The unremarkable exterior of the new Park Plaza London Waterloo gives no clues as to what awaits the visitor inside. A former government building, its serious, grey façade is far from unusual in London.
Step through the revolving doors, however, and you are transported to what could almost be the check-in desk at a tasteful nightclub in the Balearics. Bass-heavy house music plays, while black marble floors twinkle in the disco-lit foyer. Bright-yellow leather chairs, which look as if they have been taken from the driver’s seat of a Lamborghini, are positioned next to an outsized statue of Buddha. The eclectic, European feel instantly transports you somewhere altogether more stylish.
“The design inspiration has been led by our Andy Warhol-themed Art’otel in Berlin,” says Aleksandra Riauka, Park Plaza London Waterloo’s meeting and events sales manager. “It has a young, contemporary feel and the low lighting allows our visitors privacy while walking around the hotel.”
Riauka waves at two concierge managers behind the sleek curved desk, who both grin warmly back. “We’re a new hotel, but already there is a strong team emerging,” she says.
Cosmopolitan meeting spaces
A stone’s throw from Lambeth North underground, with easy access to Waterloo Station, and less than 10 minutes’ walk from Westminster Bridge, the hotel’s location couldn’t be better for a London meeting.
One of the most attractive things about the hotel’s conference and events space is that it is completely self-contained, and placed directly next to the reception desk. This means that visiting delegates can easily navigate straight to their conference as soon as they’re through the front door.
The main conference room can seat 164 theatre-style, or 150 for dinner. Again, the space feels cosmopolitan and ultra-modern; the walls and carpet have a map motif, overlaid with binary code. With six breakout rooms available, there are plenty of ways to play an event.
“What makes our offering particularly attractive is that our delegate rate includes all WiFi and audiovisual facilities, and unlimited soft drinks. Not all hotels offer this and I think it makes us extremely good value for money,” says Riauka.
Meetings with a view
On the 12th floor there is a rooftop area available for hire, with stunning views that make the most of the hotel’s proximity to the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.
“For our press night, journalists were invited to our rooftop area, where we had a well-known DJ playing tunes while cocktails and canapés were served,” says Riauka.
Also on this level is the hotel’s Executive Lounge, where business class guests can meet, eat and relax in privacy. Also available to book for events, the lounge has its own bar, concierge service and smoking area. With sweeping panoramas of the London skyline, it makes an exciting place to do business.
Most of the bedrooms also have spectacular views of the city, while a lot of thought has evidently gone into their fixtures and fittings. From the book on artist Claude Monet to the funky 3D letter artwork, the space has a creative and youthful atmosphere.
Bathrooms have sliding screens that can be used in combination to give you varying levels of privacy. A fresh, citrusy colour scheme of lemon yellow and lime green is paired with more industrial touches, such as the old-fashioned pair of scales peeking out from under the sink.
As you’d expect in a brand-new property, technology plays a big part in maintaining guests’ comfort. A control pad of buttons on both sides of the bed lets users adjust a variety of lighting and heating combinations to tailor the ambience to their mood.
Food is something that is taken very seriously at the Park Plaza London Waterloo. The hotel’s food and beverage team is already making a reputation for itself thanks to the quality and range of its delicious delegate lunches.
“The one thing that our visitors always comment on is the food,” smiles Riauka. “We pride ourselves on using fresh and seasonal ingredients.”
The hotel’s street-level, brasserie-style restaurant, Florentine, has also made a splash in the local area, already garnering a 4.4 star rating from the London dining public on Google reviews. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant’s highlights include its namesake, eggs Florentine, and the hearty 220g rib-eye steak. A Tuscan sausage, Stilton and rocket flatbread makes a tasty evening snack.
With 454 bedrooms, compared to nearby Park Plaza Westminster’s 1,019, the scale of the hotel’s eateries and reception rooms feel relatively cosy and intimate for such a large, big-brand property.
Take a break
After enjoying the dizzying heights of the Park Plaza London Waterloo’s rooftop spaces and rooms, visitors can indulge in a relaxing dip in the underground swimming pool. In keeping with the contemporary vibe of the hotel, the pool is a windowless cube of white panels covered in shades of pink and turquoise. Sunloungers face into this eternal sunset, and it’s hard to imagine a more relaxing place to lie down after a spa treatment.
No Park Plaza property would be complete without its spa, and the signature treatment at the Mandara Spa is the warm bamboo massage, which releases and soothes tense, knotty muscles by rolling heated bamboo stalks over the skin.
For guests who prefer to unwind with an intense workout after a busy day of brainstorming, the Park Plaza London Waterloo offers a personalised workout data service. By using their room keys in the gym machines, guests can record their fitness stats, including personal bests, save their settings for next time and keep track of their time increasing (or not!) on the treadmill.
Reluctantly leaving the Mandara Spa and its soothing sounds of trickling water and tinkling wind chimes, guests can stop off for a coffee at the hotel’s in-house Illy Caffè. For a drink with a twist, The Illycrema, a mocha-iced gelato, ticks all the right boxes. A mix between a drink and an ice cream, it’s best to use a spoon.
As more and more millennials reach managerial positions in the travel and events industry, and look for venues that offer something a little bit different, Park Plaza London Waterloo is perfectly positioned to meet the brief of ‘professional yet memorable’.
Travelling to Park Plaza London Waterloo
- By train: The hotel is situated near Waterloo mainline and underground stations, and Lambeth North on the Bakerloo Line.
- By road: There is no on-site parking for guests, so the hotel recommends using a professional valet parking service. The nearest car park is provided by U-Park and costs roughly £45 a day.
- By air: Forget the Gatwick Express and take a Southern Rail train from Gatwick Airport to Waterloo via Clapham Junction station in 40 minutes. Rail connections from Stansted, Luton and Heathrow take around 90 minutes and will involve the underground. To work out which London airport is best for business travellers, read our expert guide.
Looking for a central London venue? You could also try Radisson Blu Edwardian, Bloomsbury Street or the characterful Hilton London Bankside. Or contact the team at Capita Travel and Events to find the perfect hotel for a business trip, meeting or event.