Monday, 25 July 2022

Staying at the Hampton by Hilton York Piccadilly // Where to stay in York


Perfectly timed before the announcement of the Omicron variant - which feels like a lifetime ago - it was nice to have a few days away exploring a different city. Understandably at that time of the year, many hotels were fully booked up. Or expensive. For a short stay I don't want to be spending hundreds of British pounds per night. I found an absolute gem of a hotel... but it was fully booked. Another time perhaps. I was also keen to visit a new hotel that was being built the last time I visited York, however the final result was underwhelming with rooms not feeling worth the price point. I came about the Hampton by Hilton York Piccadilly by chance. Newly opened only last year, it looked beautifully done and was competitively priced, coming up lower than other ones in my search. 

THE ROOM

The room itself was really well designed and well thought out. The selling point for choosing this particular hotel was the bedroom with its seating area complete with gallery wall, as it looked like a nice place to curl up with a book. The headboard wrapped around the room and merged with built-in bench seating which had the capacity to fold out into another bed. There are two different colourways for the extended headboard and seating area - a lime green or a blue. At the time of booking I preferred the blue scheme, but you don't appear to get a say in the colour, so arrived to the green. Despite inital disapointment, the lime green felt warmer and nicer in person. 


The bed itself was a delight to take a running leap onto upon arrival. Saying that, a lot of the sponginess and comfort was from the duvet. Once in bed, there appeared to be a mattress topper but it wasn't as comfortable or satisfying as laying on top of the duvet. I found reading more comfortable from bed - laying on top of the duvet, naturally - as the bench seating was a little on the hard side, even with the supplied scatter cushions.


Lighting on this side of the room was dimmer and added to the ambient feel, making it feel really cosy. Such lighting was much easier to wake up to then the rude awakening of blarring spotlights. 

Also on this side of the room; a desk area with a wall mounted TV. The TV dominated that wall and did feel a little excessive given the size of the room.


Open hanging space and wall mounted hooks made the room feel a little more open compared to having bulky built-in furniture. We always travel with back packs, so never really need that much hanging space besides somewhere to hang our coats.   


A large wall mirror also added to the feeling of space, making the room feel much bigger than it was. The lack of bezels and frame made it feel like you had access to an adjoining room and that the room continued on.


Also can we talk about how on point the artwork and cushions were? How lovely is this contribution to the gallery wall from a local primary school pupil?



THE BATHROOM

The bathroom I took a lot of inspiration from, given that the bathroom back home could really do with a glow up and is of a similar size. The sink was a thing of beauty, as was the waterfall sbower. And the mirror with its soft lighting and heating meant this stayed mist-free post-shower.


Funny quirks we found:
  1. The artwork behind the toilet (super cute)
  2. The tissue box contained one single tissue 😂
  3. There was hand soap in the shower and shower gel at the sink

The latter was easy enough to resolve as the toiletteries easily slid in and out of their wall mounts, so we switched these over. Having all of these wall mounted as hand pumps rather than miniature bottles was a nice touch and much easier to deal with in the shower. And for the record, both the body wash and hand wash smelled heavenly. 


ROOM EXTRAS

No robes or slippers are provided at the Hampton by Hilton York Piccadilly, which I was surprised about given the Hilton brand (maybe this is a Hampton thing?). But there were some nice other touches. Including quirky leather handles on the chest of drawsers and a rather snazzy SMEG fridge which we used to keep our large water bottles cold in. 


The tea and coffee station came in useful, especially when visiting York during the colder months. But there wasn't a great deal of choice if like me, you don't drink coffee or standard tea. As a heads up, York's Christmas market closes fairly early (around 6 ish) so my idea of bringing hot drinks back to the room after dinner didn't work out. And none of the big coffee chains are open that late either. Fortunately there were two supermarkets a few minutes walk away from the hotel where we found individual sachets of hot chocolate for about 40p each, so that did the job nicely. I did discover the next morning that the hotel has herbal tea available at breakfast along with a hot drink making station, so maybe next time I'd ask at reception to see if I could use it after hours and bring hot drinks up to the room.

