Hidden behind a historic 19th-century facade on Ludgate Hill is a quirky Curio Collection property by Hilton that debuted in an enviable corner of central London last summer. Called Lost Property St. Paul’s London, this hotel has garnered much attention for its proximity to the imposing cathedral just 330 feet away.
For a good reason, the location is one of the main selling points of this hotel in a city with no shortage of places to stay. Lost Property also delivers in many other ways — and, during my stay in November, showed a little room for improvement.
If you’re considering a stay at one of Hilton’s newest London hotels, here are a few things you need to know.
The location is sensational
As guests enter the front door, they get a direct view of Sir Cristopher Wren’s neoclassical and baroque masterpiece, St. Paul’s Cathedral. The iconic cathedral, with its towering 366-foot-tall lead-clad dome, gave the hotel part of its moniker.
Travelers will be happy to find the hotel is just a few minutes on foot from Millennium Bridge, which leads across the Thames to London’s Bankside district (home to the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe).
For access to other parts of London, the hotel is a five-minute walk to the Blackfriars and St. Paul’s stations. It’s just around the corner from the City Thameslink Station.
Rooms are cozy
London isn’t exactly known for palatial hotel rooms, but my 215-square-foot king guest room felt cramped nonetheless.
I remember tripping (frequently) over my belongings when I took my suitcase out of the closet. I suspect the hotel could have done without the small sitting area at the foot of the bed, which included a table, marble-print chair and an ottoman. With the minibar squeezed into the corner, it just felt like too much furniture for such a small space — and I can’t imagine if I’d been sharing the room with someone else.
The white marble bathroom, which was stocked with refillable Penhaligon’s London toiletries, was bright and modern but lacked storage space. In fact, I kept my amenity kit on the one empty stretch of shelf that was, worryingly, right above the toilet.
Entry-level queen guest rooms are even … cozier … at 193 square feet. These rooms seem to save space without the sitting area but still look exceptionally hard to navigate without holding your breath and lifting your arms over your head.
Expect eclectic design
Inspired by the idea of things being lost, found and possibly lost again, the hotel sports an eclectic mix of contemporary artwork and peculiar details meant to evoke whimsical discovery. Colorful Murano glass pendants hang around the public spaces, an illustration of a dodo bird hangs in the lobby and the tiled floor outside the elevators reads, “To be found, one must first be lost.”
The effect is a sort of dreamy, occasionally disorienting mix of distinctly British flourishes. (Rooms feature either red or blue accents, and Winston Churchill’s likeness presides over the reception desk.) There are more symbolic, thematic touches as well.
The food and drinks are great …
After arriving in London, I met a colleague at Found, the hotel’s main bar and restaurant, for drinks and a quick bite. I ordered the ratatouille gratin ($23), which arrived in a cast-iron cassoulette with a side of crushed potatoes with wild garlic. Our drinks, when they arrived, were also elegant and flavorful. I opted for a classic gin cocktail, the ampersand, which arrived garnished with orange zest.
… but the service was slow
We waited an agonizingly long time for our cocktails to arrive and even had to follow up with a server, which I’m always reticent to do. The bar was extremely quiet — in fact, throughout my stay, the bar and restaurant were always quite empty, except for during the bustling breakfast hour.
Fortunately, the service did improve throughout the stay, so it’s quite possible there was a miscommunication or some other issue that first evening.
For dinner the second night, I tucked into a heritage beetroot salad with candied walnuts, pine nuts and a large portion of chevre ($13). I also had a small bouillabaisse with cod, mussels and prawns ($32), which looked and tasted lovely, save for the strange wedge of heavily buttered white bread placed on the side of the dish like an afterthought.
Any service issues were also avoided at the breakfast buffet, which is served beneath a chandelier of glass endangered birds. The buffet included a few items upon request, such as vegan sausage, oat porridge, poached eggs and gluten-free bread.
Service was also swift and friendly at Tattler, the hotel’s street-front cafe, which serves beverages alongside a few quick lunch and breakfast items (like a tomato-and-cheese croissant sandwich). It also offers a handful of grab-and-go items like smoothies and yogurt cups.
It’s a steal
In a city that consistently commands some of the most eye-watering hotel rates on Earth, Lost Property St. Paul’s London stands apart as an absolute bargain. My two-night stay in November cost an average of 284 pounds ($354) per night, and rates start at 202 pounds (about $250).
Best of all, travelers can use Hilton Honors points to offset the cost of their stay. Standard room rewards here are available from 70,000 points per night, making it one of the city’s more affordable Curio Collection properties.
If the Lost Property St. Paul’s isn’t the right fit for your next trip to London, Hilton has dozens of hotels in the city to choose from. The Waldorf Hilton in Covent Garden (about a 20-minute walk from Lost Property or a quick ride on the Tube) is an honorable mention.
For travelers who want to stay closer to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Hyatt Regency London Blackfriars just opened in the neighborhood. Of course, there is no shortage of hotels to choose from In London — especially if you’re flexible with your brand, neighborhood, price point and how much space you really need during a visit.
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