In Review

The Westminster review: a rather enjoyable modern hotel in London

With its splendid location, this is a comfortable base to explore the best of the capital

The Westminster is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection and it is, indeed, a curio. While many visitors to London are no doubt lured by the joys of Mayfair and the West End, The Westminster’s ’hood puts up a pretty persuasive case as well. 

It’s a minute’s walk from the River Thames (and some rooms have spectacular views of the water). It’s less than half a mile from Tate Britain. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey are all within a mile. Pimlico Station is a quick stroll away, and the Victoria Line will take you to the centre of town or to the eclectic joys (and burgeoning food scene) of Brixton, depending on your mood and interests. It’s also located just around the corner from Tufton Street so, depending on your political leanings, you can go and pat Boris Johnson’s team on the back or flick the Vs from the other side of the road…

The Westminster Suite at The Westminster Hotel in London

The Westminster Suite

Hilton

Why come here? 

Well, aside from the splendid location – you can also walk to Soho in about 30 minutes if you feel so inspired – The Westminster is a rather enjoyable modern hotel. The beds are comfortable, the bathrooms simple and efficient, Facilities are excellent – and are still being regularly tweaked to keep the gradually returning crowds happy – and the design makes subtle nods to the more secretive side of government life, and close neighbours MI5 and 6. There are spy references and eye motifs, themes I didn’t notice until sales and marketing director Joost Overwijk points them out on a grand tour of the facilities. 

There’s a well-appointed gym (on the top floor with remarkable views at the time of my visit, but there are plans to place it elsewhere) and excellent conference rooms, with state-of-the-art technology and, again, given the neighbours, great consideration to safety and security. 

The hotel is home to the Westminster branch of STK

The hotel is home to the Westminster branch of STK

Hilton

Eating and drinking

The Westminster is home to two restaurants: Bao Yum (breakfast, lunch and dinner baos, plus salads, soups and sandwiches); and a branch of vaguely infamous modern steakhouse-cum-nightclub STK. The former is a fun, solid performer and something a little different for a hotel of this ilk, the latter is… well, search STK and you’ll find all sorts of opinions, from its not-terribly-well-received “female friendly” marketing approach, to ebullient praise for its sourcing and grilling abilities. 

On our visit to STK, ironically, the demographic is decidedly young and, yes, female-heavy, and the cocktails, expensive sparkling wines and DJ are clearly ticking boxes. Our meal is something of a mixed bag, where difficult things are done brilliantly, and the simple things considerably less so. The “Lil’ Brgs” are annoyingly monikered but a plate of excellent sliders. Calamari is superb: crisp on the outside, soft within, and accompanied by an unapologetically spiced sauce. 

The main event steak – a “Zabuton”, a Japanese cut of chuck, from between the shoulder blade and back rib – is defined with efficiency by the charming front-of-house staff, and cooked to perfection by their grill-based colleagues. Chips are also first rate. Creamed spinach, however, is the single worst side dish I’ve ever been served in a restaurant. Watery, bitter, completely inedible and the “cream” separating to an extent we wonder if they’ve used oat milk by mistake. Still, the apology is genuine, the rest is very, very decent indeed, so we’ll assume it’s an anomaly. 

Inside the lobby at The Westminster hotel in London

Inside the lobby at The Westminster

Hilton 

What to do…

Wander the river. Congratulate or swear at passing MPs. Visit the Tate. Tour Westminster Abbey. Say hello to Her Majesty… The Westminster is a comfortable base for the best of London, frankly, and with Victoria station so close, the best of southern England as well. 

The Westminster, 30 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4DD; hotelwestminster.co.uk 

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