My partner and I were going to a concert at the O2 & the Aloft hotel is conveniently located for the O2; however, we left with very mixed feelings about the Aloft.
When we arrived at Prince Regent DLR station, we were slightly confused with where we needed to go, but gathered we had to go the opposite way to the 'way out' signs, as they lead us away from the hotels. We arrived in the hotel on the level with the restaurant (2nd floor), with no signs stating where reception was. After a moment, we realised reception was downstairs on the ground floor and followed the spiral staircase down.
Upon check in, Johann booked us in and as pleasant as he was, we could barely understand a word he said and his writing was just as bad! We were then asked for a £25 refundable deposit! We had already paid for our room and couldn't understand why a £25 deposit was necessary; taking our card details would have been acceptable, as this is quite often the procedure in most hotels. As we were in a bit of hurry we reluctantly paid the £25 deposit on our debit card and were upgraded to full English breakfasts instead of continental for the 'inconvenience'.
Johann pointed us in the general direction of the lifts, but had failed to explain we had to swipe our room card in the lift in order to make it work! That was very frustrating; especially as pre & post check in/out, you have to use the stairs as the lift will only operate when you swipe your room card.
We reached floor 5 & walked down the long corridor to what we thought was our room (516), only to find the door wouldn't open. We couldn't read the room number that had been written on the card; we then tried 518 to no avail and finally 510, which worked!!!
The room itself was very clean and a good size; we liked the layout and although we would have preferred a view over the Thames, it wasn't a major issue. The shower was one of the best we've used in hotels and the bed was comfortable. I would have preferred china mugs for tea/coffee instead of the take away cardboard cups, although they did come in useful when we left, as I took a coffee with me. The hair dryer was powerful (unlike most hotels), but the spiral cord and the plug socket located under the sink made it very difficult to dry my hair as this resulted in insufficient cord length.
The television in the room looked good, but it was very slow - it took a long time to load a channel or to bring the menu up (which didn't provide a synopsis of the programme) and the sound did not work on ITV or C4.
Breakfast was OK but nothing special - usual buffet style with luke-warm food (unless you managed to grab any of the fresh items, which were piping hot!) and orange juice from concentrate.
I queried the £25 deposit when we checked out, as I wanted to know why it was taken and when it would be refunded. I was advised in was in case we had room service (??? I wasn't aware there was room service!) or if we had anything from the bar (??? surely we would have paid that at the time OR it could have been charged to our card if our details had been taken!). The room did not have a mini bar, so there was nothing chargeable! I was then informed it would take up to 7 days to refund the deposit! Quite frankly, I was disgusted and offended with this procedure and was made to feel incredibly insignificant. I can honestly say, I have NEVER come across this in any other hotels I have stayed in and I will most certainly not stay in Aloft nor will I recommend their hotels.
This hotel is unquestionably style over substance.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The only hotel directly connected to ExCel London International Convention Centre (ICC), Aloft London ExCel features 252 Guest Rooms and Suites, a w xyz(SM) bar, re:fuel by Aloft(SM) where guests can grab a snack 24/7, and the re:mix(SM) lounge. Complimentary wired and wireless high speed internet access is also available throughout the hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aloft London Excel Hotel London
- Aloft London Excel England