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“Overall a Delight”

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The Royal Horseguards
Ranked #114 of 1,073 Hotels in London
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 17, 2009

As the Royal Horseguards Hotel has re-opened after a massive, £16 million renovation, I thought a detailed review of our six-night stay last week may be of value.

The £16 million was well spent and upgrades are evident everywhere you go. Each room, each door, each handrail has been painstakingly replaced, repaired or renovated. The result is a hotel that provides you with modern amenities, virtually new furniture and a location to die for. It certainly is a great value.

But, make no mistake about it. The Royal Horseguards is a business hotel. Located a few blocks from Parliament and key ministries, the primary clientele are persons doing business with the British government or surrounding embassies. Therefore, the hotel staff is appropriately professional, occasionally to the point of indifference, (but more about that later).

We stayed in a 5th floor executive king room overlooking the Thames (unless you are on the top two floors, your view will be partially blocked by trees). The room was quite beautiful and quite spacious - easily fits three (we had a rollaway for our daughter). Wonderful linens on the king size bed and GIGANTIC towels for the tub.

Of special delight are TWO reclining chairs that allowed us to relax our feet after a day of cobble-stoning it. In addition to two desks - one in the spacious entrance way, there are two double closets, free Internet, a French press coffee maker with all the supplies replenished each day, flat screen t.v., iPod plug in and many, many other “extras.” As I said, it really is a value.

The one major drawback of the room is that that although the riverfront rooms have two sets of French doors - none of the doors can be opened and there are no windows! According to our bellman, the terrace of this 125-year-old structure is so unstable that the government authorities forbid guests to walk out. That is perfectly understandable, but if so, why install french doors? Why not widows that let in even a bit of fresh air? Perhaps they will reinforce the terrace in the near future.

There were some other quirks. The delicious bathtub (separate from the shower) has a good sized television set above it. However, as the selection of channels in the hotel is minimal - catering to the business traveler, you will probably end up watching nothing but news or news/talk during your bath. The lights are also a bit quirky - you must refer to the instructional diagram several times before their sequence become familiar. (If you plan on coming in late from a pub crawl, I suggest you leave them on before departing, otherwise, it may be an eventful evening stubbing your toes in the dark).

The buffet breakfast each morning (included in our room rate) was first rate. Plenty of choices including fresh fruit, juices, freshly baked pastries, eggs, sausage, cereal, potatoes and more. On weekends, they serve until 11:00 AM, so you can eat enough to hold you until dinner with just a pint for lunch. We enjoyed a light dinner our first evening which was quite nice and reasonably priced.

There are plenty of sitting areas throughout the ground floor of the hotel - large comfy chairs make it ideal to sit and quietly plan your day or just relax and read. A small gas fireplace in the lobby is surrounded by a couch and chairs.

As has been mentioned in the previous reviews, the highlight of the Royal Horseguards is the location. It truly is perfect for a tourist. A ten-minute walk gets you to Covent Garden, the Strand, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster Abbey. The hotel, is literally around the corner from the Embankment Tube stop where trains takes you anywhere in central London in 15 minutes. Cabs are not plentiful at the hotel entrance, so if you do require one at a specific time, advance notice to the doorman is strongly recommended.

Finally, about the staff. Frankly, the service is uneven and that is my only complaint. Check in was efficient, but not the least bit gracious or welcoming. Breakfast service staff, however, were universally efficient, gracious and welcoming. And the breakfast hostess who managed the large, busy buffet breakfast dining rooms was a true delight - greeting each guest personally and warmly.

Ben, the doorman remembered our names the first day, and could not do enough for us. When Ben was not around, his replacement chatted with colleagues, failing to open the door even though we had packages.

Our bellman upon arrival was delightful and helpful. Our bellman upon departure looked throughly inconvenienced.

The rooms were serviced promptly, but each day, the empty drink glasses from pub downstairs were left in the room. Despite our request, no newspaper was ever delivered to the room.

The head concierge could not be bothered at all. I guess unless you are an MP, or dignitary, he sees no purpose in assisting you. His colleague, however, made a special effort to get my wife and daughter a BBC tour and recommended an outstanding Thai restaurant near our theatre.

