That dreadful feeling when u search every bag 2 brush ur teeth (after a fabulous dinner @TheAthenaeum ) & realise ur toothrbushes r missing!— Travel With Bender (@TravelwitBender) July 26, 2014
Less than 15 minutes after I wrote this on Twitter there was a knock on our hotel room door. We were expecting our room service dessert so Josh excitedly jumped up and answered it.
There was no food, instead a young man with an outstretched arm.
“You need this?” was all he said before handing my husband a dental kit. Josh closed the door stunned, mouth opened in awe.
After 2.5 weeks of free accommodation in London, we were looking forward to saying goodbye with a bang and The Athenaeum seemed to have it all. From the moment we booked the gold-class service already started flowing.
Weeks before we were due to arrive I received an email from The Athenaeum in my inbox asking me to fill in a survey. When I clicked through to the link they asked me questions like what was my kids favourite snacks? Would they prefer a Nintendo Wii or PlayStation? Is it okay to deliver milk and cookies in the evening?
I was gobsmacked, and it wasn’t to be the last time either.
Our check-in went very smoothly and reception accompanied us to our apartment behind the hotel lobby. We were led up a flight of stairs to a gorgeous, spacious one-bedroom apartment.
The kids were over the moon when they realised the spare couch in the corner of the living room turned into a bunk bed. I had to admit, I found this pretty darn impressive to.
Quality furnishings, the widest bed I’ve ever seen, an equipped kitchen filled with complimentary mini bar snacks and drinks, a beautiful dining table, a large bouquet of fresh roses and even a stuffed pet dog which Caius loved cuddling. A few minutes later a delivery of board games, Wii games and an afternoon snack of apples arrived. An hour or so later, milk and cookies.
The bed must have been made to fit the room, because while it was very wide, it seemed slightly short. Initially Josh had trouble sleeping in it, but we easily cured that by sleeping sideways.
Wi-Fi was fast and stable, which is something that’s important for us, and it was complimentary (which isn’t always the case in luxury hotels, ironically). There was a convenient business centre near the lobby for when we needed to print last-minute boarding passes.
We played Wii for a while during which my kids started beating me at Super Smash Bros. And it was only their first time playing! I must be out of touch! We played Connect 4. The London indoors became as much a family bonding fun as our preceding weeks outdoors.
We headed to the hotel restaurant at about 6pm for dinner. Shall I let the food do the talking? These were a couple dishes over the 2 dinners we enjoyed there.
Yes, it was a food fantasy – fine dining at it’s best. Refined, elegantly designed dishes executed with precision. During dinner our two kids, who were most excited about the bunk bed, begged to go to sleep in our hotel room. That doesn’t happen very often. The staff at the restaurant were so kind as to let us finish our third course in the hotel room and we asked them to wait for an hour before sending it up so we could get the kids to sleep, before indulging in our decadent desserts in peace and quiet.
Breakfast was also a fancy affair with the choice of the continental buffet and/or a cooked breakfast. How long had it been since I had enjoyed eggs benedict? And the staff responded so kindly when I requested asparagus to be served with it – no request was too big or too small.
The continental breakfast was not the typical limited choice. There were freshly baked muffins, perfect pastries, numerous varieties of fruit, cereals, fresh honeycomb and even a crème fruit brulee – that felt naughty!
Oh, and I did mention the complimentary in-room mini bar with soft drinks, juices, water, coffee, chocolate, and chips. Nice. Alcohol was extra.
Especially For Families
During our stay at The Athenaeum we spent a lot of time indoors playing the Wii, board games and eating. Nannies are available for hire if you want a night out, or to see a theatre performance perhaps.
Inside the built-in wardrobe were 4 fluffy bathrobes, 2 adult-sized and 2 child-sized, which the kids loved dressing up in – complete with slippers.
The hotel also provided kites and bird food, so that we could cross the road to Green Park, skipping and singing, “Let’s go fly a kite” as loudly and boisterously as the kids on Mary Poppins.
Caius wasted no time and lost his ball to the lake that day and we all learnt a valuable lesson about materialism. But the park was beautiful, with plenty of shade, tranquil lakes and views of Buckingham Palace at one end and the London Eye at the other.
As described above, I tweeted about my missing toothbrush. And just a few minutes later was rewarded with a knock and a dental kit by a staff member. On a Saturday night. Yes, I know.
