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“While it's surroundings echo of a more elegant past, it still welcomes you for a comfortable stay”

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Grange Clarendon Hotel
Ranked #517 of 1,076 Hotels in London
Reviewed 10 September 2017

The Clarendon is one of 16 Grange Group hotels in central London. The Clarendon is one of 7 Grange hotels located in former townhouses in Bloomsbury, very close to the British Museum.

The privately owned group of hotels has been in operation for at least 25 years and in addition to the Bloomsbury hotels, there are also Grange hotels near St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and in the City, Holborn, Fitzrovia and other Central London neighbourhoods.

However my first introduction to the Group’s hotels were their small hotels in Bloomsbury, of which I have stayed in most if not all over the past 4-5 years. My most recent stay, within the past two weeks was at the Clarendon for 3 nights.

In addition to the Bloomsbury area hotels being my first introduction to the Grange Group, these hotels also represent my impression of the group of hotels in general.

The Clarendon and the other Bloomsbury area Grange Hotels are located in what were formerly grand townhouse residences built in the early 1800’s. Some of these townhouses have interesting histories of their previous upper middle class owners or inhabitants including notable surgeons, solicitors, politicians, journalists and (according to rumour) one royal mistress.

All of them were clearly grand and dignified residences in their day. The townhouses continue to reflect the elegance and luxury style of this by-gone time.

However, just as members of older generations can sometimes appear somewhat puzzled by their current surroundings, environment and the activity going on around them, I sometimes think that these former grand homes suffer similar slight bewilderment at their current slightly fallen circumstances, including the purpose to which they have been put.

And just as the cuffs and colours of members of older generations can become a bit frayed or faded, so too have some of the details and adornments of these Grange hotels. They remain grand and dignified, but some of their veneers are a bit chipped and some of their outer layers are a bit worn and peeling.

But I think that gives them charms and all of that being said, I am a fan of the Grange Hotels.

The marketing material for the group of hotels describes them as “16 luxury 4* and 5* hotels”, each of which “boasts individual history and character, expertly combined with the highest standards of contemporary design, comfort and personal service, and an unrivalled array of facilities and services to suit the most discerning visitors.”

I realise what the job of a marketing department is, but I think that description is unfortunate and unfair.

I cannot argue that the hotels (almost) all have 4 and 5 star ratings. One (The Lancaster) is a 3 star, but for the life of me, I don’t know what the difference between their 3 and 4 star hotels is – which is a compliment not a criticism.

All of the hotels offer very dependable, consistent quality and very good value accommodation in hotels which are well located. That is why I picked The Clarendon for my most recent visit and that’s what I got when I stayed there. And I think that is the primary appeal of the hotels and their best marketing point. I know exactly what kind of stay I’m going to have whenever I go to stay at any of their 7 Bloomsbury hotels.

As with previous stays, the room I was given was on the slightly small side of current standards, but that’s because of where the hotels are and the kind of building it is.

The hallways are a bit rabbit warren’ish as you find your way around the unique plan of each of the hotels, while the rooms will be well furnished with solid, slightly old fashioned furniture that has been knocked around just a little bit. But that is entirely in keeping with the slightly old fashioned but solid surroundings in buildings that have suffered a few bumps and bruises over the years.

As on previous visits, the room décor was in colours and with fabrics that are traditional and go with the unchanged style of the buildings. The bed was comfortable, there were lots of pillows, the room was clean, the bathroom was modern and the water pressure and hot water supply did not and have never disappointed me.

The WiFi worked, and the TV remote didn’t defeat me.

My one pet peeve – I wish the rooms had small fridges for drinks and to keep ice.

In terms of other services, the breakfast that has also been included on previous visits and was again on this visit was entirely adequate and the buffet at which it is served was kept well stocked throughout the breakfast period (a welcome change from the frustrating practice encountered elsewhere of letting the buffet offering dwindle as the end of the breakfast period approaches, leaving a few slices of dried up cheese, unpopular flavours of yoghurt and a fruit salad selection which includes only bits of apple left by those who got the more choice ingredients).

The staff were consistently polite and helpful when asked to assist with fairly standard queries or issues.

My only mildly critical observation about the staff is that very few appear to be of a hospitable nature, which often assists those working in the hospitality industry. I always get the feeling that every query I pose is subject to a quick mental review against company rules and policies, which are VERY strictly adhered to (for reasons which I can imagine are sound and sensible). Some staff even carry with them an aura of being previously chastised for rule infractions that haunt them.

All of this does tend to leave one feeling that we are all considered to be a bit of a nuisance and that the operations of the hotel would work better if we just did what hotel guests are supposed to do, which is check in, go to our rooms and then check out.

But I don’t want to be unfair with this comment. As always, the staff were competent, professional and entirely appropriate in their conduct. I’m just not sure if they really mean it when they tell me to let them know if I have any questions or problems as they will be happy to help. I consider that offer to be as sincere as the recorded apologies that are played on an endless loop in many London area train stations which offer apologies for the delay in service and regret for any delays that may have occurred. I don’t buy it.

But even still, and just as everything else about the services provided and my satisfaction about my visit, the staff were dependable, consistent and completely satisfactory.

Now returning to the marketing description which I referred to earlier; in all of my 20-30 stays at various Grange Hotels over the past 4-5 years have I taken notice of “the highest standards of contemporary design, comfort and personal service”?

I’m afraid I have not. But I probably don’t keep up with contemporary design as much as some.

I also haven’t really been aware of the hotels offering “an unrivalled array of facilities and services to suit the most discerning visitors.”

