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Marriott County Hall - Review

Is it me or is the Marriott brand developing hotel sector omnipresence?  Sat Bal 

Only a couple of weeks after staying in the Marriott Amsterdam I find myself in London’s five-star Marriott County Hall. It increasingly seems to be in the right place at the right time.

Back in Amsterdam we stayed in one of the suites that MTV had block-booked for media and artists attending its big EMA music bash. It seems that the view of the Marriott chain as a staid corporate stay is giving way to a fresh perception.

This has been helped along by Marriott’s collaboration with Ian Schrager whose boutique hotels (St Martins Lane, The Royalton, Delano et al) blossomed some 15 years ago into style venue icons. Edition Hotels is Schrager’s partnership with Marriott International and the pair recently launched the London Edition in the imposing old Berners Street Hotel building near Oxford Street.

By contrast London’s Marriott County Hall proudly preserves its history.  Its provenance as the HQ of the London City Council (some 60 years ago) still seeps through the hotel’s wood-panelled pores. And the globally familiar red-gold carpet swirl is irrefutably Marriott ‘proper’ - as is the solid wood furniture.

The history is not just within; my suite opened to a panorama of Big Ben, the Thames and the Houses of Parliament. Above the window the pods of the London Eye loomed close enough to ID the nationalities of the podded tourists. This is the London that’s beamed around the world, banked in the collective consciousness of global tourism.

 

This is also a London that’s in the tinselled grip of Christmas. County Hall is tastefully bedecked with festive trees at every turn. Padding along the Hall’s red carpets, it’s hard to escape olde Dickensian imagery: the Westminster popinjays, blue bloods, dandies-of-the-day and other spirits of over 80 Christmases past that would have traversed this very site in festive cheer.

 

Spa at County Hall

But historical reverie is quickly banished on encountering the sixth-floor spa and vast health club which boasts a 25-metre indoor pool. After all, this is a five-star hotel with five-star facilities. Here are some of them…

 

DINING

Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar is the focal point for dining at County Hall. The sweeping views of that London riverside setting offer ample twilight twinkle, depending on your table position. The strip-like dining space fills quickly but waiter service is prompt and courteous. Staff are quite happy to help when you’re wavering between a starter choice of Cornish Oysters with champagne and vinaigrette or spinach and cheddar (£21 per 12). Grilled prawns with lemon, garlic and parsley (£16) tastily paved the way for the main courses. Some of the quirkier food options included generously large  Yorkshire puddings – filled with cheese.

Our Cornish Oysters framed by twilight London

Naturally, Gillray’s prides itself on its steak menu derived from 35-day dry aged Aberdeen Angus from specially selected English farms. Nature nurtures the meat and Gillray's crafts it under the headship of executive chef Gareth Bowen. The succulent Prime Rib (£32) steak all but killed the conversation, which was reduced to our murmurs of approval between sips of the house red.

 

Sign off with the Signature Sherry Trifle

Fish courses include Billingsgate Grilled and South Coast Lemon Sole and the menu also offers a wide selection of English cheeses that includes the award-winning Yorkshire Blue. Oh and don't miss out on the Signature Sherry Trifle, a delightful confection that's enough to prolong anyone's stay.

 

DRINKING

Gillray's bar convenes

The bar stocks over 70 gins as well as wines, spirits and beers and it’s very easy to slip into the languid ambience (easier still after a  couple of Midnight Bird cocktails, apparently). It’s the sort of place to relax in before one’s assault on the city or the pre-bed nightcap.

Leader's Bar is the place to open champagne and sample fine wines and the portraits on its wall reinforce the political heritage of County Hall.

Private dining at the Library

Time didn’t permit but it’s easy to see how an entire afternoon could be whiled away at the oaken Library Lounge, replete with its rare books and literary air. Afternoon tea here is an indulgence of several types of tea, sandwiches and scones with jam and clotted cream. Homemade cakes take the experience further. Private dining areas are available for groups who prefer to keep it intimate.

 

ROOMS

 

Westminster Suite lounge area

The Westminster Suite is the hotel’s flagship room with spectacular views over the Thames. A spacious bedroom, dining area , kitchenette and living room are some of the features of this vast suite which also offers Executive Lounge access. It has to be said that the noise insulation is very effective; just as well with busy tourist London just beyond these spacious windows.

Big Ben suite balcony view

The one-bedroom Executive suites, Junior suite, Big Ben Executive comprise the other suites. Egyptian cotton-rich linens and cosseting duvets make for a restful sleep.

 

THE DETAIL

London Marriott Hotel County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB

Phone: 44 207 928 5200
 
  • 6 floors , 186 rooms , 14 suites
  • 13 meeting rooms, 563 sq m of total meeting space
  • 1 concierge level
  • On-site parking, fee: £40 daily
  • Valet parking, fee: £40 daily
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM
  • Check-out: 12:00 PM
  • Express Check-In and Express Checkout
  • Video Review Billing , Video Checkout

High-Speed Internet

  • Guest rooms: Wireless, Wired
  • Lobby and public areas: Wireless
  • Meeting rooms: Wireless, Wired

 

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