Early in January, I was delighted to be invited to stay at the Royal Lancaster London.
With a five-star rating, I had high expectations and I am glad to say, it did not disappoint. Accessibility, professionalism and a warm welcome enabled me to feel at complete ease for my entire stay.
Location and Local Transport
The hotel is located in a beautiful part of London, just minutes away from Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The surroundings are peaceful and quaint, but it’s still easy to get to the City’s tourist hotspots, if that’s what you're after.
Lancaster Gate Underground Station is conveniently located a two minute walk (or wheel) away from the hotel, but it isn’t step free. As a full time powerchair user, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Paddington Station is a ten minute walk away, and there were also plenty of wheelchair-friendly black cabs around.
There are plenty of eateries close to the hotel, with a good choice of restaurants and bars that cater for all budgets. I found the AccessAble website useful when checking this out.
The hotel was built in the 1960’s and had a major refurbishment in 2017. There are a few subtle, yet attractive themes that run throughout. A honeycomb, to mark the hives that are on the rooftops at the hotel, an equestrian theme for the nearby Hyde Park Stables and a Thai rose, to honour the owners of the hotel.
Sustainability seems to be truly embraced and the hotel is on a journey to becoming ‘carbon net zero’, having been awarded Silver Status by Earth Check. Even the hotel room cards are made from sustainable materials!
I sometimes stay in hotels for work, but more often for leisure and a bit of calm and serenity. The Royal Lancaster has a luxurious and sophisticated energy, modern and cool, without the stuffy feel of some establishments. For me, what made the biggest impact was the people behind it all. The friendly, professional staff were thoughtful and understanding. They were aware of my access needs, asked all the right questions, didn’t make any presumptions and had the answers to any queries I had. Special consideration of dietary requirements, including in-room refreshments, was a welcome touch.
The Accessible Room
The accessible room was on the seventeenth floor and offered perfect views of the London skyline. It was almost a question of which famous landmark you could not spot!
There was a roll in shower, handrails and automatic blind opening features. Inclusive design seemed to be celebrated and not hidden away. For me, the most exciting aspect of the room was the automatic door opening system. I often panic about being in a hotel room alone as the doors are heavy, meaning I have to meticulously plan with my husband, assistants, family or friends. The automated feature completely eradicated the stress and enabled complete freedom for me. Sometimes the little things really do make the biggest differences.
The emergency evacuation process was explained in a detailed and respectful way. Additional pnysical features like a remote doorbell, vibrating pillows for emergencies and mobility bath aids were also discussed.
There are a variety of options when eating and drinking at the hotel. We headed to the Park Louge Bar, a restaurant and lounge bar. This offered cocktails and a variety of crowd-pleasing dishes.
Nipa Thai restaurant is another option, which offers a more formal dining experience.
Breakfast was served in the Park Restaurant, which overlooks Hyde Park and the Italian Gardens. Members of the team were more than happy to assist and provide information.
We were lucky enough to enjoy the delicious afternoon tea, at the Hyde Café.
A variety of options were available and I went for the vegan one (what, with it being Veganuary and me trying to eat less dairy!) Served on wonderful platters that hang on a tree, I loved how the nature from outdoors was brought into the surroundings at the hotel. The cakes, scones and sandwiches were all very tasty (I didn’t even notice they were dairy-free) and the bubbles divine. The chilled vibe of the entire hotel made me feel really relaxed. Some afternoon tea venues can feel a bit stuffy and formal, but this felt luxurious and lavish, while also being welcoming. You can also visit the Hyde Café for tea and cakes, without having afternoon tea.
In terms of wellbeing, I enjoy going for massages and beauty treatments on trips away (who doesn’t?). It feels a bit of an indulgence, but it’s often the perfect time for some self-care.
I was excited to discover that the hotel offers in-room spa treatments in partnership with London Serenity. I will be tempted to try one of these next time I visit. For me, an in-room treatment takes away the uncertainty of tight spaces and navigating access into and around treatment rooms.
The Royal Lancaster London is a beautiful and accessible hotel in the capital and makes a great base for a short trip or longer break. The accessible room and hotel dining areas were beautiful and inclusive. Access features didn’t feel at all medicalised or second rate. It was great for me as a full time powerchair user and I loved that additional aids were available on request. It felt like a breath of fresh air, in the heart of the city.
Have you been to the hotel? Are you tempted to stay or visit?
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