So, I must call them out on this slight bit of hyperbolic overstatement – particularly when it is made in a market such as London’s that offers quite extraordinary levels of facilities and services at some of the city’s hotels which have international and historic reputations for their luxury. And particularly when they don’t really need to say this about what they offer.

So, I will go back to my earlier comment that their marketing message is unfortunate and unfair.

Because I think it is unfortunate and unfair to them – not to us, the guests.

I think that the Grange hotels do a very good job of what they do and they offer very good value for the price that I paid this time and every other time I have chosen a Grange Hotel.

But I don’t consider them to be a luxury range of hotels, in the context in which that is known in London – which I think is a VERY GOOD THING.

I don’t want a luxury hotel when I’m on the kind of trip that results in me choosing to stay at one of the Grange Group of hotels. It was not the reason I chose to stay at The Clarendon most recently for example. On these visits I’m not that kind of customer and I don’t have that kind of budget, or expectations - which I expect is probably the case for many others who chose the Grange Group.

I say all of this by way of a message to the owners of the Grange Group: Be proud of what you do at the Grange – as you do it very well. And that is a message I think you could more appropriately share.

My one tip for those looking to book a room with one of the Grange Hotels: do it on the company’s own website and not through other hotel booking websites. The prices are always equal or better on the company website and I have had endless problems with some of the hotel booking websites that currently operate with lost reservations, missing payments, refunds that are long delayed, customer service that does not meet the mandate of its name and a distant and uncaring approach to the problems they have caused. I don’t want to name names of my booking sites which I consider to be unsatisfactory, but one of them I previously used only when I needed a room at the "lastminute".

I hope all of these comments are helpful. I know that I will be returning to a Grange Hotel again soon – and I will look forward to that next visit.

Room Tip: Upper Floors, back of the building overlooking the private gardens is much quieter.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled solo
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank JRBrookes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nellie S, Guest Relations Manager at Grange Clarendon Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 13 September 2017

Wow! Thank you for your very comprehensive review. I don't have space here to respond to each of your comments however we are very pleased that you have chosen to stay with Grange Hotels regularly and look forward to welcoming you back many times in the future.

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3 - 7 of 550 reviews

Reviewed 7 September 2017

In London to see Celine Dion at the O2.great little hotel staff were very helpful and very friendly.The rooms were clean and comfortable if a little hot tea and coffee were available in the room with a good bathroom.the location was in a quite street near two tube station and plenty of cafe's and restaurants it's different from the large chain hotel's but is perfect for a short stay in London we did not eat in the hotel but great eateries near by.It's a bit of a trail if you are going to the O2but great for shopping and the sites of London.

Stayed: August 2017
Thank William r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nellie S, Guest Relations Manager at Grange Clarendon Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 13 September 2017

We are pleased you enjoyed your stay. We hope you will come back soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2017

We were in town for a couple of nights and stayed at this hotel, for the middle of London it was very quiet with little or no traffic noise which was a pleasant surprise. This hotel is ideal for sight seeing with Russell Square tube station just round the corner. We found all the staff very helpful nothing being too much trouble we enjoyed our stay here and would definitely stay here again, We had breakfast both morning and the choice was excellent.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Baggy_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nellie S, Guest Relations Manager at Grange Clarendon Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 13 September 2017

We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay and like many other guests are surprised at the quiet location of Russel Square despite being so centrally located in London. We hope that you will return soon.

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Reviewed 31 August 2017 via mobile

We have just returned from the Clarendon hotel / London - we had 3 different reception staff deal with us during our stay and all 3 were superb and couldn't do enough
The hotel is well placed for Russell Square tube station - or walk to Covent Garden and other local sights Trafalgar Square
We ordered room service one night - though there are slot of eating places nearby
Would certainly stay herd again - breakfast was also good

Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
Thank petejohn7722
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nellie S, Guest Relations Manager at Grange Clarendon Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 13 September 2017

We are very pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay and found our staff to be "superb". We very much look forward to the opportunity of welcoming you back in the future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2017

Stayed here for 2 nights as a group of 4. First time staying in the area and was delighted with how quiet the street was, with good travel links to the rest of the city. Rooms were okay, clean but not overly spacious, the temperature during our visit was in and around 28-30 degrees the whole time and we had no AC in either room which was badly needed, there was a fan but it didn't do too much to combat the temperature. Breakfast was okay, again nothing special but pleasant enough.

When I returned home after checking out I realised I had left my phone charger, I phoned the hotel and asked if they would be able to post it to me, no harm in asking? They said they would have a look and be in touch. I received a painfully detailed email regarding their lost property policy. Without boring anyone on here to death by reading it (3 pages) they explained that I needed to give them a detailed description of the item (fair enough) they also informed me I had to pay £8 for the handling and postage fee, also I had to pay by card over the phone and the fee for that would be £10, a grand total of £18 and the hassle involved to get myself a phone charger which cost £6, eh no thanks. Actually found it quite amusing, they can keep the charger, maybe they can sell it on and put the money towards some AC in the rooms :)

  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank meestawhips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nellie S, Guest Relations Manager at Grange Clarendon Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 13 September 2017

Thank you for your comments. Although I am pleased that you enjoyed your stay and liked the quiet area of the hotel, I regret your subsequent difficulties. Please note that the Grange Clarendon is a listed building and we have not been granted permission to instal air conditioning.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grange Clarendon Hotel

Address: 34-37 Bedford Place | Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5JR, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > London > Bloomsbury
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#275 Romantic Hotel in London
#320 Luxury Hotel in London
Price Range: ₹ 7,306 - ₹ 22,176 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Grange Clarendon Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 51
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Clarendon Hotel London

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