Review: Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

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Joanna, MJ and I had a night in London over the Holidays and we decided to use some of my Hilton Honors points to book a stay at the Hilton London Canary Wharf.

I rarely stay at Hilton properties so I’ve had a balance of around 80,000 Honors points sitting in my account for some time (most of the points came from a sign-up bonus for the free Hilton Amex credit card) and this seemed like a good time to use them.

Booking & Cost

The cash rate for the night we stayed in London was running at around $125 per room so by paying 28,000 points/room I got approximately 0.45 cents/point of value out of this booking.

This was one of those times where, because my overall Hilton Honors points balance wasn’t exactly significant, I cared more about keeping cash in my pocket than the value I was getting out of the points I was using….especially as I was looking to book two rooms.

Quite simply I cared more about $250 in my pocket than the 56,000 honors points I was spending 🙂

A couple of weeks before we were due to check-in I called up the hotel to request connecting rooms and, a few days before check-in I could see in the app that adjoining rooms had been reserved for us and, more importantly, that we had been upgraded to Executive rooms with lounge access (I have Hilton Gold status courtesy of my Amex Platinum card)

If you book connecting rooms at the Hilton Canary Wharf you’re guaranteed to get one room with a full or king-size bed and another with two twins – that’s how the property is configured.

Location

Canary Wharf is in East London and is best known for being a significant financial centre. Despite this there’s a lot going on in this area (even at weekends) and I find it to be a great place to find hotels offering fantastic value at weekends (the Marriott West India Quay is in this area)

The property is very well located for local services as it’s less than a minute’s walk to the nearest light railway station (South Quay DLR), approximately 6 minutes walk to the closest London Underground station (Canary Wharf) and approximately 7 minutes to the two large shopping malls complete with numerous bars and eateries housed under the main Canary Wharf complex.

Arrival, Check-In & First Impressions

We arrived at the hotel shortly after 12:00pm and, after a wait of around 5 minutes, a front desk agent appeared, took our details and checked us in.

The hotel lobby isn’t exactly large but it looks perfectly ok and it was decorated subtly for the festive period.

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Check-in didn’t take very long and we were pleasantly surprised to find that our rooms were already ready for us (normal check-in is at 3:00pm). The agent at the desk also let us know that, as it was the holiday period and the Executive Lounge’s opening hours had been shortened, breakfast would be offered in the main restaurant and not in the lounge.

Before heading to the elevators I checked that our assigned rooms were definitely connected (apparently they were) and we were soon heading up to the 12th floor.

King Size Executive Room

As we walked down the hallway to our rooms I suggested that Joanna and MJ headed to room #2 while I took what pictures I needed of room #1 for this blog.

Hilton London Canary Wharf

The king size Executive rooms at the Hilton London Canary Wharf are not dissimilar to what you’ll find in most hotels of the same standing although, for a London hotel, the rooms are a good size.

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Housekeeping had created a cute heart shape out of some towels laid out on the bed….

Hilton London Canary Wharf

….there was a good-sized desk in one corner of the room and a big-screen TV on a cabinet at the foot of the bed….

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

…and there was an armchair and a small side table next to one side of the bed:

Hilton London Canary Wharf

The bathroom was a very good size and featured a separate bath tub and shower.

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

The room safe was a good size and would just about take a 15″ Macbook….

Hilton London Canary Wharf

…and the view out of the window looked west at a big construction project and on to the rest of London (in the distance).

Hilton London Canary Wharf

The Issue

Just as I was about to start my usual search for power outlets there was a knock at the door. It was Joanna and she had a very good point to make.

If our two rooms were interconnected (as we were told they were) where exactly was the connecting door?

Rather embarrassingly, I had been so busy making sure I photographed everything in sight (as quickly as possible), I hadn’t actually noticed that there was no connecting door!

I went down to reception and explained the issue to the lady who had checked us in who, in turn, assured me that our rooms were interconnected.

After I pointed out that either she was wrong, I was going mad or the hotel had very well concealed interconnecting doors, she asked a member of staff to accompany me back up to the room…..where he promptly confirmed that there was no connecting door 🙂

The staff member called down to reception to find out what other rooms were available and it turned out that there we no connecting rooms left on the Executive floors….so we headed down to the 11th floor where we had been assigned two new rooms.

Regular Guest Rooms

As we were only staying at the property for a single night I can’t say that we were overly bothered about the downgrade to a regular guest room – we were just happy to have the room issue sorted out so we could get on with our day.

Guest Room – Double

The beds in these rooms are “full-size” so they’re smaller than what you’ll find in the Executive room…..

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

…but the room overall was definitely larger than the Executive Room we had originally been assigned.

Once again there was a chair and side table on one side of the bed (spot the connecting door!)…..

