Tried & Tested

Hotel check: London Syon Park, a Waldorf Astoria hotel

30 Apr 2012 by BusinessTraveller

BACKGROUND Open since March last year, London Syon Park is the only Waldorf Astoria hotel in the UK. It will be joined by the Caledonian in Edinburgh when it reopens following a major refurbishment in July. 

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Set in 80 hectares of parkland within the Grade I Listed Syon House estate – the London home of the Duke of Northumberland – the hotel is accessed via a long driveway. The first thing you notice is that it is obviously a new-build rather than a traditional country-house structure. The low-rise red-brick building is not as aesthetically pleasing as Syon House and the Great Conservatory to its right, but inside you’ll discover a modern, luxuriously decorated property.

The high-ceilinged lobby features a set of green velvet Alice chairs, some quirky art pieces and, in a nod to the London Butterfly House, which stood here previously, a butterfly tank (empty during my visit but expecting a new intake). Staff are welcoming and there was a peaceful air on the Saturday lunchtime I arrived.

WHERE IS IT? In Brentford, west of the capital, about 12km from both central London and Heathrow airport and close to the M4. Syon Lane station, which connects to Waterloo in 35 minutes, is in walking distance or the hotel can organise a pick-up.

ROOM FACILITIES The 137 rooms are set across the three-floor main building and adjoining Clubhouse wing. They start from 27 sqm and have a stylish, boutique feel, with plush fabrics, dark wood furniture and a metallic, grey, black, green and plum colour palette. Standard facilities include 42-inch LCD TVs, Apple Mac minis allowing you to use the TV as a computer, media hubs, wired/wifi internet (£15 per 24 hours, free via the TV or in public areas), workdesks, multinational plug sockets, minibars, safes, robes, slippers, bottled water, air conditioning and Salvatore Ferragamo amenities (suites have Asprey ones). Bathrooms have wall-mounted TVs and most have a walk-in rainshower and tub.

Most rooms have balconies, though if you are hoping to sit out and enjoy sweeping park views, you may be disappointed – a lot look on to the front car park or the rooms opposite (if you’re in one of the latter, as I was, I would suggest closing your curtains while getting changed). The best views are from the Syon Estate rooms on the upper floor of the Clubhouse – these look on to the Syon House gardens, which can be accessed with a keycard and make a lovely walk.

My one-bedroom suite was well-sized with a four-poster bed, a TV that emerges from a cabinet at its foot, a living area with a sofa and telescope, and a free-standing bath. There didn’t appear to be an evening turndown/maid service. Early in the morning I heard a couple of planes but not enough to disturb me.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS At the end of the lobby is Peacock Alley, a wood-panelled martini bar. Behind that is the Capability (named after park designer Lancelot “Capability” Brown), a smart, relaxed restaurant serving tasty British cuisine. I enjoyed some pan-fried tiger prawns with chilli and garlic and a huge, excellent rib-eye steak. A buffet/à la carte breakfast is served here, and an outdoor terrace features what the hotel says is Europe’s oldest Bonsai tree. Produce is grown out here, as well as in a greenhouse that seats eight for private dining. In the lobby, Brownies serves sweet treats and hot drinks. On the second floor is an outdoor sun deck open seasonally for food and drink.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There is 1,000 sqm of event space, mostly in a dedicated ground-floor area. The 450-capacity ballroom divides into three, and two meeting rooms each divide in two. Next to here, Duke’s Parlour has a pool table and TV and can be hired, as can the Boldt, a library-cum-business centre. The 40-guestroom Clubhouse wing can be booked exclusively and has a 100-capacity Clubhouse with a kitchen, a private dining space and a games room.

LEISURE FACILITIES In the basement, Kallima spa is an attractive space with 11 treatment rooms, a relaxation room, a gym with Technogym equipment, a 15-metre pool, a spa bath, steam room and a sauna with a TV (muted). The idea is that you book treatment time (£96 for an hour) and discuss your needs with a therapist who will base your session around them. I had a great full body massage. Cosmetic surgeon Alex Karidis also has non-surgical treatment rooms here. Bicycles can be borrowed if you fancy a ride along the Thames nearby, and trout fishing, archery and croquet can be arranged.

VERDICT A well-equipped luxury hotel with a great restaurant and spa. Its facilities and location near Heathrow make it a good choice for corporate events, and while the views aren’t always amazing, the park and gardens make for a relaxing setting for a weekend break.

Fact file

  • HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 137 – 24 Syon, 73 Syon Garden, 22 Syon Estate View and seven Syon Orchard rooms, plus three Junior, seven one-bedroom and one Presidential suite.
  • ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The luxurious bed, the large bathroom with Asprey products, and the classy colour scheme.
  • PRICE Internet rates for a weekend stay in June started from £199 for a Syon room.
  • CONTACT London Syon Park,?a Waldorf Astoria hotel,? Middlesex; tel +44 (0)20 7870 7777; londonsyonpark.com

Michelle Mannion

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