By Katie Wilson
As its name suggests, The Westminster hotel is as close to the centre of London as you can get, making it one of the most enviably located establishments in the capital.
Landmarks on its doorstep include Tate Britain, which is literally next door. While Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace are a short walk away.
Following a multi-million pound makeover, The Westminster is the latest London venue to join Hilton’s Curio Collection, a portfolio of one-of-a-kind hotels around the globe.
The result is a stylish, art-filled space which houses London’s second STK Steakhouse, a more casual Bao Yum Cafe – and it’s own private bowling alley.
Here’s what happened when we checked into a suite at The Westminster hotel for the night.
Just a few minutes’ walk from Pimlico station, and with the Tate Britain museum as its next door neighbour, you’ll find The Westminster hotel.
The tree-lined street it resides on is smack bang in the centre of London, but it feels quiet, almost residential.
Friendly staff greet us at reception and it’s a surprise to find we’ve been upgraded to a suite on the 13th floor.
STYLE AND INTERIORS
The stylish lobby is the first thing you see when you enter through the revolving glass doors, and it’s clear there is an art theme here.
British-themed pictures adorn the walls. Huge aristocratic murals which have been given a paint-splattered update hang behind the three reception desks.
There is a bowler hat installation in the window. All are black, save for a single red hat. We also spotted tributes to music legends The Beatles and Pink Floyd in the reception area as we sat on the tiger print sofa.
Guests are welcome to book the ground-floor meeting rooms if they are working from the hotel, which are named after former British spies in a nod to its proximity to the MI5 building on the Thames. The most interesting is Astrea – the codename of Aphra Behn, Britain’s first female spy.
There are 464 rooms at The Westminster hotel. We stayed in a King One Bedroom Suite room on the 13th floor.
As soon as the lift doors opened, before we even got to our room, we were treated to a magical view of London. It is even more special at night when the city skyline is illuminated. We could see the dome of Tate Britain, the MI5 building and the view over the Thames.
Inside, we were surprised at how spacious the rooms were. There was a corridor with a wardrobe so big you could walk around in it, and a coffee station with Nespresso machine and kettle. This led to the chic living room, which had a sofa, chairs and huge TV. More cool artwork hung on the walls. There was even a desk area if you are working from hotel.
The bed was huge and so comfy we easily drifted off into a restful night’s sleep. While the black marble bathroom was one of the roomiest we have seen, with a bigger than usual bath, rainfall shower and separate toilet area.
A welcome platter of macarons and fruit had been left out for us to enjoy. There was also complimentary still and sparkling water on offer.
FOOD AND DRINK
After a quick outfit change, it was back down to STK Steakhouse restaurant on the first floor for dinner.
We had no idea how pretty it would be until the lift doors opened. The first thing that greets you is a botanical mural of a woman with flowers for hair surrounded by birds.
As we walked to our table, we spotted more pretty artwork and a sea of cherry blossom trees which appeared to grow inbetween the tables.
Once seated in a comfy leather booth, we ordered two signature cocktails; an STK Martini and Strawberry Cobbler, which is Grey Goose vodka, strawberry puree, lemon juice and gomme syrup. The latter ended up being a favourite for the rest of the night.
Although the food is predominantly meat based, the menu was varied and there were fish options, including a Raw Bar with freshly shucked oysters, ceviche, whole lobster on ice and crab legs. Shellfish platters were also available.
We opted for the Crispy Calamari (£18) and Tortellini and Black Truffle to start (£20). Both were huge portions and the calamari batter was spot on. Mains were the perfectly cooked Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass (£34) and the melt-in-your-mouth Fillet Steak (£60). We shared the Potato Gratin with Truffle and Cheese and Asparagus as sides (£9 each).
If we’d had have any room left for pudding, we would have ordered the Hazelnut Chocolate Cake or the Apple Pie with Cinnamon Crumble and Maple Creme Fraiche (£11 each). It’s safe to safe this place doesn’t scrimp on portions, so swap a starter for a dessert if you’ve got more of a sweet tooth.
Coffee and casual daytime dining can be found at the Bao Yum Cafe on the ground floor, next to The Westminster hotel reception.
One of the things we were most excited about before visiting The Westmister hotel was the bowling alley. Yes you heard us right, this place has it’s very own bowling alley.
Quite the novelty, we were able to have a couple of games once our dinner had gone down, and it was the perfect way to end the night.
Guests wanting to have a go should book ahead to avoid disappointment. The bowling room can also be hired out for private functions and it’s great for a work party or birthday.
There is also a state-of-the-art gym on the 13th floor, the highest point of the hotel, which enjoys panoramic views over London.
Although The Westminster hotel is part of the Hilton collection, it’s quirky and fun rather than corporate, and perfectly placed for tourists wanting to take in all the attractions of the capital, which are handily within walking distance.
Rooms start from £165 a night
Read more: New UK hotels to know about
Read more: Best afternoon teas to book in London