My stay at the Grand Royale Hyde Park was perhaps the most absurdly, ludicrously mediocre hotel experience I have ever had.
My wife and I arrived at the hotel at approximately 12:30 on the day of our reservation. The hotel foyer really is very beautiful, with deep carved wood and luxurious furnishings. So far, so good.
We had to wait in line behind two other guests who were complaining about the quality of their rooms – an experience that was duplicated virtually every time we passed through the lobby. We were told that we could not check in until 2:00, but they stored our bags for us and we headed out to get lunch. We returned at around 3:30, got our key, and headed upstairs to our “Deluxe Double” room 311.
The first thing we noticed, upon arrival to our room, was that the way was blocked by a rather flustered housekeeper. Even though we arrived 1.5 hours after check-in, the room had not yet been fully cleaned. And from the looks of the room once we got inside, the poor housekeeper wasn’t actually done cleaning it, either!
The room itself was quite small, but that is no surprise in an older, cheaper, hotel. Yes, there are maybe 5 inches of space between the sides of the bed and the wall, but you can always just hop straight onto the bed – really, who doesn’t need the exercise? We expected that.
What we didn’t expect was for a hotel employee to ***walk right into our room***, taking several steps in before he realized that we were there, and that we were staring at him. He seemed startled and confused, asking us several times if reception had really put us in this room, room 311, as if it were not a room in which guests were supposed to be placed, before apologizing and taking his leave, leaving us to feel relieved that we were both, more or less, fully clothed. (It was at this point that we discovered that there was no lock, deadbolt, or chain on the door. One did need a keycard in order to get in, but that clearly was not an insurmountable obstacle in these parts!)
We also didn’t expect the walls to be quite so badly-scuffed, the bathtub and duvet to both come equipped with other people’s hair, or the carpet to be so dirty that my wife refused to remove her shoes. The room was sparsely decorated, and looked little like the deluxe double represented on their website. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t unlivable by any means, but it was the sort of experience one expects from a Motel 6, not from an allegedly 4-star hotel. “Luxurious” was not exactly the term that sprang to mind.
At this point, my wife and I were wary and disappointed. It was only when we decided to take showers that our experience veered sharply into the realm of the absurd. You see, our shower possessed neither curtain nor door. This can of course be fine in a large enough bath, with a shower nozzle focused enough, and a tub wide enough, to prevent excessive spray. This was not a focused shower nozzle. This was not a wide tub. As soon as the faucet was switched on, water began to splash out onto the floor. The imposition of a body in the water’s stream only made matters worse. Standing perfectly still under the water, carefully trying to shield the spray with your body, meant giving the bathroom a nice light sprinkling; actually moving about freely under the water unleashed a flood. By the time we had each taken a shower, we had to use all of the towels we were given to sop up the water that had spilled out.
A note on the towels: they are not the worst I have ever used. I once fell into a lake whilst on a hike, and was forced to dry myself by rubbing quickly against the bark of an exceptionally gnarled and knotted oak tree. That experience was very slightly more unpleasant than this one, as the towels in this hotel do stop just short of actually drawing blood. (When I went downstairs to request additional towels, explaining that the lack of a shower curtain had led to some flooding in our bathroom, the front desk staff seemed to nod knowingly, as if it was to be expected, as if that sort of thing was common for guests staying in that room, but didn’t go so far as to actually apologize for the stupefyingly absurd setup.)
The truth is: the hotel lobby is really stunningly beautiful, but that is the only thing luxurious or 4-star about this hotel. The rooms are tiny, dirty, and poorly-designed, while the staff, though not actively rude or hostile when they aren’t barging unannounced into your room, are not particularly helpful either. The experience fell far, far short of our expectations. It’s not a 4-star luxury hotel. It is a 2-star hotel with a really nice lobby and really bad housekeeping.
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Royale London Hyde Park Hotel London
- Shaftesbury London Hyde Park
- Grand Royale London Hyde Park England