LOCATION

Hampton by Hilton York Piccadilly is located smack bang in the middle of the York city centre, close to main attractions like the JORVIK centre, and within walking distance to Clifford's Tower and York Castle museum. At night we discovered lots of great looking restaurants nearby, so you don't need to venture that far from the hotel to find a good meal. Also with the added benefit of both Sainsburys and Tesco supermarkets nearby which we used to stock up on hot chocolate and large bottles of water. 

THE HOTEL ITSELF

The lobby and corridors smelt really clean which was a promising start - especially during a global pandemic. There were seals on the doors so you knew that you were the first ones entering the room since it had been cleaned, and other notices around the hotel detailed the hotel's cleaning procedures. This was a nice touch and for my first experience of travelling in a COVID-19 world, inspired confidence and gave me reassurance during my stay.


As the hotel was newly opened, everything was in a good state of repair and looked as new. The interiors were on point, including a beautiful lobby with sofas and comfortable seating in a myriad of different purples and blues. This was my favourite place to sit in the morning and I would have happily sat there longer if we hadn't pre-booked our activities (a new requirement during COVID times). 



And can we talk about how cute the bird lighting is?



RATES AND PACKAGES

Our hotel stay included breakfast whereas lots of the other hotels I was looking at did not. We'd originally planned to have breakfast out, but given that the room at the Hampton by Hilton York Piccadilly was cheaper than lots of the other hotels we were looking at AND included breakfast, it would have been rude not to!

There was a generous breakfast spread which included both continental and cooked options, along with fresh juices and a hot drink station which included hot chocolate and a generous selection of herbal teas. Food on offer included fruit, bread, cereals, yoghurts, pastries, cooked breakfast options and freshly cooked waffles with a wealth of toppings.  

The waffle maker looked good fun and with Hampton by Hilton being a client at a previous job of mine and supplying a waffle breakfast to my team, I knew that their waffles were insanely good. However the waffle making contraption I couldn't get my head around first thing in the morning where the brain fog is real. Logistically it would have better if the waffles could have been pre-made and available at the hot food counter or made to order. Especially in COVID times where you may not want to touch things that other people have.

As we had quite a taxing and long day of walking ahead of us, we opted for a cooked breakfast. This is something we don't have very often and we have as an occasional treat. The cooked offerings are available buffet style to help yourself. All very nice, but not the most extensive for choice. I probably would have preferred a fried egg or poached egg as their only egg option - scrambled egg - was on the pale side and a little under for my liking. As well as more egg choice, the buffet could have also done with some mushrooms (one of my favourite things to have on toast in the mornings). The mini hash browns however were a stroke of genius. 


The hot chocolate from the hot drink machine comes highly recommended. I went back for a second - which is high praise indeed! - and took it back to the room while we were getting ready to go out.

SUMMARY

As a newer hotel, this has been done to a high spec and feels modern and well designed. The bench seating in the room was a clever use of space, but not the most comfortable. It definitely needed the provided cushions. I imagine the fold out bed wouldn't be all that comfortable either, so a word of caution if you are a party of three coming for a York city stay. The fold out bed would be more suited to children or young adults, not for the elderly. 

The downside of the trip was a noise complaint in our room on the second floor. The room had a high pitched noise tht we discovered later that evening after coming back from dinner and it continued all night. And by that time, it was too late to ask to be moved. There was also a continuous dripping noise coming from my side of the bed, sounding like it was coming from overhead or by the window. It sounded like there was a leak somewhere in the buiding. My partner hones into noises very easily and won't sleep, whereas I can sleep through pretty much anything. For this to affect me too, this speaks volumes. Both noises kept us both awake all night long defeating one of the main purposes of a hotel - getting a good night's sleep. Despite being in centre of town, you couldn't hear any outside noise even with buses passing constantly. So having the high pitched ringing and a possible leak coming from inside the room were irritating. 

I contacted the hotel afterwards and have had two responses since - one from the reception desk, the other from corporate. The reception desk informed me that it was likely rain dripping off the roof which I would gladly accept as an excuse if it had been raining(!) It was dry for the entirety of our trip. Corporate is taking our complaint a little more seriously and is more in-line with the customer service you would expect from a Hilton.

Would I stay again? I absolutely loved the room and the hotel, but the room noises have put my guard up a little, and I fear coming back and having another sleepless night. Admittedly it could have been a isolated issue for that particular room or floor two, which may have since been resolved. Here's hoping. 

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