The original Waldorf=Astoria New York brings up images of old world glamour and history, but the new London Syon Park Waldorf Astoria is a much slicker, quirky yet seductive affair.
The five star London Syon Park – a Waldorf Astoria hotel – is nestled among 200 acres of idyllic greenery in the Duke of Northumberland’s Syon House Estate, just a short distance from Richmond and Kew Gardens.
London Syon Park has dual appeal – a country bolthole for Londoners escaping the noise of the city and a more inspiring option to the ‘airport hotels’ for those passing through Heathrow.
The exterior of the hotel may not be quite as grand as you might expect, but step inside and you’re immediately transported to a whimsical wonderland of oversized velvet arm armchairs, a cloud-like origami sculpture and a glass butterfly house filled with the world’s most exotic butterflies, in the middle of the lobby.
This is inspired by the butterfly house that was once at Syon Park and the butterfly motif runs throughout the hotel, so look out for clues! There is even an ice cream parlour, Brownies, to make the experience even more fantastical.
London Syon Park has 137 rooms on just two floors with some accessed through an enclosed outdoor walkway featuring twitterings of woodland animal and bird noises.
The bedrooms can only be described as ‘gothic luxe’ – elegant, dramatic monochrome with sumptuous textures. The dark, mystical design of the bedrooms is a real contrast to the playful lightness of the hotel and its country surroundings.
Our Arboretum Room was spacious and featured a giant LCD HD TV, plenty wardrobe space, a work desk, seating area and glass bottles of complimentary mineral water.
The bed was exceptionally comfy and the sheet were silky-soft and light, so we had an excellent night’s sleep. Sometimes hotels can over-do it with the padding and pillows, leading to much over-heating and an interrupted sleep, but here they have it just right.
Considering that the hotel is so close to Heathrow, with planes flying over at regular intervals, we never heard any air-traffic noise – a testament to the sound-proofed windows.
Most of the bedrooms have balconies, all with different views, and ours had a view over the leafy grounds and the Syon Arboretum. It was delightful to sit and enjoy the sun and views for a while before exploring the rest of the hotel.
The bathroom is petite but perfectly formed with a deep soak tub complete with TV, a powerful walk-in rain shower and the most plush bathroom products I’ve encountered at a hotel yet – Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Soul.
Kallima Spa, named after a rare butterfly, is the jewel of London Syon Park and it was hard for me to tear myself away. The pool is a tranquil paradise with irridescent mini mosaics, water overflow and the perfect temperature. We loved the jacuzzi and also tried out the ultra-hot Steam Room and Sauna, complete with TV!
It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon by the pool, sauntering from one well-being facility to the next and relaxing with a chilled glass of water on the pool loungers, before perhaps indulging in an Anne Sémonin spa treatment, which I did the next day.
If you’re a more outdoors type, you can take a long ramble through the acres of greenery that makes up Syon Park, take a bike ride along the Thames or investigate the ‘secret garden’, which can be unlocked with your room key. Or, if you can’t quite leave the city behind, a shopping trip to Westfield at Shepherds Bush is just a short bus or cab ride away.
In the evening, we dined London Syon Park’s restaurant, The Capability, headed up by executive chef Lee Streeton, formerly of HIX and Browns hotel. The Capability is named after Capability Brown, the prolific 18th century landscape architect, who designed the extensive grounds at Syon Park, and is affectionately known as ‘England’s greatest gardener’.
The evening finished with a decadent cocktail in a super-tall crystal glass at the stylish lounge-bar, Peacock Alley.
In the morning, we went down for breakfast at The Capability and ordered Eggs Benedict for the hot menu and had a few bits and pieces from the continental buffet. Our waiter proceeded to tell us the history of Eggs Benedict and its connection to the original Waldorf=Astoria, then suggested we have the Eggs Royale instead! It was friendly, but a bit too much for the morning, especially before I’d had my morning coffee.
The Eggs Benedict was excellent and I loved the choice of muffins and pastries in either full or mini size from the continental buffet.
London Syon Park is the perfect place for a relaxing retreat, although surprisingly there are so many things to see and do that you’ll be spoilt for choice.
My only gripe is the WIFI charges. WIFI is free in communal areas, but to use it in your room costs £15 for 24 hours, which is a bit steep, as guests are only likely to use it for a fraction of this time. Tea and coffee facilities in the room would be nice too.
Kallima Spa is an absolutely heavenly experience and dinner at The Capability is a must for foodies who delight in seasonal dishes made with the freshest ingredients from the hotel’s allotments and herb gardens.
For more info and booking, visit: www.londonsyonpark.com
Chérie City was a guest of London Syon Park.