Technology In Action
Since it opened in 2011, Eccleston Square Hotel has been recognised by the world’s media as one of the most technologically advanced hotels in the world. In the five years that followed it has won a long list of industry and hospitality awards, but none as huge as November 2016’s announcement as Condé Nast Traveler’s Best Hotel in London. Eccleston Square Hotel subsequently came in as Conde Nast Traveler’s 8th Best Hotel in Europe and 15th in the world.
So, we at Fresh Montgomery decided these announcements warranted closer investigation. Just what kind of tech does it take to make it to the top of Conde Nast Traveler’s BEST hotel list?
Set on a very desirable residential square just a few steps away from London’s Victoria station, stand two very beautiful but subtly advertised, Grade II listed, Georgian Townhouses. One of which was once the palatial home of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter – the most favoured granddaughter, so it stands that Queen Victoria visited often. Just a few doors down lived Sir Winston Churchill too, so as you can already gather, this is no ordinary London Street.
Belying its historic exterior, indoors the young millennial owners have transformed it into a deceptively spacious, hi-class, boutique hotel. In 2010, Parisian siblings Olivia and James Byrne acquired numbers 36 and 37 Eccleston Square – in fact, Olivia was only 23 years old at the time, making her one of, if not the UK’s youngest ever directors to open and run a London hotel. It was then a dilapidated budget hotel called the Elizabeth, but nearly a year and a £6.5 million refurbishment later, Eccleston Square Hotel emerged offering what is clearly a decidedly brand new ‘hi-class’ London boutique hotel category.
Technologically advanced in every room, Eccleston Square Hotel confidently offers some of the most experience-enhancing hotel products and services that money can buy. Each room has a handmade Swedish Hästens massage bed. Retailing at well over £12,000 each, these beds are fully adjustable and have their own remote control and relaxing, vibrating massage settings – and are gift wrapped in the coolest, smoothest Italian bed linen.
Large Panasonic HD3D TV’s grace the walls of every bedroom and hyper responsive touch-pad controls by the bed do everything from closing the curtains, to illuminating the do-not-disturb sign. There are no awkward cardboard notices to hang on slippery doorknobs in this hotel. Aside the bed you will find your own complementary iPad2 to use during your stay – it includes a preloaded, slick butler and concierge app which makes ordering cocktails and room service dangerously easy. Also available through the app is a list of over 100 complementary 3D movies that are delivered tout-de-suite, accompanied by some very hi-tech 3D specs. Watching TV in bed has never been so glamorous. This app has so many advanced benefits; guests can make room service requests remotely from their tablet or smart phone so that services and products will be patiently waiting, at the selected time upon a guest’s return. There’s even a docking station menu for all manner of adapters and chargers, simply click onto the app to borrow one (complementary of course).
The newest addition to the hotel’s collection of services is a handy smart phone (in every room) which allows guests to make free calls to landlines and mobiles in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Canada (with unlimited free 3G). Yes, free calls. Abroad. And free roaming. Olivia Byrne says, “We’re making it even easier for guests to stay connected throughout their stay with us, regardless of whether they’re inside or outside of the hotel. Not only is the handset without cost to the guest, so are phone calls to selected countries and they also offer unlimited browsing. The phones can be used in the room or whilst the guest is roving around London. Gone are the days of ridiculous overcharging on phone calls.” Eccleston Square Hotel is one of the first hotels in London to be offering this service.
Some of the technical tweaks seem just so obvious. Like European, US and UK power points in every room – why are these not in all hotel rooms?
At Eccleston Square Hotel, there’s luxury even in the smallest of places. Marble bathrooms with underfloor heating are fitted with the ultimate shower experience, and SmartGlass walls offer touchable privacy by turning bathroom walls transparent/opaque at the touch of a switch; and there are televisions hidden in the steam-free bathroom mirrors.
But, the truth is whilst it’s brilliant at being technologically advanced, Eccleston Square Hotel’s luxuries and unfussy, calm décor appeal to all who have an appetite for design and quality. Not just fans of tech. And besides, the owners are more than happy for you to use the phone for room service too, or like the other gregarious guests at the hotel, you can pop down and chat to the real-life staff.
One of the most unique aspects of Eccleston Square Hotel is its accessibility to the private, residential Eccleston Square Gardens. Back in the day, these gardens were filled with elite residents, connected royals and high-society celebrities like Oscar Wilde. Today, they are still strictly for residents of the square (and hotel guests), there’s a tennis court, dappled shade and many picnic spots – ultimately it’s a calm, botanical oasis away from the prying eyes and stimulation of this capital city. Quite miraculous given this hotel is in the heart of central London!
London’s capital city has no shortage of hotels, but Eccleston Square Hotel competes with ease, thanks to its warm hospitality, keen attention to detail and convenient in-room technology. So, what could be next in the pipeline for Europe’s most technologically advanced hotel?
“We’re working on another world first,” says Olivia with friendly glint in her eye. But she’s not giving us any hints of exactly what that is just yet…
Eccleston Square Hotel is at 37 Eccleston Square, London, SW1V 1PB.