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Which is the best Hilton in London?

by Rajul on June 5, 2009

Hilton delivers consistent performance across London but has a number of "star" hotels too

Hilton delivers good performance across London but also has some "star" hotels

Hilton is clearly one of the world’s leading hotel brands.  But with 18 hotels in and around London, which one should you pick?

The short answer is “it depends”.  However, our research did show that the newer hotels are the most popular.

The Hilton with best reviews is Hilton Canary Wharf.  People like that it’s modern, has happy staff and gives lots of little perks (e.g. complimentary water bottles, newspapers, snacks, ironing board in room, etc.).

It’s geared-up for business travellers, with a convenient location both for the City and London City Airport.  And therein lies the hotel’s only problem.

Check the best rate for Hilton Canary Wharf from 30+ hotel booking sites

A contemporary deluxe room at the Hilton Canary Wharf

A contemporary deluxe room at the Hilton Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is just a little too far from London’s tourist landmarks to be ideal for leisure visitors.

Do not however rule it out completely since it’s next to Docklands Light Railway and easy enough to get into town.  And if you can get hold of one of the special deals for under £100, it offers great value.

An equally highly-rated and modern Hilton with a more central location is the Hilton Tower Bridge.

The staff here also win rave reviews and the only downside versus the Hilton in Canary Wharf is that rooms tend to be a bit smaller.

Executive guest room at Hilton Tower Bridge

Executive guest room at Hilton Tower Bridge

This is more than offset by the hotel’s superb location for tourists, particularly if you’re a culture vulture.

Check the best rate for Hilton Tower Bridge from 30+ hotel booking sites

You can hop and skip across to the South Bank within a few minutes and enjoy its wealth of museums, cafes and river views.  A few of the riverside gems not to be missed and close to this hotel include:

  • London Dungeon
  • Tower Bridge
  • HMS Belfast
  • Hay’s Galleria
  • The Globe Theatre
  • Tate Modern Gallery
  • Royal Festival Hall
  • The London Eye
  • …and much more.

Finally, arguably the most central and iconic of the Hiltons is the recently-refurbished Waldorf Hilton.

The Waldorf Hilton's "Homage" restaurant

The Waldorf Hilton's "Homage" restaurant

This has one of the best locations in London giving you access to the theatres, the river, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden within a few minutes walk.  It’s particularly handy for “Theatreland”.

The hotel also has more spacious rooms than you usually find in central London (though this does not apply to all the rooms: be careful to see or change the room if it’s not to your satisfaction!).

I met and interviewed the General Manager of the Waldorf Hilton just before the refurbishment and was impressed by the efforts which are made to keep staff motivated and well-trained.

Indeed, I learned that one of the reasons that Hiltons all over the world maintain consistency of performance is due to the staff training offered worldwide through their online “Hilton University”.

The styling of the hotel is both modern and tasteful, given the hotel’s heritage and rather grand history.

Check the best rate for Waldorf Hilton from 30+ hotel booking sites

Stylish executive room at the Waldorf Hilton

Stylish executive room at the Waldorf Hilton

In summary then, assuming your visit to London is for leisure, the Waldorf probably has the best location among the Hiltons.

However, it doesn’t offer as good value for the accommodation and amenities as the Hilton Canary Wharf, which in turn is somewhat further out than Hilton Tower Bridge.  The latter may offer the best trade-off in terms of service quality, value for money and location.

If you enjoy staying at Hiltons and are a member of the loyalty scheme, then you probably can’t go too far wrong with any of the above.

This blog is also a fan of the Hilton Metropole (especially good for meetings and handy for the Paddington link if you fly into Heathrow).  This hotel was covered in more depth in our review of hotels near Paddington and London’s best business hotels.

Check the best rate for the Hilton Metropole from 30+ hotel booking sites

There’s also the Hilton Stansted which we recently identified as one of the best Stansted airport hotels due to its attentive General Manager.

Check the best rate for Hilton Stansted from 30+ hotel booking sites

As an aside, when writing my “At Your Service” book, I was fortunate to meet the then-CEO of Hilton International (Mr David Michels).  He impressed me in refusing to come up with platitudes to classify Hilton customers.

He told me that Hilton sees each guest as an individual, pure and simple.  They don’t do customer segmentation and simply try to meet each individual’s needs.

Mr Michels has since moved on, but the Hilton ethos is timeless.  It represents a credible hotel service model which has been refined over many decades.

Check the best rate for all Hiltons in London from 30+ hotel booking sites

London Hotels Insight has ploughed through many guest reviews.  The consistency that Hilton has achieved over the vast majority of its London hotels is quite an achievement.

Please let us know if you agree with our shortlist of the best Hiltons in London!

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Photo credits: Hilton Hotels.

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