The Inspector calls at a new London hotel that’s a Hilton in disguise, with glitzy modern art and a tenpin bowling alley… but he isn’t impressed by the restaurant’s ‘sky-high prices’
- The Westminster, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, opened just over a year ago
- The Inspector stays in an ‘entry-level’ room that’s furnished with pale woodwork
- He pays £93 for a meal at the hotel, which includes a ‘top class’ burrata starter
You would never know this is a Hilton. Which is precisely the intention — and they’re all at it.
Hilton has its Curio offshoot; Marriott has the Autograph Collection; InterContinental has Six Senses.
The idea is to come over all boutique, while keeping the corporate back-up, membership schemes et al. There’s no Hilton signage anywhere in this 13-storey new build, which opened as a 464-room hotel just over a year ago, roughly equidistant between the Houses of Parliament and Tate Britain.
The Inspector checks in to The Westminster, a 464-room hotel that’s part of Hilton’s Curio Collection. ‘You would never know this is a Hilton,’ he says
An American Cadillac stands on the forecourt; there’s parking spaces for e-bikes. The huge lobby has glitzy modern art, including one of a cabinet minister’s red box, another of the Beatles with their faces half covered in colourful scarves.
Half-covered faces is one of the themes throughout (‘there’s always more than meets the eye’ says a sign near the lifts on my floor), the idea being to engender a mood of mystery and intrigue (‘a place where people of influence seek to second guess, double bluff and catch a glimpse behind each other’s mask’).
My entry-level room has two alcoves, which cleverly break up the hard lines.
There’s plenty of pale woodwork and the basin is part of the room, although a sliding door can partition it off.
The anti-theft hangers are a disappointment. The restaurant offers a ‘vibe dining atmosphere’. What you get is a resident DJ, awful acoustics and sky-high prices.
Pictured is The Westminster Suite. The hotel is roughly equidistant between the Houses of Parliament and Tate Britain
Pictured above is the hotel’s tenpin bowling alley near the restaurant
The Westminster, 30 John Islip Street, London, SW1P 4DD.
Doubles are priced from £165, room only. For more information call 020 7630 1000, or visit hotelwestminster.co.uk.
I have a negroni (£17), three starters, chips and one glass of wine, for which I pay £93. Mind you, the burrata is top-class.
I bet The Westminster does well in the run-up to Christmas.
There’s even a tenpin bowling alley near the restaurant.
In the morning, I wait nearly ten minutes for a lift (not exactly a boutique experience), owing to what radio announcers call the ‘sheer weight of traffic’, with everyone heading for breakfast.
‘Eat some breakfast and change the world,’ says a missive on the table. There’s a queue at the buffet as we wait for plates to arrive but the backlog is soon cleared.
You’re given a flask of coffee or help yourself at the coffee station and, because this is a Hilton, which doesn’t want to be known as a Hilton, you are urged on that same missive not to ‘have a good day’ but ‘an incredible day’.