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"Good bones - Poor flesh" The Grosvenor Tip by Callavetta

The Grosvenor, London: 3,625 reviews and 11 photos

  The grand lobby
by Callavetta

The Thistle Victoria has excellent bones. Unfortunately, it's the fleshy parts that fall short of the mark. I chose this hotel for a short stay in London in July 2004. This was my neice, Gabriella's graduation trip and her first visit to one of the World's Great Cities.

Our plane from San Francisco arrived early, 7AM and after a long, hot wait in the passport control lines at Heathrow, followed by an easy trip by car to the Victoria area, we were eager to check in and wash up a bit. Not going to happen. The check in desk told us curtly "Check in is at 2 PM". I explained that I understood this, but we had had an overnight flight and were very tired. Would it be possible to check in early? "Check in is at 2 PM". I think there was even a third time the sentence was repeated verbatim.

So, long story short, we dropped our bags with the concierge and went out to ride the big bus tour and see the sites in a seemingly effortless way. Returning at 2 we found a LONG line for check in. About an hour later we had our bags and were on our way to the room.

Elevator up. Bags dropped. Room stuffy. Window doesn't open. No airconditioning (that is available for another 39lbs). A ceiling fan provides a hint of air movement and we lay down for a quick nap. (It's been more than 24 hours since we woke).

I think we had both been asleep for 3 minutes when the fire alarm went off. We were totally disoriented and dragged ourselves out into the hall. There everyone seemed to be making their way down the stairs. We grabbed our purses and joined the parade; passing the fireman running UP the stairs on our way down.

The hotel staff directed us to the park across the street where we hung with the homeless and the kitchen staff until it was deemed safe to return.

Later there was an apology for the event on our TV screen messages.

Unique Qualities: Like I said, this hotel has great bones. The common areas are elegant and grand. The coffee lounge was beautiful and we felt like proper ladies when we enjoyed our coffee and tea in the afternoon.

Quite an extensive buffet breakfast is included but the line was much longer than I felt it was worth to wait to eat breakfast.

One of the best things about this hotel is its proximity to Victoria Station. There is an entrance into the train station off the lobby of the hotel.

The Harvard bar and restaurant was also comfortable and elegant. And very expensive. We had mojitos and salmon cakes instead of dinner after theater one night and the bill was a pricey 50 lbs.

Address: 101 Buckingham Palace Road, London, England SW1W
Price Comparison: about average
Directions: Adjacent to Victoria Station
Phone: +44 871 376 9038
Price: US$80-120
Theme: Hotel

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Dec 10, 2004
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