Treat yourself if you can to a night at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in central London. It’s a memorable experience, and one that the older you become, the more you will potentially appreciate. Pam and I went there recently, and were lucky to receive a complimentary upgrade to an executive room. I could let you in on our secret, but then everyone would want it, and there’d be no room for us then. Yes, I know that it’s unfair, but enjoy the Waldorf experience for what it is and you will come away completely satisfied. The Waldorf Hotel is situated at the eastern end of The Strand, at the beginning of Aldwych, and is on numerous bus routes, as well as very close to a lot of theatres (don’t ask me how many, makes my brain hurt to count) and adjacent to the teeming Covent Garden, which many years ago used to be the main fruit and vegetable market made famous in My Fair Lady. The Hotel, built, in 1908, was named after William Waldorf Astor who assisted financially in its erection. When booking the room we had requested a mini tour of downstairs, which was rewarding, as we discovered more about the hotel, and saw the ornate Palm Court where they will be re-introducing the famous monthly tea dances. This room is also used for private functions, with brides experiencing the specially festooned décor. Expensive, but so are most weddings, and this venue makes it all the more memorable. Our upgraded room, Number Eleven, was simply superb. The bed was a Queen sized one of course, and good touches were the usual complimentary fruit and refreshments, a quality booklet produced when the hotel celebrated its 100th birthday, and Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries. You always know that you are staying in a quality hotel when these are provided. There was no bath, but the shower was huge, walk-in, and with jets propelling lovely warm water instantly to all parts of your body. The taps were easy to adjust. I wear glasses, but didn’t need them to see how to alter, which can be so frustrating sometimes, as the symbols were nice and clear. We were on the first floor, but the traffic noise was minimal. The windows opened for fresh (?) London air, and the air conditioning control was working fine. We could look at the people on the top deck of their bus, but they couldn’t see us.
Afternoon cream tea in the lounge was all you could wish for, and after a lovely walk in Covent Garden we returned to the hotel for a pre-dinner cocktail. Spend ten minutes examining the list, as you will not wish to make the wrong choice – which is impossible. Discuss with the waiter, who will also probably make the cocktail as well. £12 is a more than reasonable price to pay for such a setting, and we managed two cocktails each (different ones each time) and then it was into Le Homage, the Grand Salon restaurant, for dinner. Depending on day of week and menu choice it is mainly under £30 for a three course table d’hôte meal. Pam had the mussel and potato salad with mixed pepper vinaigrette, and I had the Mediterranean mezze salad. We did swop some of these, but could not decide which was the better, as they were both delicious. My mezze had four blobs of different chopped salad, coming with a crisp very thin bread waffle. I requested more, which was immediately forthcoming, with more than enough on an extra plate. We both had roasted guinea fowl with wild mushroom and sun blushed tomato mash. The mushrooms were cooked in butter, and tasted simply gorgeous, like they should do, and always used to. Lots of bird to eat, and a good selection. Pam chose the cheese, which was so large that I had to assist. I loved the chocolate mousse. Wine was a house Sauvignon Blanc, the cheapest on the list at £25 and more than adequate. After an excellent night’s sleep, down to breakfast in the same Homage restaurant, which is only just big enough to cope, with people queuing up most of the time. They serve you with orange juice and tea/coffee, and the rest is buffet, except for special selection such as kippers and omelette. It is frustrating to wait while the toast attempts to cook itself on that strange rack, and on this occasion got lost in a tray at the bottom. Only toasted on one side as well.
Easy check-out, and when we left, the doorman asked if we wanted a taxi. I declined, as we caught a bus, using our passes, back to Victoria. Now for impressions. I can only quote prices for services such as meals and drinks, and it’s up to you to negotiate your room type and rate, but from our experience we would both say that it was well worth the money, a memorable treat, and one that we would recommend if you have a night to celebrate.