If you’ve been following us for a while, you know Pra’s a big supporter of the non-profit Teens Unite Fighting Cancer. This UK-based charity, co-founded by Debbie Pezzani and Karen Millen OBE, provides social, emotional, and physical support to young people ages 13-24 who have been diagnosed with cancer. (Did you know that one in seven teenagers in the UK will be diagnosed?)
Anyway, I make it a point to attend the Teens Unite’s winter fundraising gala in London every year. It’s a great cause, you get to raise tons of money, and it’s also one hell of a good time spent with great friends and an array of influential people, from singers through to designers and TV presenters.
This year was a particularly special one as it was the 10th anniversary and the gala, entitled “Ten Year Tale”, did not disappoint! It was spectacularly designed (take a look at the video – seriously jaw-dropping!) and took place at the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, which was filled to the brim with over 300 supporters who rallied together and raised £125,000! Whoop!
So, naturally, when I found out where the gala was being hosted, I wanted to find a hotel in close proximity. The last thing you want to do when in heels, Spanx, and an evening gown is worry about getting stuck in traffic or silently panicking as you see the cab fare rocketing up as you try to get from one end of the city to the other.
Luckily, the Hilton London Canary Wharf is just across the water from the East Wintergarden, which made it the perfect option for my stay. The hotel is in the centre of the cranking city and yes, it’s definitely more of a business hotel, but that did not stop them from being enthusiastic hosts full of heart.
I may have only been here for a night but every moment I interacted with the staff was a complete pleasure!
It’s easy for major chains to lose the personability that you might experience at smaller hotels. Honestly, you can’t blame them in a way. At these larger hotels, there are so many guests who go in and out of the doors that in order to be efficient and keep everything moving along smoothly, you sometimes have to go on autopilot.
But not the Hilton London Canary Wharf! The staff were awesome, from initial interactions with the PR and marketing department prior to the stay, to the super reception staff, straight through to the chirpiest doorman. When there are so many places that forget your name the moment they hand back your credit card, it was refreshing to be surrounded with genuinely friendly faces and warm greetings. The service was really top notch – high five to everyone!
Style-wise, this is a city hotel through and through and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The reception area is clean and bright, and their Cinnamon Restaurant and Bar is open all day. For business travellers, we highly recommend booking an Executive Room that comes with exclusive access to the Executive Lounge where you can start the day with a complimentary breakfast and have refreshments throughout the day.
I was booked into one of their suites and it was truly superb. The spacious size made it the perfect “getting ready” room. There was a roomy lounge area with a sofa, easy chair, and coffee table, and a slatted wooden room divider separated the sitting area from the plush bed. The semi-open plan made it feel like two distinct spaces without making either of the areas feel closed in or cut off. It’s a spot-on design choice that makes it feel like you could chill on the sofa and then hop over to the bed when you’re ready for sleep.
The colour palette has various tones of dark browns with accents of red, giving it a nice, cosy feel. The dark wood also makes the bed with its crisp white linens and fluffy pillows stand out. I’d be lying if the thought of plonking down on the soft bed instead of going to get my hair and makeup done didn’t cross my mind at least once!
Also, for those of you who need to blast through an inbox of emails or draft up a presentation, there’s a proper desk and ergonomic chair so you can work without having a sore bottom or back. (Surely we’ve all experienced trying to sit and work in one of those poorly padded wooden chairs that you find at other hotels…)
This suite (or any of the larger ones) would definitely be the best size and layout for an executive spending a week in London.
We’ll be honest. Our Caviar Style usually veers towards privately owned, boutique-style hotels, mostly because we want to bring you really fab, cool, “hidden” gems. The big brand names are well-known for a reason – they’ve established themselves as reliable industry players that are consistent in style and service no matter where you go, whether London, New York, or Tokyo.
The upside is that places like the Hilton can be found just about anywhere and they often save the day during those times when you need a mix of comfort and convenience. The Hilton London Canary Wharf is located in the Commercial District and is just a short distance away from the city centre, so it makes for a great option if you’re in town for business…or, like me, an event.
At some point during the evening, someone in our party suggested that it would be great to have an after-ball celebration drink back at the Hilton. So on behalf of the (at least) eight people who were staying in the hotel and who decided to gatecrash Pra’s suite, thank you, Hilton, for hosting our wine!
Forget any preconceived notions you might have about the hotel chain because the Hilton London Canary Wharf delivered across the board. Would we tell you to book it for a luxury getaway? No, because we all know that there are some really special boutique hotels in and around London.
With that being said, the level of service I experienced and the hotel’s location are hands-down fantastic. This is a great place for weekend stays if you’re visiting London and really want to maximise your time by being centrally located to the sights and sounds. During Christmas, a stay here will put you within a 5-minute walk from the Canary Wharf Ice Rink. You’re also a 5-minute walk away from lovely restaurants such as Plateau, which is perfect if you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion. Hop on the tube for one stop and you can get to The O2, the massive arena that is home to tons of events and concerts, as well as restaurants and clubs.
We would also absolutely recommend a suite here for the business traveller who is jetting between meetings and conferences and needs a comfortable room with all of the amenities to make their busy schedule just a bit smoother. Or, of course, any future Teens Unite events!
The Caviar Spoon and Teens Unite gangs salute you, Hilton Group – thank you for taking care of us and making it a really super 24 hours!
Disclaimer: The Caviar Spoon was hosted by Hilton London Canary Wharf but all opinions expressed are our own.
South Quay, Marsh Wall, London, UK