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The Strand Palace Hotel London

They say in life you never forget your first love, and for me my hotel first love is the Strand Palace hotel. 783 rooms and to be honest about 500 rubbish ones, but it was magical, and is a hotel with a massive heart. And even today I still get a great feeling whenever I go back in. The last time was Christmas 07, and it still has something about it that glows.

My favourite memory is hard to pick, maybe it was the crush I have on one of my team mates, maybe it was the awe in which I held the GM, maybe it was the massive banter of the staff canteen, or maybe it was the real sense of belonging to a team, something quite new to me, that made the place stand out. Yes I would go on to find all those things again, and in fact in a bigger way, but this was my first love and so will always be very special.

One thing about this hotel that you can’t help but notice is the stunning Art Deco bits and pieces, they are all over the hotel and even after years of refits and refurbishment they still dominate the structure of the building. The staircase leading down to the conference facility is really beautiful and deserves to be better maintained. But the one piece that stands out above all else is still hidden away. Over the main lobby of the hotel is the most stunning and beautiful original feature I have ever seen in a hotel, it is “protected” by the false ceiling they put it, and it is damaged, but if someone ever revealed the Art Deco Glass Dome over the lobby it would be a true tourist attraction in its own right. English Heritage should lead a campaign to have it opened and restored.

Another thing I always remember about working here was the stories, the stories of days gone by. And now years later I really understand why and from where those stories come from. Stories and gossip are one thing that hotel people feed on, and of course the nature of our environment give us a lot of things to talk about. Guests are funny things and in the main it is our own fault. It is us who sell our buildings and rooms as a “home from home”, and the guests certainly treat it so. And of course once they are home they do the weirdest of things. Every aspect of human life is seen inside a hotel, and so we who live and work there see it all. And the Stand Palace was no exception, it had it stories, its mad moments, the sad moments and the stories you would not believe, even when they are shown on Hotel Babylon the TV show. One of the hotels bar staff, who had worked in the hotel for decades had more stories than hairs on his head, and it is characters life him that make working in a hotel so wonderful.

For a lot of hotels they say location is the most important thing, the biggest selling point, in London, and having worked in a lot of different locations, I have always believed that location is one of those relevant things, it is only important to some, and the pros of location are very debatable. However the location of the SPH is certainly one real advantage. On the Strand, just south of Covent Garden, in theatre-land and so close to some of London’s best restaurants, the hotel is perfect for any tourist visiting the city. The only down side is that it is not quite close enough to a Tube station. But on the up side it must be one of the best located hotels if you are looking to explore on foot this wonderful city.

The SPH remains one of London’s iconic hotels, it is a three star property that has some real selling advantages, and even today still offer the visitor to this great city an excellent offering, and on most days offers good value for money, however that is not to say it can not improve, it does, like a lot of hotels in this city, suffer from inconsistent rooms, but more than makes up for this with things like the bars and restaurants. I am proud to have worked there and am always happy to suggest the hotel when asked.

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