The only reason I ended up here was because a 4-star pretender around the corner had hiked their rates up; meaning this 5-star hotel then turned out to be offering a better deal. Bad move on the part of the 4-star place, from now on when I stay in London (and when I'm asked for a recommendation) the Marriott County Hall will be top of my list.
This was the first time I'd stayed in a Marriott hotel, and the level of customer service impressed me right from the start; from the moment I arrived, the concierge insisting on carrying my case out of the taxi; the polite and helpful reception staff; the housekeeping staff who couldn't have kept the room any more spotless than they did; the room service staff who brought my breakfast at exactly the time they were expected; to the concierge having my case waiting in the taxi while I was checking out.
All simple things, but in my experience it's those simple things that make the difference.
Anyway, the hotel forms the large part of the London County Hall building. County Hall is a massive building which hosted the successive London Councils until the late 90s when they moved down the river. The building now also hosts a museum, aquarium, gallery, a Premier Inn hotel and various offices and studios.
The sheer size of the building does mean that there can be a bit of a walk from the lifts to your room; the corollary of that though means that there's plenty of space, even in the "smaller" rooms. Huge amounts of space in fact; I stayed in a single room with a king-sized bed and it was bigger than most double hotel rooms I've stayed in elsewhere in London.
What's in the room? Double wardrobe with full length mirror doors, safe (free & big enough to accomodate a laptop), iron & ironing board, tea & coffee, kettle, ice bucket (ice machine in corridor), glasses, cutlery & cups. There's a small vanity table with stool, mirror and hairdryer, a desk with leather armchair, a 32" LCD TV sitting on a 4-drawer unit. 2 bedside cabinets. 2 high backed armchairs aside an occasional table. Huge, and hugely comfortable, king size bed with great egyptian cotton sheets, pillowcases & duvet cover. 6 feather pillows - think it's strange I mention that ? - then try staying round the corner where the 4-star hotel offers you 2 of the worst pillows in the world!!
Mini bar, one of those "immediate charge if you move the item" variety. One touch they missed out on I feel is there's no provision for a customer fridge in the room - they could even offer part of the mini bar area for this I'm sure.
Large bathroom with nice deep bath. Not a separate shower, it's an "over the tub" type, but blimey is it powerful and the shower head pattern is adjustable too! Daily toileteries and soap, fresh & top quality towels, bathrobes.
Excellent air-conditioning/climate control too - it was set to maximum cool during my stay but would equally provide heat if needed.
My room had a nice exterior view out over Jubilee Gardens and the arcade up to the London Eye which meant plenty of natural light. Blackout curtains. The windows have secondary glazing which shuts out the noise from outside, but this can be opened and the original windows can be opened too, for those who want fresh air in the room.
Evening turn down service if wanted; personally I thought it was a bit early (between 5pm - 6pm) but that's maybe because I was near the end of the corridor so that's maybe where housekeeping started off.
Unfortunately, not being a member of Marriott rewards it would have cost me £15 for 24 hours internet access (either Ethernet or wifi) which I think these days is a bit off. There are plenty places nearby (e.g. Starbucks on Belvedere Road) where you can get a free connection.
The hotel has a lovely big swimming pool, 5 lanes and 25m long. I visited twice during my stay and had the place to myself both times so can't complain! Slightly unusual arrangement in that the pool is separate from the sauna/steam room/jacuzzi but it's not really a hassle. Huge gym with loads of equipment, I didn't actually use it but the layout means you walk past the gym to get to the changing rooms.
Food? I didn't use the hotel restaurant, I did have room service breakfast which was fantastic. Especially the hotel's specials and signature breakfasts - the brioche french toast and omelettes were fantastic, and the waffles sounded good too!
In summary then, thoroughly recommended and I'll definitely be staying there when I can.
One final tip - find the way to the side exit onto Belvedere Road, it can save some time if you're coming from the Waterloo side. And the marble staircase and mosaic floor and foyer has to be seen to be believed, it's stunning.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Painted with a signature backdrop, the historic London Marriott Hotel County Hall offers proximity to our city's main attractions. With views of Big Ben, the banks of the River Thames and overlooked by the London Eye, landmarks are a short stroll away from the front doors of our hotel in London, England. Stay with us and hold your events here, as we feature distinctive venues that can accommodate every occasion. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marriott London County Hall Hotel London
- London Marriott Hotel County Hall England