For 150 years, the Cafe Royal has always been regarded as one of the finer places to reside in London. With its central location and luxury feel it has welcomed some of the worlds most well known faces through its doors. In fact on the hotels home page it proudly name drops some of its customers.
Oscar Wilde, Muhammad Ali, Winston Churchill, David Bowie, David Chipperfield and Albert Adrià.
A fine list of names no doubt. However, these names listed were also shared by another gold standard service; the London taxi trade.
Before the hotels much needed revamp not long ago the hotel and taxi trade worked in perfect harmony to deliver on high customer expectations. However, after over 140 years it's alleged that the relationship has turned sour. Taxi drivers have taken to social media to complain about their treatment with allegations ranging from touting, bungs, misquoting taxi prices and even refusing entry to drivers into the hotel.
TaxiPoint asked Cafe Royal whether they were available to comment, but have not responded.
This leaves each taxi driver in a difficult situation, especially when the aged old question is asked by the punter on board; Where are the top hotels and restaurants?
Sadly now we can't include Cafe Royal in an ever increasing list of more trendy and star filled hotspots. The hotel, it seems, has gone down the lower quality self profiteering route instead of offering unrivalled service. If their focus on transport for customers is compromised by the lure of taking a small percentage off a less qualified and non-iconic vehicle, then what other corners are they cutting?
Taxi drivers are often described as ambassadors for London where visitors know they'll get an accurate and honest account of the city. Only recently I had a young lady onboard curious what London has to offer. She mentioned she was staying at Cafe Royal on business, but had a couple of days to herself after meetings.
We got chatting about the hotel and she asked, as most do who are new to London, what their reputation was like. I was honest and warned her not to be ripped off by any quotes given. She was shocked, but also thankful for the advice.
Reluctantly, after years of loyal service, this won't be last time I or other cabbies have to have the same conversation.
So what does the future hold for this long standing loyalty? TaxiPoint would be keen to hear your views and experiences on the topic.