Hilton Hotels are synonymous with quality and service, and the certainty that, wherever in the world you stay, from check-in to check-out, you can be assured of consistently high standards.
But if you are seeking more of a personal touch, and your hotel of choice is one where friendly service is key, where you are recognised and remembered, and where staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome -and all that in the very heart of the capital – then the Hilton London Green Park is to be recommended.
Not to be confused with the London Hilton on Park Lane which stands tall and iconic just a few hundred yards away, the Hilton London Green Park is an understated collection of 14 converted townhouses, dating back to the 1730’s, and located along one of the quiet side streets of Mayfair, just a few minutes’ walk from Buckingham Palace and Green Park. A little further afield are the shops of Bond Street, Oxford Street and the theatreland of the West End.
The welcome is warm, the service friendly. The bedrooms vary in shape and size but they all enjoy the modern conveniences one would expect from a top hotel, as well as a certain character and charm – after all these were once townhouses. Many guests choose to stay in exactly the same room time and again.
During my visit I was fortunate to meet G.S.Gil (known simply as Gil), the Concierge who has been at the Hilton London Green Park for more than 30 years, although he looks so young that he must have started as a teenager. Gil, immaculate and proud in his uniform, has that special blend of friendliness and discretion, acquired through his many years of experience, and he prides himself on recognising guests and ensuring that they are well looked after. He sees it as his role to make the hotel feel like a home from home experience; so much so that one guest stayed for over 12 years!
Heritage is important and after all, this is a hotel which has been in the business for many decades. A visitor in April 1941 would have paid the princely sum of seven shillings and sixpence for his stay for a single room or thirteen shillings and sixpence for a double. As this was wartime Britain, the hotel’s advertisement in the Sunday Times also included a reassuring mention of below ground air-raid shelters, should the need arise.
Recently a couple returned to the Hilton London Green Park to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary, 50 short years after spending their honeymoon at the hotel. Not only did the team at the Hilton London Green Park do everything possible to recreate their early days of marriage but incredibly, they also charged the same price as 50 years ago. That will be £9 per night please!
Step a few minutes’ walk away from the Hilton London Green Park and you find yourself in Shepherds’ Market. Not so many years ago, this was a somewhat disreputable part of London, home to the ladies of the night, and not the kind of place for a tourist to venture into, unless a very specific form of entertainment was in mind!
How times have changed; Shepherds Market is still a labyrinth of narrow streets, but it is now home to boutique shops, open- air cafes and characterful bars, alongside some of the most fashionable clubs in the city. On a mild September evening, the street life was at its best, and I almost felt like I could be in Paris or Rome.
It being Mayfair, the orderly queue outside Loulous nightclub (where William and Kate are reported to have dined),was being carefully scrutinised by paparazzi looking for a celebrity face or two preferably with a story to tell. And the sighting of a Bugatti Veyron (one of the most powerful and expensive cars in the world with a cool price tag of $1.3m) parked (on double yellow lines of course – would anyone really give that car a ticket?) outside a Turkish restaurant told you all you needed to know about staying in one of London’s most expensive postcodes.
Back to the hotel after a perfect late night stroll, and the warmth of welcome is appreciated. There’s something quite wonderful about stepping off the pavement into a cosy and welcoming environment and then to bed for a peaceful night’s sleep with not a murmur of traffic or external noise to remind you that you are in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world.
The food in the restaurant is excellent and well-priced with very good choice for vegetarians. Of particular pride to the hotel is its traditional afternoon tea, a popular treat, taken in the Berry Bar & Lounge. Breakfast is first class with an extensive buffet as well as a la carte, served on the ground floor with a window onto the world of Mayfair as it starts another day.
Notes for Silver Travellers: The Hilton London Green Park has 162 bedrooms including 27 single rooms and one room for disabled access (although there is a step-in bath rather than a shower).
Hilton London Green Park
Half Moon Street
T: +44 (0)20 7629 7522