Dec042015

Review of Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park

Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park is the second of four hotels where we stayed during our Thanksgiving week trip to London. My plan for affordable London, the most expensive capital hotel city in Europe, was using two free nights at InterContinental London Park Lane and then complete my IHG Rewards Club Accelerate tasks hotel hopping with IHG.  Two Points and Cash stays at Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park and Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury cost 50,000 points and $140 for two nights. Along with one 59 GBP ($90 USD) paid stay at Holiday Inn London Heathrow T5, these three hotel nights in London completed my IHG Rewards Club Accelerate promotion tasks to earn back the 50,000 points I redeemed for two Points and Cash reward nights in London.

Net cost for five nights in London was $230 USD or $46 USD per night using IHG Rewards Club.

London for Thanksgiving

  1. Trip Report Monterey MRY–London LHR AAdvantage 20K economy award: Horizon Air segment MRY-LAX
  2. AA LAX Flagship Lounge Monterey MRY–London LHR trip report
  3. Remembering London
  4. IHG Rewards Club made Thanksgiving in London affordable
  5. Bed time at InterContinental London Park Lane
  6. Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park
  7. Holiday Inn Bloomsbury
  8. Holiday Inn London Heathrow T-5
  9. British Airways handbag only fares
  10. British Airways London Heathrow T-5 Galleries Lounge

Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park

Most IHG hotels in central London are priced at 35,000 points per reward night. This meant a Points and Cash reward night cost 25,000 points + $70. The room choices at Holiday Inn Regents park for a Points and Cash night were one Double Bed or Two Singles. I picked two singles, since a double is too small a space for us when we are used to sleeping in a California King.

The advance purchase published rate for HI Regent’s Park at the time I booked the hotel was 261.00 GBP or $395 USD.

Travel from InterContinental London Park Lane was an easy commute on the bus we picked up at the Hard Rock Café on Piccadilly Lane, about 50 to 60 meters from the InterContinental. We traveled two miles across the city to Great Portland Street, where we walked about 100 meters to the Holiday Inn Regent’s Park.

I was offered points or one free drink coupon in the bar. A pint of beer in the bar is about a $7 value, whereas 500 points is a $3 value. I took the beer voucher and the keys to the room on the 5th floor.

Her first words: “I thought you had hotel status?”

We walked into the room, tired from a long tour of Westminster Abbey and walking around the city all day before heading to the HI Regent’s Park. First impression of the room was IKEA simplicity. Kelley looked at the two twin beds in the tiny room and exclaimed, “I thought you had hotel status? Why did they give you a room like this?”

HI Regent's Park-1

At face value, the room did not really bother me. This is London and we have had crap rooms with Club Carlson too. I had one of the smallest rooms ever when I stayed in London in September at the Comfort Inn Westminster for 16,000 Choice Privileges points.

HI Regent's Park-2

The walls are kind of thin at HI Regent’s Park. We could hear the neighbors talking in their room. The room wall radiator was on and there was no off knob. We kept the room windows open all night. There is a volume limit on the TV. Problem was the volume limit was low enough that I struggled to hear the TV dialogue from the bed.

The bathroom was small with a definite Holiday Inn Express pre-fab construction design. The sink counter intruded on the toilet space. Perhaps oddest of all was an empty old electronic mini-bar.

HI Regents park mini bar

A sign on the mini-bar door stated the space was for guest use. There was a funky stale smell inside. The main problem was the mini-bar was not cold. I pulled out the mini bar unit to make sure it was plugged into the electrical outlet. I checked the power switch to see it was turned on. Later that night I put cold milk into the minibar and woke up in the morning with a bottle of warm milk.

HI Regents Park view

The room view looked upon a central courtyard space of concrete with a view of the London landmark BBC Tower.

HI Regents park courtyard

On my September trip to Europe I read an article on Brutalist architecture.

Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descending from themodernist architectural movement of the early 20th century. The term originates from the French word for “raw” in the term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material béton brut (raw concrete). British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into “brutalism” (originally “New Brutalism”) to identify the emerging style. – Wikipedia

The room view was defintiely brutal.

