London. We just can’t get enough of the place. But with well over a thousand hotels to choose from you’re probably going to need some help narrowing down your choices…
True. The old ‘throw the dart at the map on the wall’ method hasn’t worked so well for me recently.
No…the thing to do is to decide on a few main criteria such as standard, location and facilities and then get looking. Or read reviews on sites like this…
Hah! Nice plug. So what if I want me some luxury, I want to be staying in easy reach of the city and I want to see what all the fuss is about with these spa things?
Wow, that’s uncanny – you’d almost think this conversation was all in my mind. These were my goals when booking an Easter break for the family in London. I ended up with quite a long list of potential places to try (all of which offered me a reduced media rate in return for an honest review) but decided on this one:
K West Hotel & Spa
Richmond Way, Shepherd’s Bush, London W14 0AX, ENGLAND +44 (0) 208 008 6600
Email: [email protected]
Late March 2013
Four stars. Opened in 2001, 220 rooms over 7 floors
Location, location, location?
The hotel is located in a very trendy part of West London, not far from Holland Park. The Shepherd’s Bush area has undergone a huge transformation in recent years with the addition of the superb Westfield Shopping Centre which is within walking distance. For more traditional sightseeing the big three Kensington museums are within a couple of miles (the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum) as are Harrods and Hyde Park. With the Shepherd’s Bush Central Line tube station just a few blocks away you can reach the rest of the city very easily yet benefit from the peace and quiet of being out of the West End. There are other overground/underground stations within walking distance and plenty of buses pass close by. It’s only eight miles to Heathrow Airport too.
What about parking?
London is never easy on drivers, but if you do make it this far you can let the hotel take car of your wheels. K West offers full valet parking for £1.50 per hour (subject to a minimum charge of £5.00; overnight parking £25.00.) They’ll wash the car for you for an extra charge too.
Why choose this place?
As previously mentioned I was offered a media rate at several London hotels for this particular short break with my wife and daughter but wanted to try something different. I’ve stayed in plenty of chain hotels but also a number of ‘design’ and ’boutique’ places too. Having read some very favourable reviews of K West it seemed an appealing prospect – and it was about time to try a real spa experience too. Given that K West was awarded the top rating of “5 Bubbles” in the 2013 Good Spa Guide, UK it seemed I would be in safe hands…
The problem with a lot of ‘design’ hotels is that they appear to have focused on design rather than practicality; we were keen to see if K West had managed to avoid this problem. The location also intrigued me; I wanted to stay in an area of my former home town that I was not already familiar with and with the easy access to the museums we would have plenty to keep us all occupied. All in all the brief for this stay was a little luxury for the whole family – a splurge, if you will. My review is based on the rates available to the public despite my paying less for the room on this occasion.
Four types of room – Junior Double, Superior, Deluxe and Executive and two types of suite – Embassy and K Suite. We stayed in an Executive room with two single beds; the room was large and well planned with plenty of space and a proper desk to work at as well as an additional sofa bed. Instead of being colourful and overly ‘hip’ it was more subtle and subdued – which I liked. ‘Sophisticated elegance’ is more the style here.
Flat-screen TV, DVD player, iPod speaker connection, Bose speakers, work desk, LLK London toiletries, customized mini bar (chargeable), in-room internet (extra charge), bath robes and slippers, hairdryer, iron, safe, tea and coffee making facilities. All rooms are non-smoking.
Yes and no. The hall area including the desk space was tiled, but the main area of the room was carpeted. As mentioned ad nauseum in our hotel reviews we think the time has come to chuck out the carpets – wooden floors are the way forward, especially for guests with allergies. Fingers crossed…the carpet was clean though (which it really has to be).
Modern but small bathroom with underfloor heating and spa quality toiletries. Our room had a bath with shower and there wasn’t a great deal of space otherwise. It was good to have the bathroom round the corner from the sleeping area so that early risers don’t have to disturb late ones.
Free internet I hope?
