Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa – London, UK

I had never heard of the Pestana group before however I understand that they are big in Portugal. The Chelsea Bridge Hotel and spa is their flagship property outside of Portugal.

The hotel is situated right next to the old Battersea power station which is a 15 – 20 minute walk to the nearest tube station (Sloane Square). The walk is nice, taking you over Chelsea Bridge, past the old barracks and past the hospital where the Chelsea Pensioners live. You can catch a bus outside the hotel that will take you to Sloane Square (5 minutes) or Victoria (about 10 minutes).

Once I knew the name of the hotel I was staying in, I had a look at the hotels website; the pictures are fairly accurate too. The picture of the lobby looks enormous in the picture and in reality is barely functional. I suspect the same of the pool but didn’t try it.

Check – in was pretty slow, I had to confirm all my personal details, despite the hotel being given them by Priceline. The (what now seems to be standard) £50 swipe per night was taken from my card; making a £200 swipe. I really do wonder what they think I am going to spend £200 on. After the normal questions I was handed a room key. I asked if I could have a Guardian in the morning and was informed that “we don’t do that”. I was instructed to check the bar / lounge area in the morning as some papers come in. What? This is meant to be a 4 star hotel people.

My room was on the 9th floor which was labelled Executive Floor. The room was very spacious for London, had a Queen bed and a full size sofa. I had just put my bags down when I heard the noise of a train. I looked out the window and saw several train lines and indeed several trains using them. I do not understand why a brand new 4 star hotel would be built so close to the line without the rooms being sound proof. I marched back down to reception and explained that this simply wouldn’t do. I was allocated a room on the 7th floor (no Executive label here) which was the same size as the previous room. The room had a queen and a slightly smaller sofa. This room was situated at the front of the hotel and was indeed much quieter. The lighting in the room was trying to be cool but didn’t quite pull it off with orange lights at the windows and a blue light in the bathroom.

As I unpacked I noticed there was a small fridge in the room. The fridge contained 3 small bottles of water. I wasn’t sure if these were complimentary or not; there was a price list next to the fridge however it had nice things like Peroni (£5) and Pringles (£2.50). My fridge only had the water.

I walked to Victoria (took about 30 minutes) and had dinner. On my return I stopped off and bought some beer – I felt something should go in the fridge.

Upon my return to the hotel I decided to check my emails; a simple task you would have thought. Alas my iPhone couldn’t deal with data from my room. I can only assume the signal was blocked by something? I took out my laptop and connected to the hotel Wi-Fi network…where I was prompted for a log on. The landing page explained that the cost was £5 per hour. It is 2011. I can pick up free Wi-Fi almost anywhere in London and indeed many other places too. I really don’t see the need for hotels to charge for internet; it is no longer a luxury.

I had received a call from work which referred to an email that I had to read. I decided to stop moaning and call reception for a code.

As I picked up the handset the (Cisco / IP) phone display changed to “Good evening Mr Ricardo”. I can assure you that this is not me. I hit 0 for reception… nothing happened. I replaced the receiver and tried again… still nothing. I tried speaker phone all to no avail; the phone wasn’t connected.

Having cursed more than a little, I got dressed and went back downstairs. I noticed there were two PCs in the lobby and tried to access the internet. I was yet again asked for a code.

I asked reception for a code (“for the internet”, didn’t say which computer I would be using…) and they obliged. I promptly took this back to my room; the code worked well. Rather annoying trauma to send an email though.

I didn’t try breakfast here however I did have a drink at the bar one evening; staff were very friendly indeed.

I returned to my room on the third night of my stay and noticed a card had been placed next to the “mini-bar”. It explained that the initial contents were complementary and that anything additional would be charged…I am not sure how I could have consumed anything else as it was still empty…

I had a glance at the hotel information book in the room. I was informed that the hotel would “happily source daily newspapers from around the world at no charge”. I was also encouraged to enjoy my well stocked mini-bar containing a range of alcoholic and soft drinks and snacks.

This hotel has some way to go if it is to be considered a serious contender for corporate business.

Specials can be found for around £139 per night.


Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa, 54 Queenstown Road, London, SW8 4AE. Website

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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