Having taken the Heathrow Express to Paddinton station (a 15 minute ride, with trains running every 15 minutes), I then took a London cab to the London Marriott Park Lane. The hotel is only a few minutes from Paddington station, a fare of just 4.60 pounds. The hotel is located on Park Lane (number 140), and faces Hyde Park. The cab took me though the main entrance on a side street, and there I was greeted by a bellman decked out in guardsman costume. He took my bags inside and I followed to a ground floor assembly area, where the concierge and porters desk was located. There was then a small stairway to a mezzanine level where the reception desk was located. I was then checked in by the receptionist. The rate, obtained from the Marriott Web site was 169 pounds, which included breakfast. I was allocated Room 332 on the third floor. I was asked if I wanted a turn-down-service, which I agreed to for the purposes of the review (to check it out). Alas, the turn-down-service didn't enevtuate. I took the lift to the third floor and located 332 near to the lift lobby. The hotel had been new since around late 2001, and certainly still looked new. The mahogany wooden doors were very wide, almost akin to disabled rooms. I opened the door of 332 to a small hallway leading to a spacious room (by London standards). The rich carpet was a daffodil colour, with a green and light black insignia pattern. The mahogany wooden furniture was a theme of the room, surrounded by daffodil colour wallpapered walls, and green, gold and maroon drapes over the windows, which looked out on to the side street. There were drawers all over the place. Two bedside chests of drawers, come tables, with a large lamp on each, a digital alarm clock on one, and a phone and notepad on the other. There were three drawers in each table, with one of them containing a bible, the book of Mormon, and the book 'Marriott's Way, which tells the story of the foundation of Marriott, by Bill Marriott senior, who, with his family, was a mormon, hence the book of Mormon.
There was a three-door wardobe, with shelves, and plenty of hanging space, an ironing board and iron, an umbrella for the London rain (which was needed of course), clothes brush, a combination safe, and two more large drawers. Adjoining the wardrobe was another large cabinet, containing three large drawers, with a marble top. Then there was the main feature cabinet in the room, which contained a large-screen stereo TV, a mini-bar, and 3 more drawers, one of which housed tea and coffee making facilities, and two packs of complimentary shortbread biscuits. There was a large arm chair over by the window, and an occasional table. To be frank the room was a little crowded with furniture, but then again, nothing looked out of place. In the corner of the room there was desk/dressing table, which had a chair, a not-too-large mirror, a lamp, another phone, another notepad, and a data port for highspeed Internet access (15 pounds a day-worked perfectly), and a normal data phort for dial up modems. There was also a keyboard for Internet access through the TV. You could have unlimited access through this device, together with unlimited movies for 22 pounds a day.
Pay-per-view movies were available, and channels included ITV, BBC, Sky News, CNN etc.,
The note pads on the desk, and the bedside table, were enclosed in a green vinyl enclosure with lead backs, so they were extremely heavy. There were four modern art prints in the room, two of them with daffodil colour accentuation. There were two antinque-like metal chests on top of the TV cabinet, which I think were more ornamental than anything.
The king size bed had a large mahogany timber backdrop, and had a daffodill , red and green pattern doona on top, with five pillows and three cushions perched on top.
The bathroom was very tastefully furnished as well. Average size. A marble top vanity, and an area on top of the toilet encasing provided ample bench space. There was a combined shower and bath. The water flow, and heat control worked fine, and the hotel can boast a good shower. There was a tissue dispenser, and a set of scales to monitor your weight during your stay. The lighting in the bathroom was excellent.
In all, ther accommodation was first class, excellently designed, and maintained. Even the extensive use of the daffodill colour was not obtrusive.
After settling in, and catching up on some emails, I then wandered down to the 140 Park Lane Restaurant & Bar. I decided just to have a drink at the bar, and try the Room Service, for a change. Also I was not too taken with the restaurant menu, a little too upmarket for me. The main courses consisted of roast seabass and grilled asparagus; roast haddock, pommes grilles, cepes and frisee salad; herb roast chicken breast, smoked bacon &petit onions with colcannon; cannon of lamb, fricassee of artichokes & olives, herb vinaigrette jus; pumpkin tortellini asparagus, girolles & beans; fricassee of monkfish & veal sweetbreads with morels & tarragon,; dover sole grilled or meuniere; roast venison loin 'slow roast winetr vegetables' pommes fondants & bitter chocolate jus; caramelised barbary duck breast, sweet potatoes &salsify with chilli jam; and asparagus & winter cepes risotto. Of course there were grills, and starters and desserts as well, but for me it was to be traditional fish and chips off the Room Service menu.
The bar was decked out nicely, as was the restaurant. I ordered a Budweiser by the bottle, as there were no draught beers. I had just the one drink, a little disappointed I was not offered nibblies, which were situated right in front of me. I could have asked, but elected to wait and see if they were offered, which they weren't.
The next morning I tried the breakfast. It was due to start at 6:30am. I arrived about 6:45am and they were still setting up, although to be fair, it was a public holiday.
The buffet breakfast consisted of a variety of cereals, including bircher muesli, cheeses, fresh fruits, orange juice, grapefruit juice and cranberry juice (popular in the UK and Ireland). There were pastries, and of course hot dishes which included bacon, sausages, hash brown potatoes, mushrooms, baked beans and cooked tomatoes. Toast was provided by the waitress.
All of the staff from the bell staff, concierge, the restaurant and bar attendants, reception, duty managers and so on were all very, very friendly and obliging. The culture amongst the staff at the hotel was excellent, and I felt very welcome within the property.
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