The new Park Plaza at Waterloo hurts. It hurts because it’s so good, you can’t bear having to leave.
The biggest hotel opening in London in 2017, this is an ultramodern, even futuristic hotel. Don’t be put off that it’s one of a huge chain – it’s anything but bland.
Checking in on a buzzing Monday evening, I felt like I was at a glamorous airport departure hall, with dark mood lighting and a polite attendant handing out cookies.
In fact throughout the hotel, which opened this summer, lighting is used to dramatic effect. The corridors are hushed and dark, giving a sense of privacy.
Meanwhile in the rooms, state-of-the-art touchscreen controls change the lighting from bright to atmospheric, with a bathroom nightlight and reading lights. And the immaculately white and minimalist bathrooms are lab-standard clinical, with Elemis goodies.
My room on the 13th - and top - floor had a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the sparkling towers of London all the way to Canary Wharf. Not only the view but the pumping atmosphere of the hotel as a whole reminded me of Manhattan, as did the inner-city vibe of the immediate neighbourhood.
You’re only a 10-minute walk from the South Bank and 15 from Westminster, but the slightly rough-around-the-edges locale makes such a luxurious hotel relatively affordable.
Prosecco on ice and chocolates were waiting for me in my room. After taking in the impressive view, the vast bed, blackout blinds operated by a touch-screen on the bedside table, comfy designer sofa, brand new Taschen art books and smart TV with Sky channels, I started considering giving up my career to work for Park Plaza instead, so I could stay here again and again.
Changing into a crispy clean towelling gown and slippers, I got the lift directly to the basement spa, and swam in the pool, which is surrounded by luminous white-lit walls. There’s also a sauna and steam room, and you can book treatments.
The restaurant – open to the street too – looked inviting, but I chose room service and enjoyed a steak baguette and fries.
That night, I felt invigorated by the thrilling sight of London spread out beneath me, yet also cocooned from city stress in a delicious bubble.
I don’t live far away from this exciting new-generation hotel with its attentive staff, but plan to return ASAP for another escape from everyday life.