May 17, 2021

Review: 41684 Heartlake City Grand Hotel


Stay at the new Heartlake City Grand Hotel during your favorite season!


Let's check in and explore all the amenities ...


We begin like any hotel -- with the Bellhop and Luggage cart. Stephanie is the Bellhop who greets guests out by the lovely Fountain. The white 3x3 bricks with 1/4 arch and cutout are rare; in only 3 other sets since introduced in 2020.
A pet treat goes in the brown briefcase, and the "I Love HLC" postcard goes in the green suitcase -- then on the cart.


A closer look at Stephanie shows the details of her new-for-2021 dark red bellhop uniform with gold accents and subtle back print gathers. She has her hair pulled up in a ponytail; although it's her same cool yellow color, it's actually a hard plastic hair piece.


The rest of bag 1 parts build the bottom left front corner of the hotel, using a newly recolored in light pink wall panel (also 2 other rare and recolored parts in light pink that we also get in the next bag).
Architectural details are already plentiful and interesting -- which will continue and impress.


River is new-for-2021 in mini-doll form with a nice dark grey tuxedo type jacket with pale grey vest and gold bow tie. He also has back print and nougat skin tone, like Olivia -- and Amelia, who is arriving soon. His hair piece is hard plastic in the same style as Andrea's dad, Martin, yet is newly recolored in dark brown.

He's a regular character in the Friends show episodes, although in animated form, his hair has more of a light brown close-cut sides and back. Still, I think this is a nice representation of him.


A poodle comes in bag 2 as well. Blue eyes and Teal collar version also appeared in Doggy Daycare. Based on the box art, this may be Amelia's pet, Zoe.


Now back to building the bottom floor right corner section; it's an identical reverse of what we already built. All 3 of these light pink parts come in both bags. I didn't photograph the 1x1x3 brick (rare since 2020, only in a Classic box) and 1x2x5 brick (newly-recolored for2021) when I opened bag 1 because, quite frankly I didn't realize we hadn't had them in Friends sets before!
I am very happy to have them. Whenever I build in pink, I rarely have enough to create what I want.


Next we connect these two sections and install the revolving door.


The front is looking like a hotel already.


Next Emma and Amelia arrive in ball gowns. This is a new dress for Emma, with her upper bodice design wrapped around to back print.
Amelia wore a gown to the Movie Theater opening, which is the same as this one, except the front gold diamond array print is new and unique to this set.


Next with bag 3 we build the Lobby items separately. An old fashioned rotary-dial telephone next to the front desk reservation computer with money vault for the check-in area. The grey 2x2 box bottom (design id 59121) that is hollow and a tile can attach as a lid is rare -- only otherwise in NinjaGO City Gardens -- and here it gets a Recycle sticker.
The Fireplace is classic with grey scroll bricks and adorned with a golden frog!


The Grand Piano for a Grand Hotel is black. It has dark purple upper sharp and flat keys, and music sheet stickers. It's a very solid design that has a plate under the foot pedals, so we don't need 2 more gold legs.


Everything installed into the Lobby, along with 2 support columns with Lights. Bag 3 spares include a useful grey 1x1 with handle (bar) and candle flame.


With the Lobby done, we build the Guest Bedrooms. Bag 4 builds the one with bright yellow bedspread -- which we build separately then install. The 1x1x3 brick is newly recolored in earth blue for 2021 and in several sets.

Then we add a wall between the bed and the bathroom with a lovely sticker (sticker #1) that still allows light through.


Before I get to the next Guest Room we build with bag 5, I want to quickly show the awesome design of the front fluted columns. Since a whole piece as such doesn't exist (only in smooth), we use these white Technic cross axle parts to build them. They sit onto the scroll bricks and clip to grey inkwell piece. I love them!


This Guest Room has a dark purple bedspread. Now you can see the front columns with a different perspective -- some fluted, some smooth.


Next we add the 2 guest rooms to the hotel. Now we know it's not a Modular structure; we finish the center hallway that connects the 2 rooms. Then add rooftop items -- which will be the Penthouse Suite.
The Jacuzzi tub is built separately with a newish white 4x2 oval tile (first appeared in Storybooks) then gets a bubbling water sticker. We've prepped for the rest of the Penthouse bathroom with aqua and pink floor tiling.

The table legs are rare Aqua 1x2x2 wall with cutout that first appeared in Elsa and Anna's Adventure Storybook.


The rest of bag 6 parts are added: Hotel sign, balcony, doors, row of roof slopes and rooftop gold railing.


The gorgeous Parisian style rooftop is added with bag 7 parts. I loved building the latticed dormer window section that we build separately then install so much, that I've inset an image of one. Just wonderfully fun and beautifully inspiring!

This is the front of the finished Heartlake City Grand Hotel. It's wonderful as is -- yet wait -- there's more ... bag 8 builds an outdoor area, then we get 3 more bags of decorating parts to create a scene in Spring/Summer, Autumn, or Winter. This is such an amazing aspect that let's change our hotel with the Seasons.


