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A taste of the high life at the Hilton

A taste of the high life at the Hilton

DUBAI: It would be difficult to guestimate just how many hotels have opened since the London Hilton on Park Lane. But given that the property debuted in the 1960s and is still going strong, it has certainly demonstrated that it has lasting appeal for customers. And it continues to attract a large percentage of travellers from the GCC.

Let’s do the math: It’s a stone’s throw away from a multitude of tourist attractions, West End theatres, beautiful green parks, and many a Mayfair establishment — including the trusty Lebanese and Middle Eastern restaurants that seem to get away with charging $35 for shisha (because, London).

The views have no doubt contributed to the Hilton on Park Lane’s longevity. Offering a splendid panoramic sight of the UK capital, with no building in front of the hotel, it’s situated in an area that developers would love to get their hands on. And it continues to win awards, most recently nabbing the Luxury Scenic View Hotel at last year’s World Luxury Hotel Awards.

The five-star hotel comprises 453 rooms including 56 suites. For such a large hotel, service at check-in is welcoming and speedy. We get to our room in no time, a gorgeous suite featuring a walk-in wardrobe and double-sink bathroom. The balcony opens to views of Hyde Park, offering plenty of Insta-worthy photo opps. Whilst the layout and views are fantastic, you do get a general sense that the interiors — both furniture and décor — could do with a minor facelift. The key to retaining customers is to evolve, and sometimes Hilton can seem stuck in its ways.

Speaking of which, there are things that seem a little too old-fashioned to still be around. For example, standard Wi-Fi is not offered to guests. You need to book stays through Hilton’s own website in order to enjoy Wi-Fi free of charge.

Secondly — we get it — parking in London is a nightmare and doesn’t come cheap. However, given that rooms at the London Hilton on Park Lane don’t come cheap either, it seems ludicrous that parking in the hotel’s car park costs about $60 per night.

Nonetheless, these niggles are made up for by an incredibly comfortable bed, a good selection of amenities, and extra lifestyle offerings including restaurants, a fitness centre and spa. It’s home to the signature 24-Karat Gold massage, an hour-long treatment that uses gold leaves and gold-infused oil to rejuvenate the skin.

One area in which the hotel truly excels is its afternoon tea offering, and, let’s face it, what’s a trip to the United Kingdom without enjoying a selection of brews, finger sandwiches, scones and cake? The Podium Restaurant & Bar located on the ground floor is where to go for the London Hilton on Park Lane’s signature experience, created by chefs Emmanuel Bonneau and Sam Leatherby. The duo made headlines last year after winning the British TV show “Bake Off: The Professionals” – a spin-off of “The Great British Bake Off” – and Podium’s afternoon tea’s creations have been inspired by their time on the show.

There’s deconstructed black forest gateaux and passion fruit-and-strawberry miniature tarts. Other exquisite items include a traditional praline roulade, three-tiered Pina Colada cheesecake, and caramelised banana milk chocolate macaroons. It is highly recommended that you book ahead.

Given the current climate, a trip to the UK is becoming more and more affordable, and at the moment, Hilton is hosting its annual summer sale that offers up to 30 percent off the best rates. But be quick, as you only have until August 19 to take advantage of that deal. The good news is that you can book stays up to next year.

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