I'm looking for guidance here…I'm going to London early in May and have reservations in these 3 hotels to use points. I will be in London for 4 nights.I have seen the pictures and read the reviews, but many are old and want more current information if possible. This trip is a gift to my parents and I really want to make it super special for them, especially my mom. I'm a gold member and I'm looking for the following:
1. A nice Concierge Lounge. We were recently in Vienna and my mom loved the lounge! She enjoyed the offerings, but most of all, she enjoyed the homey feel of seeing the same people and being in a relaxed environment that felt like home. My question is, which of the three options do you think has the best lounge? Are they all open during the whole day and on weekends? How are the options? Which one is prettier, bigger, etc. Feel free to add any additional details here!
2. Close to tourist areas. We have been to London before, but it was years ago and need a refresher! That means, we probably won't go to the Parliament since we've been there, but we want to go to the Tower of London, for example. She doesn't like the tube too much, so if we can actually walk it might be better. My question is, which one would be a better choice in this case?
3. Level of "Pretty". Which of the three do you consider the prettiest, newest, most recently renovated, etc. I want them to feel comfortable in a classic and elegant hotel, where they can enjoy the room as much as sitting at the lobby to people watch. Also, which hotel is situated in a fancier location?
If there is any other detail that you think could possibly help me in making a decision, feel free to include it! Also, if you have any tips regarding what rooms to request or floors, etc., let me know. Again, THANK YOU all for any guidance you may give me!!!! I TRULY appreciate it!
Welcome to the MRI site!
Having stayed at all of these hotels, I would suggest County Hall! Spectacular location and just request a Thames River view room!
Your parents will always "Thank-you" for a spectacular experience.
Please see previous post on this property. If you decide to go there, I will give you details and wonderful people to make their stay so "Memorable"!
Good luck with your choice!
jerrycoin thank you so much for your recommendation. The more I read about the County Hall, the more I think it might be the best choice. Do they normally give upgrades in the hotel? Should I request the room view now or upon arrival?
I look forward to receiving your details! Again, thank you!
It is alway's best to be "Up-front" to the hotel and let them know what the occasion you desire is.
If you want to go to County Hall, send an email with your desires to to Teddi, at County Hall at:
Ask for the wonderful Manager:
Ask for Teddi, or her asst. Ana! Say hello for me!
I would send an email to the hotel, via the email address I gave, a few posts ago. Send it to Teddi, and let her know what the purpose and details of the trip are. Ask her if she can provide a "Thames view" room for your folks. That's a great start. She is very professional and I am sure, do the best she can for this wonderful gift. Use my name if you like!
Hope it goes well. Likewise, if you do decide on this hotel, let me know. We can arrange nice transportation for your folks to the hotel and back to the airport, at a price equal to a taxi. It's a lot better way to travel!
Good luck, and stay in touch!
Thank you, jerrycoin. Actually, even though it's a gift I'm giving my parents, my brother and I are going too, since it is to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Would you mind e-mailing me rates for transportation for four people from Heathrow?
To get the correct rates as well as details and recommendations please send the email to:
It would be best if you get rates and arrangements from The Concierge. With 4 people and luggage, they may need a different vehicle than the one they have used with the two of us.
Good luck! Likewise, the car service can be hired for anywhere you would like to go in The London area. You can bill the charges to your room as well!
CCounty Hall is on the Thames next to the wheel and opposite parliament. It's a short walk to the Tate. Very much in the area you've already done. It's modern and evidently well regarded, though all your choices are very good hotels.
Grosvenor Square is in Mayfair, a short walk from the Oxford Street shopping opportunities. It's on the same square as the (shockingly ugly) American embassy. The last time I stayed there I was upgraded to a lovely jnr suite. Wouldn't call the location pretty though, more "posh built up"
Park Lane is unsurprisingly on Park Lane, one of Londons most prestigious streets. It's at the very end where Park Lane meets the end of Oxford Street at Marble Arch. Opposite the wide expanse of Hyde Park, you have a good chance of a pretty view across the park.