I was so miserable about my electric toothbrush missing, but that one act of service had me on a high for the rest of the night. I was so impressed that I knew I would be shouting the praises of the Athenaeum for a long time.
Can you imagine? The Athenaeum ruined me with their magnificent 5 star service like the ticklish torture of a toddler. I can never look at Twitter the same. From the friendly hello of the helpful doorman, to the wait staff in the restaurant, everything was flawless. For outstanding service, pure luxury and social media savvy-ness, it’s clear The Athenaeum deserves an A+.
Reader Comments..."I respond to every comment by direct private email. I look forward to your feedback" - Josh Bender
Visiting London a few times a year, I've stayed at the Athenaeum many times in their regular rooms and loved it. The service is just as top notch as you had in the apartments. Their apartments are fantastic for long stays and with family as you see making it hard to leave. The location across from Buckingham Palace and St. James's Park is wonderful and coming back to the doorman's happy welcome was 5 star spoiled! I have great memories of my stays there.and it seems you do too!
I've stayed at the Athenaeum many times visiting London - the regular rooms are just lovely and the service 5 star boutique - I love interacting with the doormen who welcomed me back with a smile each time
Wow. That hotel looks amazing! Those folding out bunks are an awesome idea. And don't get me started on the dessert..... drool!
Wow that sounds awesome and looks absolutely amazing. What wonderful service! I can't believe they were so on the ball with your tweet. The room looks divine and so does the desert! Over the years we have stayed at quite a few hotels in Europe that have treated our children very poorly and as a result have been resorting to apartments. So glad to hear there is an alternative! Enjoy your stay!
Gorgeous!! The food looks incredible! What a cute shot of Mia and Caius!! I would love to stay there!
WOW this looks absolutely fantastic! So impressed at them anticipating your every need!!! And the food looks to die for! I know where I'm spending my time in London!
Oh now that looks wonderful! You know my husband is a 5 star chef, well that's the sort of food and accommodation we've become accustomed to over the years. It's a wonderful thing, but I'm just as happy with my backpack and guest houses. So glad they picked up on your Tweet, that's incredible service, really outstanding.
Thank you for your wonderful review! We are delighted that you felt so at home with us, and it is wonderful to hear that you had quality family time together. We look forward to welcoming you back to your London home again soon ....
Oh, we are going to have to check this out next time we are in London. I want to be treated like that! It looks amazing and the customer service sounds wonderful! That is cool about your toothbrush. I would have been stunned too.
I want to stay there so badly! What a superb experience and the hotel really looks amazing. We had so much trouble earlier this year booking a hotel in London, but for the next time I know where to look. By the way, that dessert room service looks so good...
Sounds fabulous...and amazing service. Nice to hear about.
What an impressive and cool Twitter story. The downside of which will be the temptation of guests and travel bloggers who read about it to tweet something and see if the hotel sorts it out ...:) The food really does speak for itself and the whole experience looks absolutely superb.
It's the little things like that Twitter interaction that can really set a luxury hotel apart from the rest. Costs them (next to) nothing and yet what an impact! The good looks delicious - as you say, the photos speak for themselves :)
What a place! And I love bunk beds for kids in hotels :) And the customer service is just beyond awesome :)
Now I need to go to London just to stay here! Looks like the Athenaeum thought of everything especially when catering to families.
What beautiful pictures. That looks like a place I would love to visit.
The place looks beautiful and that foods looks amazing! Looks like your family had a wonderful stay.
I am seriously floored by the level of service here! What attention to detail! Would certainly love to stay here ourselves next time we're in London. Hope the cookies and milk aren't just for the kids. ;)
I have heard about this hotel but never knew anyone that stayed there. Your experience is quite incredible and the photos make it look lush. It is great to see a lesser known London hotel delivering what any hotel should be capable of! I shall investigate next time I'm up!
Wow, that is 5 start service, looks nice and the mini bar, that spells trouble for someone like me. Great post
What a fabulous experience! They are really listening! And that mini bar...
That hotel sounds so amazing! I think I might just have to stay there myself the next time I am in London! :)
I am fascinated by the way hotels are using SM in such creative ways. This one has to be right at the top. What customer service! And the food....nice coverage, it looks like a great spot.
Oh my god, that lamb looks irresistible. What a beautiful place. I'm heading to London soon so will definitely keep this in mind.
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