Hilton London Canary Wharf

…a big-screen TV at the foot of the bed and a desk in the corner by the window.

Hilton London Canary Wharf

The twin room connecting to this one was exactly the same size and had exactly the same facilities except for the fact that it had two twin beds rather than on double/full-size:

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Another difference between the Executive rooms and the regular guest rooms becomes evident when you walk into the bathrooms. While the Executive rooms have a separate tub and shower the regular guest rooms combine the two:

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Not really a major issue although I definitely prefer having a separate shower.

One aspect of the room that I didn’t like was the lack of power outlets near the bed….there wasn’t a single one nearby.

The desk was well equipped with two UK-style outlets, one US-style outlet and two USB ports….

Hilton London Canary Wharf

…but the lack of outlets by the bedside is annoying.

Dining

The hotel has a small bar attached to the restaurant but, as exploring London is a lot more fun than sitting in a hotel bar, we didn’t get to try it out.

Hilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

What we did get to try out was the hotel’s buffet breakfast which, thanks to a combination of my Gold status and the fact that we had originally been upgraded to rooms with lounge privileges, was complimentary.

The restaurant is on the ground floor of the hotel and is of a reasonable size. The seating styles vary but all are essentially standard tables & chairs…..

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

…except for a couple of tables which could sit a small horde:

Hilton London Canary Wharf

The breakfast buffet was impressive (I think one of the servers mentioned that it offers 150+ different items) and I can’t imagine too many people struggling to find something to their taste.

To one side of the restaurant were the cold items including various fruit, Bircher muesli and yoghurts….

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

….salad items and cold cuts….

Hilton London Canary Wharf

…as well as a selection of pastries, muffins, cookies, breads and cereals together with accompanying conserves:

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

The hot food on offer included the prerequisite English/American breakfast items….

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

Hilton London Canary Wharf

….an omlette/egg station….

Hilton London Canary Wharf

….as well as hot oatmeal:

Hilton London Canary Wharf

There was even a pancake maker for guests to use:

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

The staff in the restaurant were very good at making sure that teas and coffees were refilled regularly and there was a selection of juices on offer….

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

…including the very exotic goji berry and mango (which turned out to be very nice):

Hilton London Canary WharfHilton London Canary Wharf

As regular hotel buffet breakfasts go this was definitely one of the better ones I’ve seen…especially considering this property isn’t a resort and is probably mostly frequented by business folk who, in my experience, don’t usually go for an enormous breakfast before a day’s work.

The Fitness Center

The hotel’s fitness center is on the 2nd level of the building and includes showers…

Hilton London Canary Wharf

…a sauna….

…and enough gym equipment to keep most people happy:

Hilton London Canary Wharf

The Executive Lounge

I have to hold my hands up at this point and admit to being a little bit useless here. I forgot that the lounge was operating limited hours so, when I went to check it out on the morning of our departure, I discovered it wouldn’t be opening for another two hours.

Hilton London Canary Wharf

I took what pictures I could through the glass in the locked doors….

Hilton London Canary Wharf

…but all that I can really say about it is that it looked small-ish but perfectly ok.

Thoughts

Negatives

  • The lack of power outlets anywhere near the bed is annoying and shouldn’t be something guests have to face in a modern hotel.
  • There are no real views to speak of….but then the whole of Canary Wharf is still full of construction sites (it’s been this way for well over a decade) so I doubt many properties in this area can boast any kind of great view.

Positives

  • The rooms were a very good size and the beds we comfortable.
  • The staff were all friendly (even if they didn’t know which rooms interconnected and which didn’t!)
  • The choice on offer at the buffet breakfast easily exceeded what I would have expected at a mid-tier city hotel.
  • The location is great – 6 minutes walk from Canary Wharf underground station which, in turn, is no more than a 15 minute train ride right into the heart of the major London sights (London Bridge, Tower Bridge, London Eye, Big Ben, Palace of Westminster etc…)
  • Because Canary Wharf has so many eateries and bars you have a lot of options if you’d rather not dine in the hotel…and it’s a safe area to walk around too.

Bottom Line

Overall I was quietly impressed with the Hilton Canary Wharf. The only major negative was the power outlet issue and, as I’m led to believe that the property will be having a make over at some point in 2018, there’s a good chance that issue may soon go away.

If prices in this area continue to keep as low at weekends as they have historically been then this is a very good alternative to the Marriott West India Quay….especially when the Marriott get’s booked up and the rates there shoot up.

If room rates are comparable then I’ll continue to default to the Marriott for my weekend stays in London as I think it’s a nicer property overall and my Platinum status sometimes gets me upgraded to a suite….but the Hilton is still a great option to have and one I will use if there’s ever a noticeable difference in price.

Use this link to click-through to the Hilton London Canary Wharf’s homepage for more information on the property.