I think I've stayed at every Marriott in London except County Hall and Park Lane. Ive never stayed at those 2 because they've always turned out too expensive on the day. I've been to meetings at both but haven't been to either exec lounge. During my only stay at Grosvenor Square the exec lounge was being refurbed so I can't comment on that one either! I cam add however:
County Hall is very much a tourist central location being close to the wheel and Big Ben, both popular tourist attractions.
Grosvenor Square being so close to the American embassy is a good choice for those doing business with the embassy.
Park Lane is close to Hyde Park, Marble Arch (a busy roundabout with a large marble arch in the centre, popular for photos but little else) and is right at the top of Oxford Street.
Having already done the Big Ben/Parliament area I see you're considering the Tower of London and I'd guess you might be interested in London Bridge, Theatreland/Leicester Square, Convent Gardens and Buckingham Palace. Alas Marriott has nothing within easy walking distance of those attractions and I see your mother, like mine, is not a fan of the tube (subway). One alternative is the HOHO (hop on, hop off) buses which tour (broadly) clockwise around the city in a 90 minute loop. All the major tours stop at the side of County Hall, and the routes every 10 mins. They all call at these destinations and many others, so for a touristy stay even though County Hall is in the area you've already visited it might just fit your bill!
Finally, have you considered the JW Grosvenor House? It's also on Park Lane, opposite Hyde Park. Rates there can be competitive and it's a very strong hotel that routinely upgrades gold and plat, though not to suites. I've had some lovely rooms there. The lounge is also good with strong offerings, though from what Ive heard not as well regarded as the County Hall lounge. It's also opposite one of the HOHO stops which makes it easy to get around the tourist sights.
I sure agree with all that brightlybob has to say as well! Having stayed at most London Marriott's, it will probably come down to location and pricing that will help make your choice. With 4 people I can tell you that there is a lot more to do without mass transit or taxis from CH, and you will not be "Obligated" to do everything together. Some in your family may enjoy The Eye, The Changing of the Guard, Westminster Abbey, while others may just want to take in other nearby sights or walk.
The CH and Grosvenor do have similar CL's, but I don't remember Grosvenor Square having one. Likewise, you will have much longer walk to get to most activities from GS, including getting on the Big Red Bus (Hop on/off).
Again, either way, you can't go wrong. It really will come down to price, desires, and of course "Availability"!
I definitely will jerrycoin! Thank you for all the help! I think it's going to be County Hall…will let you all know how it went
I'd recommend the London County Hall for the location and comfortable rooms.
I've stayed there twice. The most recent time was in December. The location is good, the rooms are comfortable, and the view is great.
I wasn't very impressed with the concierge lounge. It wasn't very frequently staffed and the coffee machine as broken for days. However, the breakfast for elites is in this library lounge, with awesome staff, great food and a fantastic view. The bar has a guy who makes great drinks. The internet speed was great. And it is within walking distance of a lot of places. Including some theatre.
I haven't stayed at the other two, but I've stayed at the Kensington, Marble Arch and Regent's Park Marriotts in London, and I think the County Hall is the best pick.
Have a great trip.
Unfortunately, I don't know. We were there three nights. My wife wanted a vesper martini. There was a function in the lounge, so guests were redirected to the lounge in the entryway. The young lady was phoning drink orders in and picking them up. My wife really enjoyed the Vesper martini and the server spoke highly of the "mixologist". She was right.
This was the hotel we stayed at during our very first visit to London years ago and it is certainly a good one to go to as it is centrally located and a nice facility.
Thank you for your posts, I enjoy reading them.
You may have just had a "Refreshment" in the wonderful lounge at CH.
Gillroys! A most beautiful lounge, with a view like this,
Nothing like having a laugh and exchanging a story with a fellow MRI, Arkwright, a great guy!
As mentioned, this one was being used for a private function, so the drink came from here but we had it in the Noes room which is the other side of reception.
The elites breakfast room is beside the lounge you have pictures of and on the other side is the restaurant - but you know this I am sure.
Wife wanted room service, we got that a couple of nights. That went well.
Thank you, techie! Now, I'm a bit confused…so the concierge lounge is different from another library lounge? I'm a gold member, will I have access to the library lounge? Is that an all-day thing too or just for breakfast? Are other people who are not gold and platinum allowed in there too? Thank you so much for your insight…I'm leaning more and more towards County Hall.
