Arriving at The Pilgrm isn’t like checking into most hotels. There’s no official reception area and it’s easy to walk right past the hotel. Once you walk into the hotel lobby you also realize you’re in a coffee shop that operates out of the first floor the hotel’s lobby. Someone will greet you and ask a few questions before giving you your room key and directing you towards your room. Most of the check in process is done online before you arrive, so this saves a bit of time when you first arrive.
The restored mahogany staircase off the lobby leads to the second floor where the lounge is located. The lounge is also where the hotel offers their breakfast service. Based on the time of year you’re planning your stay at the Pilgrm you may get breakfast included in your stay. There’s three or four options, ranging from a traditional British breakfast with beans, eggs and sausage to avocados, eggs and feta. We spent seven nights at the Pilgrm, so we had plenty of opportunity to sample all the breakfast options. Our favourite was the continental option which included unlimited juice, granola, fresh baked goods, fruit and an assortment of cheese including apple wood smoked cheddar. For those pressed on time or if the service is busy, we’d recommend getting the continental as you can serve yourself and save a bit of time. Although, those avocado feta eggs are divine!
Even though the hotel is over 200 years old, there’s a fully functioning lift that makes the hotel somewhat accessible for those with mobility needs or those with large suitcases. We say somewhat accessible as using the lift won’t prevent you from using any stairs, just most of them.
Upon arriving at the room, you’ll probably be taken back by a few things: first the rooms are on the small side, and second is that the decor was well selected and put together. We ended up staying in both the medium and large size room during our trip, and the only noticeable difference was some extra ground space. The images on the website led us to believe that all large size rooms included a table and chair, and though we had a side table there was no chair. We spent the first four nights in the medium size room and the last three in the large size room, so we opted not to make a fuss about the absent chair – though in hindsight paying an extra £20-30 per night for a large size room wasn’t worth the upgrade. Granted, going from a double bed to a king bed was nice. Some highlights of the rooms are the bathrooms, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that frosting the glass door doesn’t provide each person using the loo with the full privacy they would get from having a solid door. Certainly this may not bother some travellers, but given the hotel accommodates friends and colleagues by offering bunk-bed style rooms it’s worth mentioning as each person’s comfort level varies.
Aside from the frosted glass doors, the bathrooms are magnificent. We loved the polished and reclaimed wooden floors, sleek white subway tile throughout and the powerful rain shower that got plenty of use during our stay. The other things we loved is the pantries that are located throughout the hotel. Guests are able to serve themselves tea or coffee any time of the day or night. Having a warm cup of tea with milk became our nightly bedtime ritual. The hotel is priced competitively, relatively speaking as London is an expensive city especially for those who like us had to convert our currency into pounds. The other perk to staying at this hotel is the convenience factor for international guests, as the Heathrow Express is only a fifteen minute train ride that drops riders off at Paddington station, conveniently located a few hundred feet away. For those looking for a quick and comfortable ride to their hotel, using the Heathrow Express might be pricey depending on when you buy your ticket (it’s best to buy as early as possible) but it’s also the fastest and easiest way to get into central London from Heathrow airport.
Overall, If you’re looking for a well thought out bespoke hotel geared towards professionals then this hotel might be for you, that is if you’re willing to sacrifice a few things. Other reviewers have called the Pilgrm “pretentious” and although we enjoyed our time at this hotel, we understand this point of view. The hotel tries very hard to create a specific experience as the owners focus very hard on creating an Instagram-able environment. The hotel has character, but where we felt it lacked character is in its staff – aside from the few genuine wonderful people we met. Having amazing decor and well thought out spaces is important, but what’s more important is hiring and maintaining staff that show genuine kindness and care for their guests. Our stay was fine, but next time we’re in London we probably will look for alternate accommodations. Though, we would most certainly come back for their breakfast service!