ITCM reports on Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel – one of London’s prime conference propertiesGrosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel London (to give it its full title), is one of the doyennes of 5-star hotels in London. It holds a central position on Park Lane, one of the swankiest addresses in London. JW Marriott is the hotel group’s top-of-the-range brand.
However, our stay at the Grosvenor House Hotel proved that it is not stuffy. The whole ambiance is relaxed, whilst at the same time the service is all a guest would expect from a hotel with those credentials.
It means that a PA can safely choose the hotel for a top-line board meeting; that an organiser can feel confident in its selection as a venue for a large conference; or that a marketing services manager can happily use it as an incentive base, knowing that it will be a big attraction in a promotion programme and that no matter who wins an award, they will all feel comfortable in its surroundings.
All in all, it is not surprising that 40% of its clientele are American. American visitors to the UK tend to enjoy an informal environment. They are also likely to be happy with the large portions in which the very good quality food is served in the hotels f&b outlets. The main dining room is the JW Steakhouse. Smart casual is the way most diners dress here. Subdued lighting and the more than ample space between the tables ensures free-ranging and private conversation.
Although prime cuts of beef are the speciality, the menu offers a wide choice and each serving is of North American proportions. Our calves’ liver was truly a plateful and the delicious cheesecake was not a slice but a whole round cake and it was obviously not the first time that the waiter had suggested that the guests might like to make use of a special box in order to take away what still remained after a generous helping had been eaten.
The JW Steakhouse is also served by a Bourbon Bar, with a remarkable range of American whiskies. If Afternoon Tea is an attractive idea, then sitting in Park Room of the Grosvenor House watching life on Park Lane cannot be bettered. And the Red Bar and the Library are obvious places for networking amongst residential delegates.
It was a surprise to find the Park Lane Market, but a very pleasant surprise. This is a facility on the ground floor where guests can buy fruit, sandwiches, cakes and where even take-away Starbucks coffee is available. It is another example of how the hotel caters for comfort and convenience and is not just conscious of its own importance.
Range of room grades
The hotel has 420 rooms and 74 suites and it is quite fitting that the several grades start at De Luxe. The accommodation at the end of every floor is a Premium Park View Suite. These suites provide the facilities of a superb London apartment, central to all that the capital has to offer, but with a sense of being out in the countryside.
The whole hotel revels in marble and plush carpets and golden frames that are expected of a 5-star Park Lane property, but it is obvious comfort and convenience are the prime objectives of the design. ITCM was happy, for example, to find that the basins and baths in the marble bathroom had simple time-honoured plugs that really work and not the modern lever-operated contraptions that almost always fail to hold water.
Unrivalled array of meetings facilities
However, this is a MICE website and the all-important aspects of a hotel for ITCM are its facilities as a MICE venue. Grosvenor House is one of the most important players on the London conference scene. For decades its Great Room has been on everyone’s shortlist for large events. With incomparable style, it can accommodate banquets for up to 2,000 guests. And it is usually busy for 250 days in the year.
Originally, in the 19thC, it was a skating rink and it is fascinating to compare an old photograph of it in its skating heyday with recent pictures of it hosting a conference or a gala dinner. But it still has the gallery and sweeping staircases and they are still very elegant. It also boasts eight giant chandeliers and, when ITCM visited, six were being re-hung as the hotel had gone to the trouble of removing them to suit an event the previous evening. Marriott ensures that it is kept in prime condition to maintain its status amongst venues in London and Europe, even. In 2011 £1m was spent on its refurbishment.
In addition to the Great Room, there is another ballroom that can host 500 guests and a further 30 meeting rooms. The whole property consists of several interconnected buildings and one, known as Number 86 Park Lane, has a floor dedicated to 20 separate meeting rooms, the largest for 120 pax, that can be opened into different configurations to match an organiser’s requirements.
For information about Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel please call +44 (0) 207 499 6363 or visit www.londongrosvenorhouse.co.uk