They have a concierge lounge with all of the normal things except breakfast.
It seemed to me to be a pretty basic lounge.
The breakfast is served in a different room. the room we went for breakfast was elites only, not the general breakfast (which is also good).
The elites breakfast was in a room with nice windows, nice view, and the breakfast was excellent. Berries, fruits, fresh baked goods, hot items. Nice staff. One of the better "elite" breakfasts out there.
The hotel is right by the river, near tube stations. We walked back from the theatre (we went to Sir Spam a Lot, it was great).
You might want to get a London pass with travel or oyster card, it is cheaper to get around.
Oh Dear Jerry!
I say this as someone who has frequently made huge faux pas in the US when talking about places, so please take this in the joking spirit it is intended.
It is not called "The Dock Land" area. It is Docklands. Seriously, if you say Dock Lands area to Londoners, they may not know where you mean. Say Docklands, with the the emphasise on Dock, and they will know exactly.
You will LOVE Docklands. Nothing like the City of London. So a wonderful change of scenery, and a different experience.
I noticed that faux pas too - but I didn't say anything.
what I do want to say is - although I don't think it should be Fern's four night hotel in London - the Marriott West India Quay was very nice to stay in. They had their concierge lounge open 24 hours. It isn't staffed at night, but you can surely get in there and it has a nice view.
The rooms have floor to ceiling glass which is pretty cool. There was this Polish fellow who worked as a doorman and he is a pretty awesome guy. I was walked up to my room by this charming young lady of African origin who worked at the front desk. It is an entirely new and different area of London, but certainly worth seeing.
As mentioned, it surely is not in the middle of old historical London, but there is the DLR station right beside it and a Jubilee Line station a moderate walk away.
The faux pas thing. I know Jerry well enough to be able to have a little pop at such things. I would expect him to do the same to me. If I hadn't got to know him well enough, I wouldn't have done it.
As to West India Quay! You are talking about one of my favourite hotels Techie. I have mentioned it so much on other threads, I must be getting quite boring about it. I agree with you about the CL. It is really up there with the best. And it is easy to get to anywhere in London from the hotel.
Well, certainly give him a bad time then.
All of this talk of these places make me want to go back. Usually I am so busy that I don't get a chance to hang out in London. However, I enjoy just taking a walk and getting a nice look at all of the interesting things the city has to offer.
Of course, when you go to London, like anywhere, it is important to get a comfortable hotel. I know Marriott is an American chain, but they have a very significant presence in the London market, and certainly I am not thinking "American hotel" when I am there, I am thinking "British hotel".
I have updated my travel kit so I can plug my electricals into anywhere. However, it is worthy of note that the Marriotts, almost without exception, have outlets to accommodate the European "Schuko" plugs, the French plugs, the British BS 1363 plugs (both at 240 volts) and the North American NEMA plugs - at 115 volts. They have gone to the trouble to make it easy for people to use common plugs without having to buy anything special.
The housekeeping has always been top notch. The beds at the Marriotts in the UK have always been comfortable. The staff is pretty awesome.
Like anywhere, you need to "learn the ropes". What to expect, what not to expect. I don't go to a hotel expecting a bunch of freebies. I expect to pay a reasonable price for the services rendered. I have also learned, amongst other things, not to have scrambled eggs in the UK - there is some health regulation that they have to use something pasteurized to make them, so I have different eggs. But there is lots of good food there. Most of the hotels put out a very nice breakfast spread, both for elites and non elites. Yes, if you are non ellite, the breakfast will cost over 20 pounds. London has high prices. Try not to think about converting it to dollars, if it is competitive with other places (which it is) just have a nice breakfast. The price is not cheap, but they put out a wonderful array of things. If you want the economy trip, that's a different story.
I'm glad everyone chips in here with advice and information, it is helpful. I have been to the UK, including London, enough times to provide a lot of advice myself. However, the advice given to me, for my first trip into the actual city of London, was to stay at the County Hall, and that was good advice.
