Marriott County Hall, Southbank

Marriott County Hall has an enviable location on the edge of Southbank, overlooking the Thames and many of London’s most famous landmarks. Housed in a beautifully restored historic building which boasts impressive architecture and polished marble floors, County Hall is reminiscent of a sophisticated bygone era.

Our room was spacious but quite dated in design, decorated in browns and beiges with simple furnishings. It felt a bit like visiting a great aunt but this is all part of the vintage appeal. A lovely gift had been left for me, a box of treats including spiced pear chutney, cider mustard and strawberry jam, a statement of the hotel’s proud British heritage. The ultra-comfortable king sized bed provided a peaceful night’s sleep. The bathroom was large and functional with a lovely deep bath and Aromatherapy Essentials toiletries.

The hotel has various gym and spa facilities as well as an indoor 25 metre pool, a rare asset for a central London hotel, and definitely a selling point. There are also eleven dedicated meeting rooms, perfect for fulfilling business needs.

The restaurant, Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar is perhaps the nicest part of the hotel; with impressive views and a stylish contemporary look, it feels like it has been updated more recently than the rest of the hotel. We enjoyed a typically English meal, garlicky grilled prawns followed by the finest dry-aged Aberdeen Angus steaks. There is a huge range of steaks on offer to satisfy even the most fussy of meat fans. Various bone-in and bone-out options are available including a gigantic 1kg ‘Bull’s Head’ which I was amazed to see a small woman tackle alone on a nearby table. Our more modest fillet and sirloin steaks had a lovely depth of flavour and were cooked exactly to our specification. Truffle and Old Winchester chips are an indulgent side. The delicious Spanish wine accompanied the meat well.

Breakfast is also served in Gillray’s and looked lovely especially in the morning light. Big baskets of fruit, cereal, bread and pastries were laid out at the bar. There is an a la carte menu but we found the continental options more than adequate.

With Big Ben, the Thames and the London Eye on your doorstep, Marriott County Hall is ideal for those wishing to have  the London experience.

More information and book a stay here.

St Ermin’s Hotel, St James’s

St Ermins Hotel in St James’ has recently become part of the Marriott Autograph group, an ever growing collection of distinctive hotels. It is tucked away among a cluster of residential roads and it comes as quite a shock when you discover St Ermin’s grand entrance.

The venue was busy when we arrived on a Saturday afternoon – with so many facilities on site, St Ermins is able provide space for a wedding reception, business meetings and a throng of weekend tourists simultaneously. We bypassed the lobby of activity to see our refuge upstairs.

The suite was bigger than my flat, spacious and luxurious but a bit less homely. The décor reminded me of John Lewis – simple, bold, bright patterns featuring throughout the room design. The first room provided plenty of space with a dining room and sitting room combined. I wondered how often these generous extras get put to good use. Through to the bedroom, I was startled by the enormous bed and ample wardrobe space, room enough for a whole family, but the two of us weren’t complaining. With heavy materials used throughout the suite, there was a sense of grandeur and yet the overall look felt a little worn-out and dated.

The en-suite bathroom was our favourite feature. An impressive freestanding bath with a glass-walled walk-in shower then two marble sinks and a separate toilet. It was the perfect parlour for beautifying and relaxing.

When it comes to dinner, the Caxton Grill is a popular choice with guests, offering a menu of hearty English classics. With the hotel celebrating Honey Month, the drink and food menu had some honey-themed specials, this included our strong, sweet appetiser cocktails. To eat we enjoyed English classics: a well-flavoured Pressed old spot pork to start, hearty 35 day aged Rib Eye steak and chips, and an impressively ornate chocolate dessert.

Breakfast the next morning was of a similarly high quality – moist, bouncy French toast was made exactly to our wishes by the chef, with maple syrup, crème fraiche and fresh berries. Along with a cup of strong fresh coffee, it was the perfect morning meal.

St Ermins may seem a little worn at the edges but the standard is high and it is a lovely place to stay for a weekend getaway.

More information and book here.

Marriott Park Lane

Location, location, location. Marriott’s Park Lane Hotel is ideally placed for tourists visiting London. A few steps from Marble Arch station and round the corner from shopping heaven on Oxford Street, it is just about the most central location you could desire.

Just down the road from the JW Marriott, this hotel feels smaller and more boutiquey with a less prominent entrance and a quieter, subtler ambience. Staff are incredibly helpful welcoming us to the hotel and taking us swiftly upstairs to our smart Club Room. Decorated in a quintessentially British style and with a view of the iconic Marble Arch itself, our room evoked the spirit of London.

To further emphasise the central location, our room had a copy of Timeout London and Mayfair Magazine should we want to peruse the pages for city ideas while nibbling the beautiful cakes and fruit the hotel had kindly laid out for us.

The small living area was a pleasant place to relax and unwind before bed. The bathroom was rather more glamorous, a black marble sink, L’Occitane toiletries and a big bath.

I can’t remember much about the bed as I fell asleep instantly lying amongst the plush pillows and silky bedsheets. I woke up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Considering the busy road outside, it is amazing that the hotel rooms remain so quiet.

A big buffet breakfast is served downstairs. Cinnamon French toast with bacon and berries arrived promptly at our table along with a cappuccino. We also helped ourselves to a selection of buttery pastries and fresh orange juice from the counter.

Those coming to London to experience a “Best of British” weekend will find a lovely room for the night at the Marriott Park Lane.

More information and book here.