If you’ve been following along with the Olympic posts, then you know that I opted to stay at the Radisson Blu Portman in London at a prepaid rate of ?120 GBP per night during my week long Olympic trip. The May Fair, a 5 star boutique hotel, was also available for 50,000 Club Carlson points per night for the entire length of my stay (a great deal considering it was pricing at ?450 GBP or $705 USD a night), but I decided to save the points for a future trip. During my pre-booking TripAdvisor review, I noted an interesting comment where a reader had emailed the hotel to see if better rates were available than those quoted online. I did as such and was promptly emailed back with a non-refundable deposit due rate of ?120 GBP per night ($188 USD) inclusive of taxes, internet, and breakfast for a queen size standard room. This was even better than their Cash & Points rate of 15k points and ?137.40 per night and a definite steal during the Olympics.
I was a little hesitant prior to arriving as several of the comments noted outdated rooms, badly in need of refurbishment, while the reviews weren’t entirely wrong, I found my stay to be comfortable. I arrived around 11am and was told that my room would not be ready for at least two-three hours. The front desk staff did inform me that I was being upgraded to a superior room with a balcony on the top floor. They also provided me with a breakfast voucher (breakfast is free for all guests) and I was able to grab some food prior to the restaurant closing for breakfast. I ordered an egg white omelet and grabbed some fresh fruit and yogurt. I was pretty impressed with the breakfast, it was certainly up to Radisson Blu standards.
Before I could finish breakfast the front desk manager came over to let me know that my room was already cleaned and ready. The room was located on the 11th floor, even-though the elevator only went to the 10th floor. They offered to help with my luggage up to the one flight of stairs and remarked that the room was quieter and had better views than the lower floors. The room was quaint and comfortable, though it lacked the typical Radisson Blu bedding, modern furnishings (it did have a flat-screen), modern bathroom, etc. It was spacious for London and had a great view overlooking the London Eye, Hyde Park, and much of central London. While not luxurious, the bed provided a great night’s sleep and the shower had excellent water pressure. The bathroom was a bit dated as well, though the typical Radisson Blu products and over-sized towels were provided. There was also nightly turn down service with water replenishment (very important) and chocolate. My first night I also received a fruit platter and commemorative Olympic coin. The internet (wired and wireless) in the hotel guest rooms went out for about 12 hours, but was otherwise excellent, maybe even the fastest I’ve had in any hotel room (extremely important for the blog and last minute ticket swaps).
The concierge was both helpful and friendly and printed out my e-tickets for some last minute Olympic purchases without a fee. The location of the hotel itself was fantastic, just a short walk to the Marble Arch or Bond Street Undergrounds. The bellman also provided excellent service and loaded my bags in the taxi before I was even finished checking out. I did not have a chance to visit the gym as I literally was running from event to event (with stops at the Chase VIP Lounge and the hospitality houses).
About a week after my departure I received a survey from Radisson to evaluate my stay. I noted the positives but also made mention of the outdated room and inconsistencies with the Radisson Blu brand. I received a note back that same day from the Guest Relations Manager:
Your feedback is very valuable to me and I was delighted to see your overall fantastic rankings especially in regards to our indeed wonderful staff – your report will be a great motivation for the entire team. In regards to the room decoration and furniture, I am pleased to confirm that we are currently in the planning stages for a full refurbishment which we hope to see materialising in 2013. Until then, rolling programmes in housekeeping and engineering will keep the rooms up to the standard a guest expects from a Radisson Blu Hotel. We are very much looking forward to welcoming you back to the hotel in the near future. Until then, please do not hesitate to contact me in case I can be of any further assistance.