No, and this was the only real let-down. It’s time to drop charges for internet, hotel-owners! No room for discussion here; even if it still is common practice to charge in London somebody should lead the way. The public areas, K Lounge, Kanteen and K Library do offer free internet access, plus there are three computers with free internet located in K Library. But it should still be free in the guest rooms…
Bar and restaurant?
This is where K West begins to stand out. The K Lounge is very laid-back and the preserve of hotel guests only. You can relax in leather sofas and enjoy a drink while being warmed by the rather nifty open fireplace along the wall (assuming it’s cold outside). DJs do their thing here on Friday and Saturday nights too. Food is available all day (this is where you will find a continental breakfast buffet in the morning) as is Starbucks coffee and a good range of drinks.
The restaurant is called Kanteen and is found on the floor above and serves modern international food – and is the place to come for a cooked breakfast. Service was impeccable and friendly at both.
No pool as such but an award-winning spa. Note that children are not allowed – this facility is for over-18s only. I lost my spa virginity at K Spa, and cannot think of a better place to do so.
My only regret was not having more time as I had to rush back from an appointment on the other side of the city when I could have been chilling in the hydrotherapy pool before my treatment. I had about eight minutes which I used to the full by plunging in then testing out the various saunas, sanarium and the ‘snow paradise’ – essentially an room containing drifting snow. I will be back to endure/enjoy more, that’s for sure. The massage was fantastic and just the thing after the stresses of rushing around in the Big Smoke.
The breakfast was included, right?
It wasn’t, but was amazing. After so many lukewarm breakfast buffets and nasty powdered eggs in other hotels, having your hot breakfast cooked to order is a real luxury. Not only that, but the K West breakfast sets a new standard for quality for other hotels to beat, too. If you think you’ve tasted all the variations on a full English or believe that an Eggs Benedict is an just an Eggs Benedict, prepare to be stunned. If you prefer to go Continental the buffet on the ground floor is great too. In fact the breakfast at K West is vying with the spa to be the main reason I need to get back here…
Very friendly and helpful reception staff. Check-in was fast and efficient and check-out was problem-free.
Any points/miles to earn?
No, K West is not a member of any loyalty schemes.
Can they look after your bags after you check out?
They can indeed.
Green or mean?
K West scores highly here too – the hotel participates in Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS), a third-party certification program that has been independently certified and measures the property’s impact on one or more of the following: environment, community, cultural-heritage, the local economy. An objective assessment of a company’s sustainable tourism practices has been performed at this property by an auditor who is independent of the third-party certification program.
A search for random dates reveals that rooms cost between GBP150 and GBP250 a night but vary considerably depending on the day of the week and the season so it is hard to quote an exact price – just go online and search for your dates. The hotel has regular special offers and packages which are often good value.
Click here for video footage and images of the hotel courtesy of TVTrip.com.
The verdict please your honour…
Clean room, quiet, nice size (executive room). Plenty of power sockets. No smoking. Very comfortable beds. Proper desk for working (if you have to). Superb breakfast, superb spa facilities. Relaxed atmosphere, friendly service. Great location – peaceful residential area but easy access to everything in London.
We’d prefer hotels not to have carpets – and to design a bathroom where showering does not result in water on the floor.
Charges for internet use. It’s 2013, people! Incidentally, free wi-fi means more people use social media which means more people tell their friends how much they love their hotel. Am I getting through here…?
Congratulations K West Hotel & Spa. You are now my favourite hotel in London – and I stay in a lot of hotels. Make the internet access free and fast and you’ll be even further ahead of the competition – and next time you renovate, go parquet…But these are relatively minor niggles (I can happily take a break from being online when staying at a hotel and a clean carpet is almost as good as hardwood) and unlikely to have a major impact on your enjoyment. I can’t wait to return to make more use of the amazing spa too – I am now mildly addicted to such pampering.
K West is a special place and this is reflected in the high room rates – but it is worth the splurge. Our credo here at Grown-up Travel Guide is value for money – there’s no problem spending a lot of money now and again as long as you get the value. After all, you can’t take it with you, can you now? This is the sort of place to blow those hard-earned bucks and come away with only a good feeling afterwards.
Final score: 6/6
Images (c) K West Hotel & Spa