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A Tale of 8 Hiltons*

Anna

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Jan 17, 2005
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Hotel no. 6 was the Curio Trafalgar St James. Still no lounge, and no voucher for alcohol (in fact I think the bar is being renovated) but everything else I could want for my £282.39 per night, non refundable advance purchase.

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Complimentary mini bar (no alcohol, but chocolate, OJ, water and soft drinks). Plenty of amenities in the bathroom. I was told I'd been upgraded from 'Trafalgar king room' to 'Trafalgar king suite'. 'Suite' seemed to mean a sofa in a mezzanine area 3 steps up from the rest of the room. But it was a comfortable room in a good location for going to see Tom Hiddleston perform live in a play nearby.

The macarons I think were for being Diamond and so was the 'suite' and free breakfast but I think everything else came with the room as standard. Including the young Mick Jagger portrait over the bed.

Diamond score 2, but I liked this hotel and would stay again, diamond or not.
 

Anna

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Jan 17, 2005
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Bathroom amenities and close up of Mick from his much better days.

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Anna

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Jan 17, 2005
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Price comparison of other places I stayed at, all HH advance purchase non refundable -

Hilton Carlton Edinburgh £155.77 per night

Doubletree Aberdeen at the beach (called City Centre for some reason) £76.64 per night

Hampton by Hilton Aberdeen Westhill £49.15 per night.
 

Briar1078

Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2013
Messages
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Data point: we stayed at the Trafalgar St James in March as Hilton Gold. Received the welcome macarons and breakfast (v decent buffet in the lovely Rooftop area) but not a room upgrade, not that we expected one. The restaurant floor was closed for refurb and the "restaurant" in use looked like a lounge. So perhaps there is one, usually...?

ETA: really did like this hotel; comfy bed and convenient location; lovely staff; a proper bath and a shower.
 

Daver6

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Dec 31, 2011
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Data point: we stayed at the Trafalgar St James in March as Hilton Gold. Received the welcome macarons and breakfast (v decent buffet in the lovely Rooftop area) but not a room upgrade, not that we expected one. The restaurant floor was closed for refurb and the "restaurant" in use looked like a lounge. So perhaps there is one, usually...?

ETA: really did like this hotel; comfy bed and convenient location; lovely staff; a proper bath and a shower.
You should expect a room upgrade as gold. It's a stated benefit.
 

Anna

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Jan 17, 2005
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IMG_1457.JPG IMG_1460.JPG IMG_1459.JPG IMG_1456.JPG Hotel no. 7 was Hilton London Euston. No photo of the entrance as I was too flustered on arrival by the large, unavoidable steps up to the door and the lack of any assistance from staff until I abandoned my bag on the street and went in and yelled out for help There was a button to press for help and I had pressed it twice but no response. How is it even legal these days not to have any ramp entrance at all? Good start, no. Then flustered on departure by my Uber disappearing round the corner (luckily I caught up with it). The rest of the time too dark for photos outside. My room was on the top floor which was probably an upgrade apart from the fact that the guest lift to the top floor was not working so I had to get the service lift, which smelled of smoke and arrived in a service lobby full of dirty bed linen. So my initial impression was not that great. It might actually be not unattractive inside if everything was working properly. Could not get the tv to turn on until I kind of accidentally dropped the remote and after that it worked. Handy location for Euston, Kings Cross and St Pancras. No lounge. Decent breakfast buffet downstairs. Church clock striking 4 times per hour nearby but quiet between midnight and 7am. Would I stay again? Maybe, maybe not. Diamond score 1.
 

serfty

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...
Hotel no. 7 ... Would I stay again? Maybe, maybe not. Diamond score 1.
I feel breathless after reading that.

Glad I have never stayed in a UK Hilton.

Hyatt's have been doing it for me .
 

