for a vegetarian and a non-starch eater. My tomato and mozzarella salad was unremarkable and the risotto I had for my main course was just slightly short of perfectly-cooked. My husband’s first course of haddock followed by chicken fricassee were, he says, fine, although the fricassee was, he pronounced, more like a chasseur.
Desserts were predictable English fare: lemon tarte, Eton mess… all fine, if a little too sweet for my taste.
The wine list was surprisingly affordable and we enjoyed a bottle of Trebbiano Reggiano and lots of sparkling water!
So it was all pleasant enough and fantastic value as far as the Groupon special offer was concerned. However, on such a warm evening, I was a little surprised that the ventilation in the dining room seemed poor if not non-existent. There were, apparently, no fans and no air conditioning and having my own personal summer definitely marred my enjoyment of the full Waldorf dining experience.
All in all a very pleasant evening – lovely to spend it with friends in a beautiful old building. However, I would estimate, judging by the number of champagne cocktails being served, that the majority of other diners were also there as part of some special offer or other. And it was fantastic value for money at £25 per head for three courses plus the champagne cocktail!
While it was all just fine, it was nothing special. I am guessing that the hotel – at least the restaurant is resting on its ancient laurels while aiming to please tourists from out of town and out of the country who will be only too delighted to be served relatively traditional English fare in a elatively traditional English building only a stone’s throw away from their pick of London theatres. It would be lovely if they could restore the excellent food and excellent service that one might have expected from a hotel with Waldorf in its name.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Waldorf Hilton has one of the chicest addresses in town bridging the West End and the Square Mile to provide an excellent base for access to the City by day and the cultural delights of Covent Garden by night. Homage Restaurant pays tribute to the grand cafes of Europe, incorporating Good Godfrey's Bar and Lounge and the famous Palm Court. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Waldorf Hilton Hotel London
- Hilton Hotel London
- Hilton Hotel Waldorf
- Hilton London Waldorf
- London Hilton
- Waldorf Hotel London
- Waldorf Hilton London
- The Waldorf Hilton London England