There are many other examples, but as you can see, the service was consistently inconsistent. Nothing egregious, but definitely room for improvement.

In summary, by staying at the Royal Horseguards, you are enjoying a brand-new property within an historic building. It's not the Dorchester, but the value is probably as good as you will receive in London at this time. The breakfast will keep you fortified and the bar is intimate and warm. If you can ignore the inconsistency within the hotel staff, you can look forward to a great stay at the Royal Horseguard.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank Ferbdog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,037 - 4,043 of 4,699 reviews

Reviewed March 16, 2009

I and the wife stayed here for one night on the 15th March 2009. Simply the location is fantastic you are 5 minutes from the major attactions like Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, and Downing Street.
The Hotel sits opposite the London Eye so i would suggust a room at the front of the hotel as the views are impressive.
The hotel itself is great the rooms are spacious and fairly new as a i believe the hotel has recently undergone a massive refurb.
We enjoyed it that much that we have already booked to stay again in July 09

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank BPASouthport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2009

Stayed 3 nights on business. I had a nice room with view of the river Thames and London Eye. The room was spacious with a lot of nice details: IPod docking, TV in bath tub, European electric outlet. Excellent location: two minutes walk to Embankment underground station, five minutes walk to Trafalgar Square and 10 minutes to Big Ben.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled on business
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Thank Jo O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2009

I am giving this hotel a 5 rating to help it climb the rankings, because it really is very impressive. The location is second to none. It's within walking distance of many of London's attractions and most particularly virtually every West End theatre. The river view is outstanding (although in our room the windows were tiny). And yet, for a hotel which is so central, it is absolutely silent. A real bonus.

The room itself (833) was good, not fabulous, but certainly good. It was a reasonable size, and very recently refurbished (could virtually smell the paint). The furniture was of high quality, the bed comfortable (very hard), linen fresh, lovely non-feather pillows, bathroom beautiful (altho TV in bathroom didn't work alas), Elemis toiletries (yum). It was very clean, and so were the common parts.

My moans? Towels are hard, only one bathrobe supplied (and that was hard and uncomfortable), expensive mini bar, not many sachets of coffee and tea supplied.

I would definitely return particularly if I could get the £150 room rate via hotels.com again.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank juliaplynn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2009

A beautiful hotel in a lovely building. The rooms are spacious, quiet and comfortable, with nice touches like heated towelholders and bathroom tiles. It is very near the Underground and an easy walk to Covent Garden, an area I really love. Highly Recommended.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled on business
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1  Thank KarenfromDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2009

Stayed 1 night on business. Asked for River view room which was confirmed on e.mail confirmation but allocated room with no view whatsoever on arrival. Reception reluctantly re-allocated the correct type room.
Have stayed a few times before but must say the refurbishment has made this an extremely impressive hotel. Very modern decor which portrays very serne ambience about the place.
Concierge and bar staff very helpful as always. Perfect location in the very centre of London. Think this place is probably hard to beat now in London.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled on business
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Thank jmpee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2009

We received an excellent rate including breakfast on the American Airlines website. Immaculate, comfortable room.. Well equipped: loved the TV in the bath and the built in dock for my ipod and American voltage outlet. Great breakfast, plentiful. Excellent location: two minute walk to the Embankment Tube Station, three minutes to Trafalgar Square and 5 minutes to Big Ben. Walked over the bridge across the Thames to the London Eye. Very helpful, professional and courteous staff. One downside was the sound proofing in the rooms wasn't adequate for the level of sound the TV and ipod speakers put out. Thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank justgotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Royal Horseguards

Address: 2 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EJ, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > London > Westminster
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#39 Romantic Hotel in London
#43 Family Hotel in London
#60 Business Hotel in London
#99 Luxury Hotel in London
Price Range: $270 - $537 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Royal Horseguards 5*
Number of rooms: 282
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This majestic five-star hotel presides over the River Thames. From glittering chandeliers to contemporary design, this central hotel near the London Eye reflects a proud heritage. Expect more, with free wi-fi throughout the hotel, fully refurbished Victorian splendour, award-winning dining, afternoon tea and sumptuous river view suites. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Royal Horseguards Hotel London
Royal Horseguards London
The Royal Horseguards London, England

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