Anna

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Jan 17, 2005
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Hotel no. 8 was the Hilton London on Park Lane. I arrived at noon and my room wasn't ready but I was offered the 'would you like fries with that?' option of upgrading to a suite, available now, for only an additional £250 (normally £400 but special deal today for you madam). I declined seeing I'd already paid £233.63 for the room.

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There was a lounge. The receptionist told me there would be snacks there at noon but he was wrong about that. At 6.30pm the lounge was fairly full and very noisy with ring tones, phone conversations, text tones, 'background' music and people watching clips on their devices without headphones. Also a toddler being allowed to roam around freely getting under people's feet. There was enough 'proper' food for me to eat enough to count as dinner.

Breakfast did not start till 7am which is too late judging by the crush of people lined up to get into the restaurant. When I left at 7.30am people were being told they would have to wait for a table. Here's a thought - open for breakfast at 6am to spread out the demand, even if it's only a continental selection early.

I was given a room on the 18th floor which I guess was an upgrade. There were views but it was misty and I didn't see any landmarks that I particularly recognised. The room was ok but needed some attention to the sink tap, a loose power point and frayed carpet and also it had a slightly weird smell just at the entrance.

Checking out at 8.30am there were not nearly enough staff on for the queues.

Diamond score 2.

2 things I forgot to say about the Hilton London Euston - I paid £162.44 for the room advance purchase non refundable, and I had to change the clock to daylight saving time myself o_O
 

ndro777

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Really enjoying your write ups. I’m heading to London for the first time myself tomorrow and can’t wait to sample the, ahem, hospitality:)
 

Anna

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Jan 17, 2005
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2,124
The point of my 8-stay experiment was for me to decide whether I think Diamond is worth it for me. As always YMMV :p

For a few days after I returned my HH account was only showing 7 stays, with one of the Doubletree stays showing up but with no points or stay recorded against it. I rang up the HH enquiries number. If there is some special Diamond phone number I could not find it. I spoke to someone in some far off foreign land who informed me that because I had stayed in the same Doubletree on 2 separate nights close together it would only be recorded as one stay. I had to point out that the 2 Doubletrees I stayed at were separate properties in separate suburbs of Aberdeen. He then said I would have to ‘email my folio’ to the HH email address (which he didn’t volunteer). This was frustrating. But luckily when I checked my HH account again the next day, 8 stays were showing and a total of 41,000 HH points, which amazingly is enough to stay at the Doubletree in Melbourne if I choose to stay there on my upcoming trip. My IHG points always seem to come up about 100 points short of whatever IHG hotel it is that I’m considering staying at, so to have enough points for a free night was a refreshing change :)

Did Hilton honour its alleged Diamond benefits? (I’m sure you see what I did there ;)).

Free breakfast – 7 out of 8 hotels said I could have free buffet breakfast in the restaurant. The other one said I had chosen a different option on my profile, which I think is incorrect but didn’t care at that particular hotel. 1 hotel had additional breakfast choices available at a charge, as well as the buffet. All of the hotels had hot and cold buffet choices, and I wasn’t limited to continental breakfast only or anything like that. Luckily for me I don’t drink coffee so I didn’t have the issue that seems to plague many HH members of being asked to pay for decent coffee at breakfast.

Unlimited milestone bonus – I don’t actually understand what this benefit is so I have no idea whether it was honoured (or HHonored).

Lounge access – 2 out of the 8 hotels had lounges, which isn’t a very good percentage. Neither of those lounges would entice me to choose those hotels again. Last December I stayed at the Conrad in Singapore and paid the room rate that included lounge access, and the Conrad lounge was way better than the ones in Edinburgh and the Hilton Park Lane in London. But when I go back to Singapore in July, I’m thinking of staying elsewhere because I feel like I’m ‘over’ the lounge at the Conrad and I want to try somewhere else. So I guess lounges aren’t a huge drawcard for me, even good lounges.

48 hour room guarantee – I didn’t need that benefit.

Status extension – I don’t understand what that benefit is either.

