When my best friend announced a year ago that birthday parties were over-rated, she suggested that for our 40ths (within a couple of weeks of each other), we should leave our boys at home with their dads while we went on a luxury weekend break. My head filled with ideas of Morocco, Italy, France and more…until she suggested London. Not quite as exciting as I expected. But given it meant less time away from home, less holidays booked off work, and easy to arrange everything, I agreed.
Of course, we booked the date about 6 months ago, but only started discussing where to stay and what to do 3 weeks before going.
Given it was the end of half term, it was a challenge finding a hotel to suit. Many of those I knew were just so expensive. However much luxury we wanted, it was mostly still way too pricy when we wouldn’t be spending all day in the room. I managed to find a great weekend package deal at K West Hotel and Spa in Shepherd’s Bush. Ok, so it was a bit of a trek into town, but easy on the central line. And being close to Westfield shopping centre meant it was great for eating out, not having to head back into central London for the evening.
The outside of the K West hotel is more 1970s building with a glass façade, harking back to its days when it was BBC Kensington House, a recording studio for the coolest music artists like David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Roxy Music. But inside, it’s a funky 4* hotel with beautiful lighting, cool colours through the corridors, and mysterious screens on the corridors which we couldn’t work out what they were (or their purpose).
We found the welcome good from all the staff we met, on checking in and dumping our bags before our room was ready, to check out, to the staff behind the bar and in the K West Kitchen restaurant. The music themed library is a luxury lounge area to hang out and absorb yourself in music history of the hotel, but apart from a quick drink in the Studio Bar one evening we didn’t stay around the hotel much.
Our twin room was a good size, and nicely decorated. All mod cons were including including a smart phone we couldn’t work out, and a tablet where we could order room service through. We did have a few teething issues – a hair dryer which didn’t work, and my friend couldn’t get on the complimentary wifi, but any issues were easily and quickly fixed.
The bathroom was beautiful with striking tiles, although I could have done with a bit more strength in the shower’s water pressure (something that’s quite often a hotel issue).
When we arrived we had a happy birthday plate of sweet treats, and a note with some balloons which was a lovely touch (tip, always mention when booking that it’s a special occasion). I did find it weird that even though there was a daily maid service, the empty plate wasn’t taken away by them.
Although we were near to the railway tracks, I only heard 2 trains going past at 7am, and then a wagon train later in the evening. The rest of the time we weren’t bothered by it, despite us having the windows wide open. I do like a hotel room where you can open the windows, and despite the air conditioning, we still needed the windows open as like many hotels, it was warmer than I’d like.
One evening I was determined to have a drink in the bar. Who goes for a birthday celebration weekend and doesn’t have a drink to celebrate? Now I don’t drink much, but even for a celebration my best friend didn’t have a drink. The hotel bar had some lovely sounding cocktails, but I went for quite a simple grapefruit margarita. Damn that salt on the rim – it would have been perfect without! While the bar is nice enough to sit in and relax, the prices are hotel sky high, at £10.50 for my cocktail. I had 10% off with my K West friends card, but was horrified to see the bill as £10.60…because everytime you buy something in the hotel they add on 12.5% service charge. Quite disgraceful when I went to the bar, ordered, and then carried my drink back to our table. So I’m not sure they’re really justified in charging a service charge when they’ve not actually done anything other than their basic job.
We also ordered room service one evening because after our afternoon tea we wanted something savoury later on. There’s quite a nice choice of foods, but we just ordered pizza. Room service was ‘free’ before 11pm and prices weren’t bad at only £10 for a margherita pizza to share, plus some chips for a couple of pounds. But yet again, service charge was automatically included – not so bad when we were debating whether we should give a tip. But then after calling to tell them we were finished with our tray, and told to leave it outside the room for collection, it was still there 12 hours later in the morning. Maybe that service charge wasn’t worth paying. The pizza and chips were good though. And we spent a nice quiet evening watching rubbishy tv. Who needs to go out and paint the town red, when we can celebrate in our hotel room, putting the world to rights.
The breakfast was also great at K West. While the restaurant was quite small, it wasn’t overly busy any time we were there. At weekends, the limited continental breakfast was laid out. But we just had juice from there, and ordered our cooked breakfast from the menu. There were plenty of choices, from the standard and vegetarian cooked breakfast, to eggs benedict / Florentine, and a superfood breakfast of sourdough bread with avocado and poached eggs. Each day our breakfast was delicious, and just filling enough without making us unable to move for the next hour.
Overall, the K West hotel was a lovely hotel to stay in. We didn’t use the spa or gym, although there were plenty of people heading down that way. Our room was next to a lift, but there was no noise from it at all, probably because it wasn’t the main lift. Ok, so we weren’t right in the middle of town, but we were only a couple of minute walk from the tube station, and near to a good selection of restaurants and shopping. For £260 for 2 nights for the 2 of us it was an enjoyable bargain break.
Where do you stay when you’re in London?
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