British hotels generally don't have coffeemakers in the rooms. They have kettles to boil water and tea bags. They also have instant coffee. My wife loves that she can have good tea without running the hot water through a coffee maker. And I have learned that the instant coffee is just fine. However, there is brewed coffee available. Just go to the Executive Lounge.
They seem to be getting better internet. County Hall, Marriott Heathrow, and West India Quay have, from what I've seen, great internet. They may have done this at other hotels too....I don't have that information. However, when you are a tourist, it is nice to look things up and for that, it is nice to have internet. If you don't have elite status, then they generally have free internet in the lobby.
I suppose I had best get to London before the higher summer prices kick in.
Fern, I hope you and your family have a great time. and please share the experience with us on here, I am sure everyone will be happy to hear about it.
You have hit a lot of nails firmly on the head there Techie. I don't know if you have realised, but I am a Brit, and I agree with you totally!
London is a terrific city. I worked there for many years, and now we are both retired, we still regularly go for a couple of days or a week. We know London inside out, but there are always new things to do, new exhibitions to see, new restaurants to try, new shows to book etc etc. The list is endless. And it differs season to season. You are also right about just walking about. Always look above street level. The shop fronts may be very bland and uniform, but above street level, many are fabulous old buildings.
As to Marriotts in London. Again I agree (we are becoming too much alike) the hotels are British more than US. And I like that. In the US I want a US hotel. In France I want a French hotel. In the UK, a UK hotel. I have never stayed in a bad Marriott in the UK - and I have stayed in quite a few. Yes they vary, but none have ever been bad. And yes again, London is very expensive. So people should either accept that or go elsewhere. It has nothing to do with exchange rates, as you rightly say. It is simply expensive - but to us worth it.
We were Gold Elite, but because of health issues, don't travel enough now to retain that. So we are silver now, but we always pay for rooms with CL access. The CL at West India Quay is wonderful isn't it!
As to coffee makers. In the UK we have kettles in our homes - full stop. Yes I also have "proper coffee", but day to day it is in our culture to use instant coffee and tea bags. All countries have differences, and kettles is a Brit thing.
I enjoyed reading your post. It is nice to see that us "Brits" and our funny ways are appreciated by some Insiders.
I do hope you get back to London soon.
Thank you for responding.
It is nice to have a lot in common.
I live in Western Canada. Actually, there are a huge number of people from here who have been to the UK in general and London in particular. Everyone that I've talked to has good experiences to report, so this reflects well upon UK as being a receptive and hospitable place. My experiences have reflected that as well.
I've been going to the UK for about four times per year lately, both business and personal. My wife, who is an American, fancies herself an Anglophile - and she has read up on English history so much that when she is with me, it is like having my own tour guide.
Last time I was in London, which was alone, unfortunately, she had wanted me to get her a UK keyboard for her iMAC (she's also a MAC user). She also wanted some more key chains from the gift shop at the Tower of London. I took a nice walk around that day and did get her those things. Indeed, she uses that UK keyboard exclusively.
I think it is important to understand and appreciate how people live in each country. That is part of going somewhere, to people watch and learn about them.
I have just spoken with my wife and she is very interested to go there soon, she wants to experience the UK spring.
I am certainly glad that you and your wife enjoy your country and your trips to the capital. You are very right, there is a lot to appreciate. Both looking above street level and at street level. I often do research on the internet about things I see, to learn more about them. And of course, the advice I see on this column and others is good as well. I also get good advice when I am there.
It's a pleasure Techie. Although your wife sounds as if she knows London very well, if there is ever anything you want to know about London or the UK that I might be able to help with, do let me know.
BTW, my office at one time looked out over the Tower of London! We used to go out of the office and have our lunch at Tower Hill, where the beheadings used to take place!!!! This is it.
Thank you Sir, that is very kind of you.
The reason we learn so much about places is in large part due to kind people such as yourself, who offer up information that's not easily found.
I have been where the beheadings are too. My wife seems to like to go to the tower of London repeatedly - I hope that isn't a hint.
