For a family who has our own holiday home - we stay in hotels in England pretty frequently and so, for the most part, I know what I'm looking for in a hotel that I like. I'm a total princess when it comes to staying in somewhere that isn't my home; it's not that it needs to be posh - but it does need to be clean, smell nice and generally if it even vaguely makes me feel like I'm staying in Bates Motel, you can guarantee I'm going to flip my lid and refuse to stay there. So, when I realised we had just gotten to London and I hadn't actually seen The Darlington Hyde Park, I was nervous. I didn't know what to expect, and I'd never visited Sussex Gardens to try and figure out what I thought it was likely to be like, but I have to say that I was pretty pleasantly surprised.
At most, The Darlington is around ten minutes walk from Paddington Tube Station (which turned out to be an issue because Paddington is off on some lines, but I can't really blame that on the hotel, and there's ways around it) and I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sussex Gardens was around 5 minutes from Hyde Park and was a road of mainly hotels in grand houses with a lot of cute greenery and so on. When we went in we went into a very large, very full reception and were quickly greeted by staff and allocated a room on the ground floor (considering the sheer volume of people within the reception area, we were really pleasantly surprised by how quickly we were greeted and fixed up with a room). It's worth mentioning as well that although check in time was officially 2pm, we checked in at 1:30pm with no issues at all; you might not always be able to do that, but you can leave your luggage I believe and so it might be worth a cheeky try if you go to stay.
We had a room that housed four people and I was surprisingly keen on how the room was set out - instead of being one large room, this has a small (although quite dark) hallway, with one double room and one twin room off to either side and a spacious bathroom straight ahead. In contrast to the hallway, the rooms either side are bright and spacious - both have flat screen TV sets and a chair - the beds are comfortable although they do have those rustly, waterproof bottom sheets. They're clean, and everything is fresh but the bottom sheets just make it seem as though it's a lot more budget than the rest of the atmosphere suggests.
The bathroom was clean, spacious and provided toiletries, which I always really like. However; there were some downfalls of the hotel; the rooms seemed to be the wrong way around, the twin being considerably bigger than the double room - however, as I stayed in the twin I can't say that I was mad about this. Another downfall however, was that all of the drinks were in one room - this just made it impractical in the morning whilst people were sleeping etc, and it would be nice to have two seperate trays, one in each room. Each room had a safe, although one of ours was broken, and there is a small fridge in the twin room that we had to share between the two rooms. These aren't huge issues - but they are niggly little things that I feel could be easily fixed to make the whole experience seem much more fluent. One thing that is worth noting is that you are staying in an old house, and so when people are moving around you then you can hear them the same as if you were in your own house at home - again, not a decider, but worth noting.
All in all - I liked the hotel; but it wasn't cheap. It was better than a Premier Inn, however it also came with a considerably higher price tag at around £207 per night (and that was a Sunday, so I imagine that it'd be considerably higher at the weekend). The breakfast for the four of us was included, and they were attentive and breakfast was easily changed to suit each of us; and the whole experience was very pleasant but it is worth knowing that it does come at a price we're not used to in the North. Having said that, this hotel is in a good position - away from the hustle and bustle but only a five minute walk from Hyde Park and a ten minute walk from Marble Arch. I'd definitely stay here again, but I'd keep an eye out for some lower prices, I think personally.