Monday 17 October 2016

Review: Ibis London Excel Docklands Hotel

I'm now the proud parent of a teenager as JJ turned 13 just over a week ago. When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he said money or Steam (online gaming) vouchers from all the family but from Dad and I he'd like an experience rather than a present.

A couple of years ago for Christmas he was stuck for what he wanted as a gift and I booked him and my husband to have a weekend in London together. They had so much fun that JJ wanted to do the same again. So I approached Ibis to see if they might like to host my two boys for a night and they were fantastic and the Manager of the Ibis, London Excel Docklands said he would love to offer them a nights stay and breakfast the next morning.

We already had plans to spend the day as a family at Kidzania on the Saturday but I suggested to JJ that the girls and I could then get the train home and he and my husband could stay on and have some fun. They chose to stay in the Westfield Centre, Shepherds Bush and go for a gourmet burger and to see the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which they both said was really good.

This meant that they didn't arrive at the hotel until about 10.30pm and my husband said he wasn't sure if the person on duty was night staff or one of the regular receptionists but she certainly didn't seem to be very happy. JJ then chipped in and said 'they weren't very welcoming but they were dealing with a really difficult customer in front of us so I'll give them some slack'.

Whilst the person wasn't too friendly she did give the necessary information and the boys were able to go up to their room, which was on the second floor with lifts available. They were both pleased with the bedroom and said the whole hotel was very smart looking, well decorated and well kept. The bedroom was clean and JJ said the beds were exceptional, super comfy and he has been coveting a new bed ever since he got back!

There is everything you would need in a hotel bedroom - desk, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer, telephone, charging station, free Wi-Fi, TV with all the channels you'd expect, spare pillows, bedside cabinets and various lighting options. Although my husband said (and I think the photo shows) the room generally felt dark, even in the morning when they woke.

The boys room had a view of the back of the hotel and then out towards the London skyline, which was nice but he said many rooms would probably have no view at all, just the back of another building.

They both slept really well and woke fresh for their full English breakfast, which is always JJ's favourite part of any hotel stay. He was very pleased to hear it is an eat all you can buffet at this hotel and the cost is £10.45 per person, which is reasonable for London. The boys went down for breakfast at about 9.30am expecting it to be heaving as this was peak time in a London hotel but actually there was only about 15 people in an enormous room which surprised them. It was served from 4am - 12noon and that is a pretty amazing but it is just continental for the earlier and later parts of the morning with the cooked breakfast stopping at 10am, which seems quite early for a weekend,

My husband said that generally the food and drinks offered were of a good quality and there was plenty available. They did need to ask for things a couple of times like plates and teaspoons and it wasn't always easy to locate staff to do this.

In all they enjoyed their stay at the Ibis, London Excel Docklands hotel and my husband said he would use the hotel again as it is functional and in a fantastic location. He did comment that customer service and welcome could be worked on though as he has stayed in the Ibis Euston a couple of times for work and he said whilst the hotel there is no where near as swish as the London Excel Docklands one the service was definitely better, with more friendly and attentive staff.

Plus points
  • Easy to find. The location is superb, just look at the photo above. It is close to the Excel centre and just across the water from the O2 with the superb Emirates cable car to take your there
  • It's a very smart looking hotel
  • Super comfortable beds
  • Good technology around the hotel, like the touch screen notice board by the entrance to check directions and where attractions are etc
  • Good free Wi-Fi
  • Charging port in the bedroom on the desk, which made it convenient to charge a number of gadgets at any one time
  • Check in from 2pm and check out by 12 noon
  • You can join Le Club Accor for free and secure the best rooms rates at all Accor brand hotels (around 10% less)
Room for improvement
  • The bedroom felt quite dark at all times
  • The greeting at reception was poor
  • Service in the restaurant left a lot to be desired, as there was no-one to show you to a table or to brief you in how the self-service system ran
  • There was a number of things missing from the breakfast service like plates and teaspoons and when my husband asked staff (when he could find them) he didn't feel they were very eager to serve
Thanks to the Ibis, London Excel Docklands for having my boys to stay, they had a great time and went on to really enjoy their Sunday on the cable car, having a sail on the Thames, a walk along the South Bank and a delicious crepe for lunch.

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