This outstanding hotel stands out for its impressive facilities, staff friendliness, efficient service and excellent room quality.
Don’t be put off by its location on the south side of the river. After staying in an array of, frankly horrible hotels in London, all of which looked nice in online pictures and turned out to be far from clean or comfortable, it was a total delight to come across Hotel Rafayel - a hotel that does what it says on the box and more. And having also stayed in some of the top hotels in London on business, I have to say that Hotel Rafayel manages to compete with the most luxurious hotels at great value for money (an introductory price of £120 for a basic ground floor room).
For a start there is a hotel shuttle service that runs regularly - up to every 30 minutes - into Clapham Junction or the Common, both of which have very fast links into the town centre. If you do not have time to wait the 30 minutes the bus stop for the 170 is right outside the hotel and will take you straight to Victoria station in 15 minutes. This was perfect for us as we needed to get into town often and quickly.
The room we stayed in was the most basic room available but it was an oasis of calm after a hectic day in town and we found it to be far from basic. The bed was so luxurious we were loathe to hop out of it in the mornings, the sheets clean and soft. The room was spotless and heavy curtains and blinds kept the early morning sunshine from the large windows (which was plentiful) at bay perfectly.
The bathroom was gorgeous too, again clean and beautifully designed. The shower particularly took us by surprise, very spacious and fitted with all sorts of amazing water jets - brilliant after a stuffy day in town! The products in the bathroom were such a lovely touch, Neom organics, usually only available from top stores like Selfridges, left my hair shiny and smelled divine. It definitely saved us from buying extra from the shops that we weren't allowed to take on the plane. Accompanied by fluffy white towels and complimentary dressing gowns, we were shocked by the astounding value for money. And for ladies wanting to blow dry or straighten hair there are lots of mirrors with handy plugs nearby.
The room also had a mini bar station with a kettle, specialised teas and the usual goodies in the fridge. Our flat screen television appeared to have its own in-house digital system which was easy to navigate and when we needed to iron some clothes the hotel reception swiftly provided an iron and a board. There is no WIFI but you can connect a laptop to a cable which worked well.
We didn't eat at the hotel restaurant, Banyan on The Thames, but we had a drink with one of the bar staff at the Crystal Bar after merrily arriving back from a night out. We were impressed with the inventive and varied menu that was peppered with Indian influences (the hotel owner is originally from Pakistan), as well as original takes on classic favourites. Other touches within the hotel itself included an in-house cake shop, which we found very handy for last minute gifts, and a florist.
We would definitely return to this hotel and highly recommend it as a haven to any strung-out travellers looking for luxury at the affordable introductory price or couples on romantic weekends.