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The Hilton London Metropole serves a purpose: it will provide you with a bed for the night and a hearty breakfast in the morning. Beyond that however, you are going to struggle to find a more soulless place to stay, in what is an otherwise quite vibrant part of central London.
This enormous hotel is built to deal with guests on an industrial scale – a vast swathe of humanity greets you as you arrive in the sanitised lobby area, which seems more akin to a shopping mall than a hotel entrance. This really is factory farming brought to the leisure industry, churning thousands of guests through the absolute blandest of hotel experiences.
That said, while as far from the boutique hotel experience as you could imagine, this hotel is well located – a few minutes walk from Paddington and within striking distance of the very centre of the capital.
I booked an executive room and was not upgraded beyond this, despite my Hilton Gold status.
I would perhaps have been a little more forgiving of this industrial scale hotel if the room had been impressive. Sadly it wasn’t at all.
There was a distinctly 1980s feel to my room, which was in very clear need of renovation. Given that this was one of the more expensive “executive” rooms, this was disappointing. It was clearly once an impressive room, but that would have been years ago.
If this hotel wants to maintain any claim to offering a premium service, it needs upgrading, and to get such a room when booking an executive level room demonstrates poor value.
In particular, the bathroom was long overdue a renovation.
Unless your interior design tastes mirror that of Al Pacino in Scarface, the room decor was also distinctly lacking.
The one big positive for the room is that it did offer a reasonable amount of space, including a small living area next to a large window with views out over London.
The Hilton London Metropole’s industrial scale does come with the occasional advantage. There is for example a fully-fledged Livingwell gym to which guests have access. Facilities here also include an indoor swimming pool.
There are also various bars and restaurants on the ground floor, next to the lobby. Again though, the facilities appeared to be built for guests in their thousands, rather than offering any intimacy r personal touches.
Unsurprisingly, breakfast was enormous, and the full “Hilton selection” was available, so no complaints here.
A nice (and unusual) touch was a separate dining area for Hilton Gold and Diamond members, although this was purely a “reserved” seating area – buffets were shared with everyone else and in fact you were placed further away from them. However this has an obvious advantage when the restaurant is very busy (as it clearly sometimes gets), as there will be no waiting for tables.
I received lounge access as I had booked an executive room. The executive lounge serves its purpose, without being particularly impressive: you can breakfast there if you wish, and drinks and canapes are served every evening.
There’s also a couple of computers and a printer, which was useful for checking in and printing out my boarding pass.
Quality of service
I have no complaints about the quality of service from the receptionists, albeit the whole process felt incredibly impersonal, right down to the strangely space age reception.
Rate Paid: £210 per night in the Hilton sale.
Room Number: 441
Room Type: Executive room
Summary of stay
If you are after a hotel stay at its most basic – a bed and breakfast, then the Hilton Metropole ticks the necessary boxes. Anything beyond this and you will be disappointed. For me this hotel is symptomatic of the laziness that has crept into many Hilton-brand hotels over the last 20 years: leading to the almost total disappearance of any “luxury” element to your stay. This is in stark contrast to the energy and effort made by some of the budget hotels like, for example, Premier Inn: faced with an equally-priced choice between the Hilton London Metropole and a Premier Inn, the latter would win hands-down.