Some rooms have a view of the iconic Battersea Power Station.// © 2011 Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel & Spa
Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel & Spawww.pestana.com
The Pestana Group is expanding further with properties scheduled for Berlin in mid-2011, Miami early 2012, Morocco in mid-2012 and Angola in 2012.
The Pestana Group recently brought the flavors of Portugal to London's South Bank. The new four-star Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel & Spa opened on March 1 of last year and is the first European hotel for the brand outside of Portugal. Situated just outside the hustle and bustle of central London, the property stands as a part of the new Chelsea Bridge Wharf development, a combination of residential and office space.
"The Pestana Group has established its reputation based on 30-plus years of operating in the leisure and timeshare market, predominantly," said Lynette Esposito, sales and marketing executive of the Pestana Chelsea Bridge. "Our growth into major city locations -- such as London and Berlin, due to open mid 2011 -- recognizes the brand's intention to become a global player providing travelers with modern world-class hotels, combined with unique Portuguese service and hospitality."
The Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel offers 213 guestrooms in total, ranging from standard rooms and two-bedroom suites to Executive Club suites. Executive Club accommodations and one- or two-bedroom suites are located on a common floor that offers free wireless Internet access as well as access to the club lounge. There, guests will find complimentary hot American breakfast, nightly snacks and an honesty bar.
I chose to stay in a junior suite with a private balcony and a view of Battersea Park. While I had the suite all to myself, I could see how it would be ideal for guests traveling with children. The leather couch as well as a twin-size padded leather bench could easily convert into beds. The main bathroom features a shower and a separate bathtub complete with its own flat-screen television while the second bathroom, located off the living room, had its own shower.
The room design, with its mid-century modern meets whimsical chic decor, stood out. The color palette is simple with a heavy emphasis on white from the drapery and the convertible leather couch to the classic reproductions of Eames' Eiffel chairs and Arne Jacobsen's Egg chair. And, so guests won't forget where they are staying, playful over-sized photographs of London's iconic red phone booths and double-decker buses are hung throughout the living room and bedroom.
I spent my evening dining in the hotel's Atlantico Restaurant and Lounge where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served with an emphasis on Portuguese cuisine. For dinner, I sampled one of the restaurant's signature dishes, the bacalhau fritters, a delectable serving of salt-cod cakes dressed with salsa and served on a bed of wilted spinach. Clients should accompany their meals with one of the restaurant's imported Portuguese ports and wines. For a post-dinner night cap, I headed over to the hotel bar to enjoy the live music.
Other amenities include the Spa and Lifestyle Center, which is located on the basement level. The spa has a small indoor pool, gym, steam room, sauna, relaxation area and two treatment rooms.
For guests who want to workout without leaving the comfort of their rooms, the hotel offers guestrooms equipped with exercise bikes.
The Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel sits on the banks of the River Thames, accessible to the fashionable Sloane Square. The location offers easy access to buses and taxis, but entrances to the London Underground are a bit of a trek. However, to help guests get around town, the hotel offers daily shuttle services for about $5 per person from the hotel to Victoria Station, Harrods and Kings Road, among other locations. One side of the hotel faces Battersea Power Station, which was made world famous on the cover of Pink Floyd's 1977 "Animals" album. As mentioned, the hotel is adjacent to Battersea Park, a great amenity for guests traveling with children as it is home to a small zoo, sculpted gardens, a lake for boating and several all-weather outdoor sporting facilities, including tennis courts, a running track and soccer fields.