I last took her there in November/December - and whilst in London, that is the most recent time we stayed in the Marriott County Hall. We didn't have enough days to justify using points and we still wanted to stay there, so I actually had to pay for it. Next time, I want to set aside five days so we can get the best "points" deal. Actually, my mother wishes to come along also - she wants to see Stockton On Tees, where her father was born.
Have you ever been to the Durham Marriott? It is right in the city and I had a very nice walk late at night.
There is certainly more to the UK than London...
Thank you and happy Easter to you and your family. (Happy Easter to the other MRI that celebrate it too).
We have never actually stayed at the Durham Marriott, but I know exactly where it is and have walked right by it. We went there one day when we were staying in York (at the Marriott there), and we went on the train to Durham for the day with 4 friends. And an excellent day out we had too!
The Tower of London is a fantastic place, especially if you get their earlier. The lines can be long, so it pays to take the hop on/off bus, buy your entry ticket on the bus (At least one stop away), and walk directly in. What a time!
Isn't this the spot "Many lost their heads"?
A wonderful day at The Tower in May!
The Tower Bridge is a wonderful place to take a fascinating tour. Children are amazed at it's workings!
OK, here is where I make everyone jealous! Tower Bridge has been raised for me! How many Insiders can say that? We went on a boat trip, on the only paddle steamer in the UK, The Waverley. We went by sea from Southwold on the East Coast, down the coast, entered the Thames and went straight through to Tower bridge. And it went up just for us!!! What a wonderful memory that is. The we all got off at Tower Pier, and buses took us back to Southwold. here is a picture of the ship with the bridge up. http://www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk/plan-your-trip/the-thames/
Sadly I have not even been on a boat in the UK.....there is always more to do.
When I walked over the tower bridge - about a month ago, there were a bunch of young French students. The students looked French, the teachers looked French...just like out of a book.
I also saw some kind of weird platform with a bunch of pedals on it and one driver...they were peddling and drinking...
Wonderful photo's! Really like the "Close up"! If you look at the first photo, up close, you will see a famous ship, HMS Belfast! Never been on board before, but it is a historic vessel. It fired the first shot on D-Day, 70 years ago this year!
One of the many splendid things to do in London!
I was walking there three weeks ago. I didn't go on the shop as I had to get to that gift shop to be my wife key rings, which are, of course, the most important thing after a UK keyboard to get.
But of course one can't bring their spouse on every trip and it is always best to make the effort to get something meaningful for them. In this case, it was keyboard and key rings....but thanks to you guys, I now have to bring her over for a boat trip...
A word of warning Techie. They don't run the London/Tower Bridge trips very often. As it is the only paddle steamer in the UK, it goes all other places, and spends months going round the Scottish Isles - so not a day trip from London!!!!! The ones to Tower Bridge don't start this year until September, but they do go from places nearer to London than Southwold. For instance, from Southend, which is easier to get to from London to pick the boat up. Have a look here Welcome to Waverley | Waverley Excursions and you will see the trips that say "Steam Through Tower Bridge". They are the ones you need to get the bridge to go up just for you! So best check out the trips for dates before setting your heart on anything. Also it gets booked quite a way in advance, so make sure you can get tickets if you do decide on a trip.
Jerry, If you went on the tour boat from Tower to Greenwich, you went around Docklands.
If you went to Greenwich, did you see the Cutty Sark? Now, that is really worth a visit. We had a TV programme about how it was all restored, which was fascinating, so the next time we were in London we went to. Marvellous. Cutty Sark : RMG
Also, yes the picture you showed was the exact spot of the beheadings. Mine is of the whole park, and the beheadings spot is in there somewhere.
Techie, I've just remembered. The main building in Docklands, the really tall quare one with the pointy top, is often called Canary Wharf. That is wrong. It's address is One Canada Square!
I did not know I was seeing the "Docklands" on the trip to Greenwich!
However, do remember seeing The Cutty Sark!
We had time for lunch in Greenwich and it was just OK. It was a gorgeous day in October, so it all went well! Took my Mother from Paris to London on The Eurostar and then got on the "Hop on/off" bus. London was beautiful for the day, and then went back to Paris. Memorable time was had by all!
A "Thousand Pardon's"
Thank-you for the information. Maybe if I had ever been I would have go the name right.
