Over the years, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel London. I loved the easy availability of SPG redemptions, larger sized rooms (when I could get upgraded) and the quiet location. I’ve hated the rooms, the hallways, the indifferent staff and the blah of it all – it was a sad, sad Sheraton but, I like many, overlooked those issues on award stays. My last stay with my niece, in June 2014, was fraught with issues and involved more than an hour on the phone with the hotel manager post stay. It was then he told me the hotel was getting ready to undergo a MASSIVE multi-year renovation. I told him I looked forward to seeing how it all turns out.
It was this past November on my birthday visit that I was able to redeem for an award night (12,000 SPG points) and request a new, renovated room (not all rooms were done at this point). The hotel is still working on final touches before unveiling the new Sheraton Park Lane Hotel London in late 2016. From what I saw and experienced so far, it’s a winner!
Location on Piccadilly
The historic art deco hotel of the 1920’s, with over 300 rooms, is located on Piccadilly in Park Lane across from Green Park. It’s a quick ten minute walk to either Green Park tube station or Hyde Park Corner station. Walking down Piccadilly, you will pass the gorgeous exclusive shops of Bond/New Bond Street, the many shopping arcades and Fortnum & Mason, an iconic foods and shopping emporium. Further afield is Piccadilly Circus, Soho, Leicester Square, Theatres and Covent Garden. All are along the Piccadilly tube line or a good walk from the hotel.
Across the road and through the park is Buckingham Palace. I’m embarrassed to say it took me years to figure this out! Walking out of the hotel and making a right takes you past Hyde Park (and Winter Wonderland) and toward the Knightsbridge shopping which includes Harrods.
In terms of restaurants and pubs, there is a hidden area of Shepherd’s Market two streets away. You follow the people down White Horse side street and then are rewarded with pubs, restaurants and shops. It is a maze in this area so go back the way you came to Piccadilly or rely on Google Maps to direct you.
As the main lounge is closed on Piccadilly, I arrived on foot from the Green Park tube station and entered via the ballroom entrance. There is another entrance in the back that cabs/cars use. The doorman greeted me as I entered and I walked through the meeting room lobby past the Art Deco history of the hotel toward the back hallway to the front desk area which is up a few stairs (there is an elevator for those that need it).
The Front Desk/Lobby
Immediately, I noticed the color and the couches. In the past, the hotel used the space mostly for their staff and front desk which often got crowded. Now there were couches and chairs in a seating area, a computer terminal to use as well as three separate desk areas for guests.
In the past, the staff had always been a disappointment in my interactions (they are a bit better now). This time, I was warmly greeted, my gold status acknowledged and told of my newly renovated room. The hotel includes regular Wi-Fi in the rate and since still under renovation gave me both the free drinks coupon and the bonus points. Handing over my passport to copy as well as my credit card was a quick exchange and I was given the room keys and directed to the lift.
The 4th Floor Hallway
The hallway deserves its own mention because in the past, I would stay on a floor that was one side smoking and one side non-smoking but the hallway would still smell of smoke. The floors would creak and the rug just made the whole walk to my room dreadful. It really is the little things that create memories and now the hallway was so new, I could smell paint and hear the renovations afoot which made me happy. The color scheme was warm, the rugs and wall fixtures made the area a bit posh and the walk to my room only made me anticipate the new look inside.
The Renovated King Room at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel London
In the past, I’ve opened doors part way as they would hit the bed (there are still small rooms, check out the map but hopefully the doors don’t hit the beds anymore). No chance of that happening this time in the king room, in fact the door opened fully and I was instantly surprised by the view in front of me. This was not the blah room of the past, this room had fully embraced the present in technology and design with touches of the art deco past throughout.
Behind the door, the walk in closet was gone and replaced with a very tall wardrobe (note if you are under 5’9”, the hairdryer is on the top shelf and a bit hard to see and reach so you might want to move this or ask for it to be moved lower). The wardrobe was stocked with the requisite robe and slippers, safe and all necessary items.
The desk was on the left of the entry and my Starwood Preferred free water was there along with the guide books and ample space to work. Internet is included in the room rate and was fast during my stay.
Having a King bed in London is a rare treat in my experience. The bed did take up a good amount of space and yet the room didn’t feel small except for the small walking path to the bathroom. The bed faces the built in television and the bathroom door.
With a seating area and collection of photos in the corner, the room managed to pull off a cozy feel. The circular pattern of the rug was a bit dizzy to me and I thought I spilled something in the middle of the night. I did awake to the noise of the renovation but it was near 9 a.m. so not that early.
The bathroom has retained its shape for the most part ridding itself of the bathtub and installing a large walk-in shower. The sink, toilet and window stayed put and were renovated. Note that the window opens and isn’t double glazed so you will hear outside noises so best to fully shut the sliding pocket door.
The walk in shower was fantastic with two types of water delivery – hand held and waterfall. Water pressure was good. Sadly, the toiletries are still Sheraton (I’m not a fan). I would have liked to have seen the toiletries upgraded to fit the renovated space.
Restaurants, Drinks, Afternoon Tea London
The hotel gave me a free drinks coupon as a gold member to use at the on-site restaurant, Smith & Whistle, but I wasn’t able to find the time to enjoy it. It was busy each time I passed. Normally, I’d use the lobby bar, the Palm Court, but it is still under renovation. The Palm Court is where the afternoon tea is usually held under the stained glass ceiling. Breakfast is offered in one of the meeting rooms for now and Room Service is available during the renovation works.
Overall Impression of the New Story at The Sheraton Park Lane Hotel London
I was impressed by the massive change in the rooms and the overall feeling of the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel London. The new story is the historic hotel of the past and embracing that in the modern rooms and common spaces. In the past the bulky desk was the only outlet to charge my phone, now the bedside has outlets as well as the desk.
The old rooms were dark with loud air con/heating units, now they are brightly lit with centralized environmental controls (this alone is a winner!). The staff have gotten better –there were only two interactions (doorman and concierge) that were disappointing. You will also see others sharing the love in the online reviews as they continue to experience the renovations. For now, I’m glad to see that my love/hate relationship is now more love again.
It is currently a Category 5 with redemptions in the 12,000 – 16,000 range. Note that Sheraton offers many deals throughout the year.