The bed in the Penthouse suite uses newly recolored in Teal 2x4x2/3 plate with bow parts.

Before we see which season will be first, we put a soda can in the recycle bin by the front reception desk. We get a spare of the printed electronic keypad tile that is used on the Penthouse Suite's door.


The outdoor area with trees and seating by a table is what bag 9 parts build. It's a nice basic section for changing out with seasons. The trees are good designs with 1x2 plates with angle bar (hook) to attach the branches. Larger branches stay better on the hooks than just a stud, yet are also easy enough to remove to add flowers or leaves.


First up is Spring/Summer parts in bag 9. On the left is one of the lime green flower pots from the hotel's entry; this is how they are decorated when added there. The red flower on a leaf is how the fountain is decorated.
The water fountain is flowing, the bird is singing, and we have Lunch of sandwiches and cupcakes. The Lounger is a clever design with an umbrella attached.
All the rest of the parts encircling the extra Ladybug tile belong to decorating the Hotel, or are spares. Even though the instructions show how to decorate -- it's really up to the builder.

The box front has it decorated with Spring/Summer flowers and activities (see below).


Autumn is up next: the lime green pots that flank the front entrance's red carpet get yellow and orange flowers. The small tree limb/branches are newly recolored in dark orange for this set.

The pumpkins also adorn the hotel, except for the one attached to the Lavender plate. Orange leaves will also decorate the larger front Fountain. This small fountain is trans orange -- which is typical of Autumnal fountain water from all the colored leaves residue. A resident squirrel hangs out by the table with hot dogs and apples.
A pink umbrella is also in bag 10, and the rest of the parts either go to decorate the hotel building itself, or are extras.


Winter gives us white "snow-covered" flowers for the green front entrance pots using newly recolored for 2021 in white flower stems.  A sled for guests, along with ice skates too! The tree branches are covered with snow, as hot chocolate begins to flow from the fountain! Winter time Pretzel and Tea or hot chocolate by candle light is the table's offering, while a bunny finds a cookie treat (or is eyeing that carrot nose). The snowman is neat and fun to build, with snowballs to throw as the mini-dolls greet.
The rest of this wonderful pile go to either decorating the Hotel, or are spares.

All 3 Seasonal parts bags are simply great!


The best winter decor on the hotel front (per instructions) are the snow drifts with "icicles" hanging off part of the roof-line.

The candle and cup go nice on the rooftop table. Instruction have more white branches attached to the gold railing, ice chunks on the balcony railing and by the large fountain.


Here is the full Winterized Hotel instructions page.


Autumn is my favorite season, so I had to decorate for it for my final photos. What a lovely setting for a Mask Ball, or trick-or-treating if you live nearby.


Box front image has the hotel decorated for Spring/Summer. It's a very large box; I've placed a 3-brick-tall Friends brick to give perspective.
Other seasonal versions have inset images. The upper right corner BFF heart inset is the traditional HLC.
Box contents: Eleven numbered bags, 1 soft bag with six 8x16 tan plates, wrapped large 235-page instruction book, 27-page booklet same size, and sticker sheet.


The sticker sheet has transparent backing. The #1 and #2 stickers go on clear wall panels that separate room from bath -- which is a nice realistic touch to this hotel -- as it lets light through.  The fleur-de-lis motifs add to the Parisian look.


Back of the box shows changing seasons and activities. Lower right inset shows Emma playing the Grand Piano for Amelia by the fireplace.
Two Guest Rooms and the Penthouse Suite each get a mini-doll for the night.
I've mentioned newly recolored or rare parts in this review; for a full list see the instructions pdf on the LEGO site page.


One more look at the new Heartlake City Grand Hotel in Autumn splendor!

Summary:

Changing the seasonal decor with lots of great accessory parts puts this model into the next level -- because it can cater to fans all over the world -- no matter which time of year.
The Parisian architecture of the top lattice fancy dormers and round looking glass window is designed to perfection.

When I first saw the box art images, I thought of The Grand Budapest Hotel. The bottom pink floor certainly evokes that vibe. Adding the next floor as Lavender really sets it apart and gives it even more chances to show off details. The arched windows and adorned columns -- of which some being built with parts, rather than just a LEGO part -- are a some of the intricate aspects.  That inspires me to try creating other architectural designs of existing elements.

A revolving door was used in the first Heartlake Hotel and it's still such a fun concept with moving functions that any LEGO fan can enjoy.

Autumn decorating was pure joy for me. I can recommend this as therapy for missing your favorite season. This hotel may not have the "expert" label, yet it is an impressive build. It's a beautiful model for core Friends fans to play travel, and adult fans to display.


Disclaimer:
This set was provided by The LEGO Group for the purpose of sharing set details with fans.
Opinions provided here solely reflect those of our reviewer.
Photographs are property of FriendsBricks and are not directed by TLG in any fashion.


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