Am planning to go in September and have seen so many TV shows about the area that I am really looking forward to enjoying the area.
Thanks again for the clarification!
It is a very different area in London, but yes, well worth it. If you're at the Marriott West India Quay, go across the foot bridge and keep going, there's a little park, some fountains, office towers...what can I say? I like walking around....it is interesting.
When I was there, one of the guest relations executives, Fanny, was in the lounge, quite a delightful person as were many of the others there.
Thank you for sharing the pictures. I have used the London Pass to get into the Tower of London, which worked quite well.
What part of Canada do you reside? I love Canada, and have worked with The RCM for decades and enjoy the fine work they do!
Thanks for the "Tip" on The Marriott WIQ! Will do just that this Fall! Will enjoy taking some pictures, meet Fanny, and dedicate my afternoon to you!
Jerrycoin, I am from Calgary.
I hope you dedicate your afternoon to having a nice time, but thank you for the gesture. I'm not sure if Fanny is still there, Marriott tends to move their good people around and promote them. But rest assured, I'm sure there are many more people to make the visit worthwhile.
I generally love hotel rooms with floor to ceiling glass and this Marriott has that.
If you haven't been on the DLR, you should hop on (I expect you'll want to have an Oyster Card).
Tommo, thank you for reminding me - Cabot Square. There are also some places there named after Canada...
You guys are trouble, you have me looking on the airline website now. I always "lose" a lot of pounds when I go to the UK....
The best to you in Calgary!
Always wanted to go there, but never have! Want to make it to Banff, and Lake Louis. From there take the Canadian Rails to Vancouver! Dream trip!
If I make it up to Calgary, bring someone to meet Lady Coin and me, we'll treat and have a good old Canadian "Chin-Wag"!
That would be nice, thank you - you didn't say where you are from. My wife is American.
And actually now she wants to go on that boat that tommo mentioned.
She also wants to go to Speedy's in London again for lunch...
Actually, Calgary has one of the best Marriott Burgers I've ever had.
That train trip you speak of is privately run now and quite pricey. Greyhound runs a service on a similar route! There's also a train that goes from Edmonton to Jasper and then down to Vancouver.
The Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle is quite nice....
Where in London is "Speedy's"? Sounds interesting, I need to find a "Burger Bar" there as the best I have done so far is Burger King. The other places I have had burgers were not that good! I guess the other place that was very good was:
The Hard Rock Cafe, it was a casual place with good food! Just a short walk from Grosvenor House Marriott.
Oh the wonderful places in London, can't wait to go back!
Jerry, the Marriott West India Quay is a great property. Its not quite the County Hall but if you can get the Curve Suite upgrade you might just be pretty happy
I've been there a few times, great property, perfect for accessing that part of London as most of the train access is right outside your doors (literally). Plenty of great spots there as well, pretty quiet at nights relative to CH as well.
This thread has really taken off today.
London is one of the top places in the planet for tourists to go. There is something for just about everyone, and a lot of interesting surprises as well.
Besides, there are a lot of helpful people in the UK...like you Tommo, and many many others.
Marriott has made a lot of money by giving me and my wife a decent place to stay in this interesting capital.
My wife really likes to eat at the Wellington Pub, which is across from the Waterloo station. Unfortunately, a lot of other people like to eat there too, it is often busy - but worth it. Yes, I know it is owned by one of those big pub companies, but it is a good place to go. We also had a couple of dinners at the Marriott County Hall, which were great.
The Cabinet War Rooms are nearby the hotel, as are of course many many other things.
Every Marriott in Greater London is of course in a certain neighbourhood and serves a certain demographic. Embrace these and you will find it very interesting.
Have never been there, nor even heard of it. However, it is now on my calendar for this Fall! Love to walk down to Waterloo, as they have a very nice book store there and a Burger King. That area of London is busy, but a lot of fun!
The crowds get much busier at Waterloo during "Rush Hour's"
This "Duck" trip looks like it would be fun! Never did it, but it sit's in front of "The Eye", in between Waterloo and C-H!
Thanks for getting me to remember another wonderful time at C-H!