Elite status gifting – I suppose that means that if I stay enough nights I can give some status to someone else. As my account is currently telling me I need another 50 nights at Hiltons to renew Diamond next year, I doubt that status gifting is going to be a benefit relevant to me :p

Upgrade, up to 1 bedroom suite category – I generally find it really hard to know whether I’ve been upgraded, firstly because I can never remember what room category I booked and secondly because unless my room is a really obvious suite I can’t tell. An extra square metre of space might count as a higher room category to a hotel chain but to me it’s fairly irrelevant. I feel like I got noticeable room upgrades at both Doubletrees, the Curio Trafalgar St James and maybe the high floor I got at the Hilton Park Lane. Otherwise I couldn’t tell you whether what I got was better than what I booked. Also, I’ve stayed at many hotels without any status at all and I’ve quite often been told at check in that I’ve been upgraded. Being upgraded is hardly an exclusive preserve of being Diamond or even of having status.

2 bottles of water – no water was provided in Edinburgh, although there was a lounge so maybe that was instead of water but the Hilton website does seem to imply that water and lounge access are separate benefits.

Late checkout – I didn’t need this benefit on this trip. I’m sceptical about how easy it is to get late checkout anyway, because I’ve often heard about people being told the hotel is fully booked and late checkout is not available. I sometimes ask to pay for late checkout and even then I am sometimes told it’s not available.
Premium wifi – I did not notice any difference between the wifi on this trip and the normal wifi that you get as HH blue or silver.

Overall as a Diamond I did not feel like I got anything that I could not have purchased if I really wanted it. There wasn’t any indefinable quality to Diamond status that was not also available for cash. A high room category, lounge access and breakfast are all freely available to those who pay for them. At least half the time my room was not ready when I arrived, and it would have felt like a genuine Diamond benefit to me if Hilton had arranged my room to be ready on arrival and I didn’t just get told like everyone else ‘check in is at 3pm’. I still prefer to have breakfast in peace in my room rather than have to get presentable to go to the restaurant or lounge for breakfast, even if it is free.

Seeing I do not stay 50 nights per year in hotels, it would be more cost effective for me to pay for a fancy room or lounge access on the one or two occasions a year that it would matter to me to have those things, rather than to chase Diamond status. So all in all, Diamond was nice, but I’m not going to bother to go out of my way to retain it. On the whole I think I was more impressed when I had Accor platinum, because that regularly meant I would find deluxe chocolates in my room :cool:

And PS, north east Scotland is beautiful :D
 

tgh

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Messages
1,247
Great review, I suspect the Diamond mileage varies with the continents as my experience is generally positive although my Diamond status cost me relatively little.
 

Buzzard

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Joined
Jan 22, 2013
Messages
5,374
Nice report @Anna, lucky you were not staying at US Hilton's.
I've mentioned elsewhere (not AFF) that I believe Hilton should have a minimum standard which includes a lounge. If there isn't a lounge then it should be a Doubletree or something else. Regarding DT, the best I have stayed at is in Krakow.
 

scottsworld

Newbie
Joined
May 29, 2010
Messages
3
great review. very engaging! I got free Gold Hhonors from Virgin last year. The DT Hilton I stayed at in Chongqing - Nan'an, China was great. Lounge was great and 80% empty! Room was upgraded, and had amazing views.

Different story at Hilton Garden Inn Ras Al Khaimah, where they had no record of my status at all; even though it was 2 months after my 'free' Virgin Gold membership starting. Receptionist told me about buffet breakfast... next morning, after enjoying it, a $60 bill landed on my table! :( After arguing with staff, and the receptionist Manager being summoned (still not able to find my status in computer), they gave me 50% off breakfast. Best they could do! :mad:

DT in Melbourne Flinders Street was nice, with funky lobby and dining area. Don't think I got upgraded, or any special Gold treatment.?
Did get a free bottle of wine and chocolates though, because in my booking I mentioned we were there for a 50th birthday. For me, $273 for 1 night in a hotel isn't worth it.
 

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