The Waldorf Hilton in London's Aldwych - Review

In Aldwych lies the Waldorf the concept of Edward George Saunders, who in the late 1800's was the manager of the small Coronet Theatre at Notting Hill Gate. Saunders dreamt of opening a theatre in the crescent shaped area being developed as Aldwych. He shared that dream with a friend of his an accountant named Thomas Frederick Wild. They joined forces and both claimed to have had the idea of adding a hotel to their theatre building plans.


Saunders dreams of a theatre were put on hold when two theatres on each side of his site were built. The construction of the hotel though wrought with financial troubles and changing ownership eventually progressed and in 1908 the Waldorf was opened. Marshall Mackenzie who became the new owner of the hotel, during its building phase, had the design elements emulate many hotels he had seen in the United States. The most noted of those elements was a higher ratio of bathrooms to bedrooms than was usual in the Britain. The Edwardian design won Mackenzie lots of praise and contracts on other buildings in London.


There is marked confusion as to how the Waldorf got its name. Some say Astor money was involved (William Waldorf Astor, had just become a naturalized British subject, and was the richest man in the world) some say the name was chosen because it sounded wealthy.

The hotel today enjoys one of London's most enviable locations as it bridges the West End and the Square Mile, providing an excellent base for accessing the main financial district in the day and the popular cultural hub of Covent Garden and Theatreland in the evening.


It has changed ownership several times in its nearly 100 year old life. Today it stands proudly under the Hilton Brand and is known as the Waldorf Hilton. In 2005 Hilton completed a £35 million (over $60 million USD) refurbishment of the hotel. They introduced a new design concept across the hotel to achieve a look that is distinctly elegant yet avant-garde. Its 300 bedrooms and 6 suites have been refurbished into two exclusive bedroom themes. 'Contemporary' and 'Design', both created by RPW Design. All rooms feature Ligne Roset beds, pique linen, power showers, plasma screen televisions and high-speed Internet access.

The 'Contemporary' rooms are characterized by vast illuminated artbox headboards, which were specially commissioned and created by Peter Millard, and original Waldorf case goods that have been restored.


The 'Design' concept rooms are a stunning minimalist environment. The objective was to maximize the use of space by providing glass interiors between bedroom and bathroom, mirrored doors, and glass case goods.


Each room features a modern interpretation of the traditional valet stand made of polished aluminum, timber, stainless steel and retractable brass breastplate.
Climate-controlled air conditioning
Rechargeable in-room laptop safe
Tea and coffee making facilities
Trouser press
Ironing board, iron, and hairdryer all hidden behind a full-length mirror
Bathrobe & slippers
Freestanding luggage rack
Bedside tables with a pivoting drawer and Occasional table on wheels for convenience and flexibility,
Comfortable day bed in deluxe rooms for additional seating upholstered in leather and fabric to complement the color scheme of the room
Ergonomically designed executive desk and chair
Full blackout at the windows with sheer decorative curtains and sliding draw panels in contrasting textures.


All rooms provide a great sleep experience. Super comfortable specially designed beds and mattresses combined with piquet white cotton duvets and a choice of feather or anti-allergic Oxford Square pillows are provided. French furniture makers, Ligne Roset, developed the bed exclusively. Working with well-known design partnership of Pagnon & Pelhaitre, Ligne Rose has created a slim and curvaceous bed that appears to float above the floor. The bed frame, which is available in natural aluminum and a selection of wood veneers, is held aloft by a combination of feet and rollers that are inset and hidden from its edge. The exclusive bed is further enhanced by its queen-size 17 inch Sealy 'Crown Royal' mattress, using a revolutionary Dual Spring system, which provides firmness while micro adjusting to the guest's body shape. The beds have mohair bed throws, which co-ordinate with the color scheme and contrasting scatter cushions.


The 'Design' bathrooms feature Bespoke wash stand with ceramic sit-on basin with polished stone top and glass and polished chrome base. The 'Concept' bathrooms feature original freestanding Edwardian chrome and marble washstand. All bathrooms have shower rooms with either Thunder shower heads, or Hansgrohe shower towers incorporating shower and body massage jets. Anti steam mirror and Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries.


The former billiard room of the hotel has been transformed into a luxurious, comfortable space for executive customers to relax. The Executive Lounge offers private check in and check out services. The Lounge also serves as a quiet working area for guests it is equipped with WiFi wireless technology enabling laptop use anywhere in the room. A 42-inch plasma screen television is tuned into a news channel throughout the day and a selection of books, national and international newspapers are available. Executive room guests can help themselves to complimentary all day dining including Continental breakfast, afternoon tea, drinks and canapes in the evening.


The Homage Grand Salon is located in the original 1908 Grill Room and its Grade 2 listed features are characteristic of the Louis XVI style. The Salon has 95 seats with a feature bar and walk-in wine cabinet. Homage Grand Salon offers a selection of European dishes, and is under the care of Head Chef Gerry Rae (formerly of Banquette and Mju). Diners on a Friday and Saturday evening can also enjoy live jazz music from a pianist and double bass.

The Homage Bar's new design returns it back to its original proportions. Three areas provide a choice of intimate spaces for people wishing to eat and drink on their own or in small groups. Wall coverings feature contemporary fabrics, and detailed metal panels provide a contrasting backdrop to period pieces set alongside the B&B Italia Vol-au-Vent chair and a rich, smoked oak timber floor.

The original restored Waring & Gillow paneling in Homage Patisserie provides a stunning backdrop for the perfect retreat from which to escape the hustle & bustle of city life. The features have been restored to their original condition offering a rich and sumptuous setting in which to enjoy morning coffee and afternoon tea. Amongst the rich fabrics and period furniture the focal point is a 'jewel box' counter displaying fine pastries by day and serving champagne cocktails by night.


The three existing meeting rooms with period features have also been refurbished with an additional meeting room and syndicate room added.  Additionally, the legendary Palm Court and Adelphi Ballroom have been fully restored to their former glory, as befitting their English heritage status. 

The Waldorf Hilton is a classic Venue with a very modern flair. Beautifully restored, it is a sophisticated place to stay in the city offering all the modern amenities one could wish for intertwined with touches and flairs of Edwardian London.


For more in-depth about my experiences at the Waldorf Hilton click on London Postcards Day 14.

Waldorf Hilton
United Kingdom
Telephone +44 (0)20 7836 2400

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