This month, Mike Fletcher visits Clayton Hotel Chiswick in West London and receives a warm Irish welcome from a relatively undiscovered conference hotel
My research when visiting venuefinder.com member hotels often amounts to asking the taxi driver en route what they know about the property.
In my defence, I like to keep an open mind and discover each hotel for myself, rather than go with a preconceived view based on leisure reviews or PR spiel.
However, as we drove up the A4 towards the Hammersmith flyover, before turning back onto Chiswick High Road by the Saudi Embassy, my cabbie’s tales of the Moran hotelier family turned out to be several years out-of-date.
In December 2014, Irish hotel group Dalata, completed a €450million takeover of the Moran family-owned hotel group. It then launched an ambitious strategy to rebrand, invest and open 20 Clayton Hotels across both the UK and Ireland.
One of the key beneficiaries of this plan by Ireland’s largest hotel operator was undoubtedly Clayton Hotel Chiswick.
As we pulled up outside, my driver had to not only acknowledge that he’d not seen the multimillion pound meetings and event space extension before, but also that ‘the whole place looked a lot different’.
Clayton Hotel Chiswick’s dedicated events building was part of a £21million hotel makeover.
It was completed in February 2016 and has its own separate entrance and foyer area, eight meeting rooms, (all with flexible layout options and impressive A/V), an outdoor garden terrace, plus a 250sqm ballroom that can accommodate up to 350 delegates theatre-style or be divided for bespoke flexibility. An all-inclusive daily delegate rate of £75 per person is in place for 2018.
The property’s 227 bedrooms have also benefitted from the refurbishment. I stayed in one of 74 Executive Rooms, complete with amenities for the business traveller such as Euro sockets and USB points as well as free Sky Movies. There’s also 147 Deluxe Rooms and six impressive King Executive Rooms.
It’s not just the way an hotel looks that’s important to event organisers though is it? It’s also how it feels and this is where Clayton Hotel Chiswick is perhaps unique, certainly in London.
Despite a few subtle clues, such as the availability of the Irish Times newspaper, you wouldn’t necessarily know that this London four-star conference hotel was Irish-owned. You certainly feel it however.
Emerald Isle hospitality runs through the veins of Clayton Hotel Chiswick. You feel it in the friendliness and professionalism of staff, the freshly roasted coffee brewing at the end of the bar, the Friday night live music, and the gargantuan breakfast spread on offer.
Regrettably, I couldn’t over indulge at breakfast as I’d enjoyed the hotel’s Grill Restaurant the night before and was still feeling rather full. The Grill has an informal a la carte area as well as a more private dining section, so is perfect for groups.
Leaving Clayton Hotel Chiswick, I opted for the two-minute walk to Gunnersbury tube station rather than risk more mis-informed taxi driver chatter. It did strike me though that a high-quality conference hotel with a large capacity ballroom, this close to Heathrow should have a higher profile - not necessarily with taxi drivers but certainly with event planners.
I guess that’s where I come in. Pay Clayton Hotel Chiswick a visit. It’s high time this Irish gem stopped being such a well-kept West London secret.
Article by Mike Fletcher