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With the 2012 Summer Olympics a little more than two years away, London is kicking tourism preparations into high gear – especially in the hotel industry. The recent opening of the 1,021-room, eco-friendly Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel (one of London’s largest) comes at a crucial time as the Northern European city looks to accommodate the influx of visitors.
THE LOCATION: Once a busy roundabout on London’s South Bank, traffic was re-routed to make way for the $523 million Park Plaza Westminster Bridge. The hotel’s desirable location and proximity to world-famous attractions such as Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, and River Thames make it a practical home base for travelers. In fact, many of the guestrooms offer unobstructed views of these spectacular sites (Big Ben’s illuminated reflection in the River Thames at night, visible from my suite on the eighth floor, was truly awe-inspiring).
THE DESIGN: The architectural design of Park Plaza Westminster Bridge is sleek and ultra-contemporary: a curved façade with colorful transparent glass panels jutting out from the building. This modern design continues throughout the inside of the hotel, from the clean-cut lines and dynamic color-changing lighting in the lobby, to the 37-inch LCD flat-screen televisions and separate tubs and glass-enclosed showers in the guestrooms.
Also integrated into the hotel’s digs are bedside lighting controls with dimmers, blackout curtains, international electrical outlets, and mini-bars with separate refrigerators.
THE AMENITIES: Park Plaza Westminster Bridge boasts top-notch amenities including two executive lounges and a 24-hour business center. The sumptuous spa, sauna, steam room, and 49-foot swimming pool are slated for completion this summer and will provide plenty of welcomed respite.
THE EATS: Whether you’re eating savory dishes at the Brasserie Joel restaurant, noshing on fresh sushi at the Ichi Sushi & Sashimi Bar, or sipping cocktails at the Primo Bar while listening to live entertainment, the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge’s chefs and bartenders won’t disappoint.
THE LOW-DOWN: If you want the personalized, congenial service of a boutique-style inn (think welcome letters formally addressed to you waiting on flat-screen televisions when you open the guestroom door) with big-hotel perks like a concierge, meeting space, and a pillar-free ballroom, then you and the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge are a match made in heaven.
For more information, visit www.parkplaza.com/london.
Check out our London Travel Guide for all the must-sees.