Hilton London Metropole for families
In September 2014, The What To Do With The Kids team were invited to spend a night at the Hilton London Metropole and write about the family facilities on offer.
The Hotel is located on the Edgware Road in the west end of central London, and whilst the immediate area does not have many tourist attractions, the Edgware Road (for those not familiar with that part of London) is a main thoroughfare into London with a Middle Eastern flavour, full of cafes selling delicious Lebanese food and restaurants open late into the night. It’s a unique and interesting area of London which you might not ordinarily take in on a weekend family trip, but well worth investigating for glance at a unique slice of London life.
Directly opposite the hotel you have Edgware Road tube station, which means you are instantly connected to the rest of the capital via the underground. Nearby family attractions (just 10 minutes away) include Madame Tussauds, the Sherlock Holmes Museum, London Zoo, Hyde Park, Hamleys toy shop, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. Also within 10 minutes you can walk down to the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street for a bit of shopping, and hop on a bus which will take you down to Soho, Covent Garden and theatre land in minutes. So all in all, this is a good central location which is ideal for catering for family groups of all ages.
The hotel itself is huge, one of the biggest in Europe, with 1, 054 guest rooms, a convention centre, five restaurants, shops, a gym (complete with a 12.5m swimming pool), and a variety of hangout areas around the hotel. With its low-level lighting and glossy interiors it actually has the feeling of a cruise ship inside.
More importantly, Hilton London Metropole offers one of the largest double-bedded rooms in London, each one measuring between 30-34 square metres, making it perfect for family groups. Our room, located in the West Wing of the hotel, was extremely spacious, with two very comfortable queen-sized beds, a desk area, and then a lounge area with a generously-sized and well-sprung sofa bed for the children, and a huge picture window (which remains locked) with a view out and along the Edgware Road.
The set-up of the room works really well for families, and we found that the desk space in the middle of the room could act as a divider, with the adult space in the bed area, and the lounge space for children, tucked away at the end of the room. They would also have the choice to sleep in the second queen bed next to their parents, or alternatively in the sofa bed in their own ‘zone’. There are also two TVs in the room, one in the bed area and the other in the lounge, allowing little ones to tune into the kids channel and parents have the choice to watch something different.
The room was comfortable, clean and tidy, and we were offered complimentary fruit, sweets and water in the room on arrival. Some areas of the décor and the fixtures and fittings in the bathroom were a little bit tired, and the shower pressure was a bit low, but this is very common in large hotels like this. Overall our impression of the standards in the room and around the hotel in general were good.
On our visit, we chose to have an evening at the theatre and we dined out. However, if you have been out and about with the children all day and want some recovery time in the evening, there are five restaurants to choose from around the hotel. Children under 10 eat free, which is a great benefit to find in the centre of the pricy capital. There is also a child-minding service available through an external agency who works with the hotel, so if you fancy some time to unwind in the Whisky Lounge or have a cocktail in the top-floor bar, you can book a babysitter, by prior arrangement and subject to availability.
Breakfast at the hotel offered lots of options – tasty pastries, full English, yogurts, cereal and juices, so even picky children would be able to find something to eat. You would probably want to supervise them at the buffet area making their choices, firstly as the warmed plates are in fact very hot, and secondly as it is a busy area and you wouldn’t want them to get lost. In fact, it would be wise to accompany children everywhere around the hotel, as it is vast and they could easily get lost.
There are of course many, many options for accommodation for families visiting London. What we particularly liked about the Hilton London Metropole is the generous space in the family rooms – plenty of room for a whole family and their luggage to relax and feel together without getting under each other’s feet. It is especially unusual to have this amount of room, without paying a huge premium, in a hotel which is centrally-located and so very close to the tube. We found room rates varying from £157 advance purchase to £257 in Autumn 2014. Stays for up to two children aged 18 years and younger are complimentary when sharing a room with an adult. Some hotels charge a supplement for families, please check at time of booking.
For more information, visit www.londonet.hilton.com