HI Regents Park entry

There was no space for two pieces of luggage and two people to move around the room. I kept my luggage on the closet floor.

The pillows were hard foam pillows and we both had a hard time sleeping comfortably with these pillows.

After about ten minutes in the room, we were back outside the hotel looking for a pub. There is a Sainsbury local market on Great Portland Street by the hotel. Great Portland Street is also the name of the local tube station.

Great Portland Street

We found a fun pub a few blocks away at The Ship, 128 New Cavendish Street. Kelley struck up a conversation with a patron at the bar and I chatted up the young woman behind the bar. I was disappointed when more customers arrived and her work took her away from the conversation.

London The Ship pub Google image

The Ship Pub – 128 New Cavendish St. London, Google Maps

On the way back to the hotel we stopped for dinner and breakfast food at the Sainsbury Local, went back to the room, ate, watched TV we struggled to hear, and stored cold milk in the warm refrigerator for the night.

There was a fascinating documentary on TV the next morning about World War I photographs taken by both British and German common soldiers. The History Channel in the USA is called Yesterday in the UK. Yesterday actually shows history documentaries, a genre with seemingly little programming on the History Channel in the USA.

German WWI First Aid Kit

German World War I First Aid Kit seen at the Wellcome Collection near Holiday Inn Regent’s Park.

How would you rate this hotel on a scale of 1 to 10?

After a not too great night’s sleep on fat foam bed pillows, we checked out with plans to leave our luggage at the hotel for the day until we were ready to move to Holiday Inn Bloomsbury.

I was asked by the desk staff how I rate the hotel on a scale of 1 to 10? I had already written down a list giving the hotel several deductions from 10. My immediate reply was “a 6”. Kelley contradicts me to the staffer with her concessionary, “Oh no, it was an 8.” I glared at her. Considering she had made me feel instantly bad with her complaints about the room when she first saw the space, I evaluated what was less than satisfactory about the room during the hours we were in the room.

The staffer asked if I could be specific about what I found unsatisfactory?

1. The bed was on wheels and moved a couple feet across the room when I plopped down on the bed.

2. The TV volume was restricted to a volume too low for me to hear the dialog from the bed.

3. The pillow was too hard and uncomfortable for a good night’s sleep.

4. The mini-bar was not cold. My cold bottle of milk was warm after a night in the mini-bar.

The staffer took notes, apologized and offered me 2,000 bonus points.

Turned out the Holiday Inn Regent’s Park gave me 5,000 bonus IHG Rewards Club points. I was feeling rather Lucky with my complaint bonus points.

IHG Rewards Club 5000 Thank You points

The hotel location has good proximity to Regent’s Park. We walked through the park to Camden Town for some shopping and dining.

Camden pub   Camden

The Oxford Arms Camden – “There can’t be good living where there is not good drinking.”

At the end of the day, after a visit to the Wellcome Collection, we returned to Holiday Inn Regent’s Park, picked up our bags and picked up a taxi for the one mile drive to Holiday Inn Bloomsbury. The taxi cost 9 GBP and we had a fascinating conversation with the London born and raised taxi driver.

Holiday Inn Bloomsbury was a nice upgrade experience after Holiday Inn Regent’s Park.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. Regarding the “mini-bar”, I stayed at a hotel recently in Dublin and also found what looked to be a fridge, but when I called to ask how to make it cold, they told me it was just “for storage”.

  2. Very interesting …. I was at IC Abu Dhabi last week. Got asked for a score of 10 and gave it 7 (generous). I was immediately given 15,000 points.

    Either you and me are flagged up because of our blogs or IHG is getting very generous at service recovery.

  3. One of those grey areas of blogging about loyalty programs is not knowing if treatment is due to blog, elite status or general customer service.

    Regardless, I am appreciative of the points and helped make the only unsatisfactory hotel experience of our trip a little better.

    In this post I complained about the foam pillow. When we stayed at Holiday Inn Heathrow T-5, a note on the bed stated feather pillows available on request. I called down and within a couple of minutes there were two feather pillows delivered to the room. That made a huge difference in our sleep comfort.

    I’ll be sure to ask in the future if there are feather pillows available when I check into a room with hard foam pillows.

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