Note: if you don't want to do a lot of reading, you can just go to the last line of my post...:-)
This will be my third leisure trip to London in less than a year and I couldn't be happier that I'm going back. Last year, I told my 21 year old niece that we could go anywhere in the world she wanted and she chose London...so we went. I found out that I could make that Oakland Raiders game in London after all, asked my sis if she wanted to go and she said yes...so we went. The great thing about those trips was that I had enough points to stay at Level 9 properties both times! The first trip, I stayed at County Hall and it was amazing! Teddy is wonderful! The second trip, I stayed at Park Lane and it was awful. Horrible service, crappy room, did I mention horrible service? I was determined to be finished with Marriott simply because I could not believe how unpleasant my experience at Park Lane was...but I went to see Teddy at County Hall just to say hi and also got to meet jerrycoin there and thought maybe Marriott could be redeemed in my opinion..plus I have platinum status through the end of this year.
So now, I've got my another 21 year old niece wanting to go to London. Out of all the places in the world, she wants to go to London...most likely because her sis and mom went and she doesn't want to be left out. This time I don't have so many points (new employer not a big Marriott fan) so I may have to pay cash. I'd like to stay close to Central London, but I'm open to other locations as long as there's an executive lounge and I have great chance at an upgrade. Right now I'm looking at Regents Park and Maida Vale. I wish I could afford to stay in the Central London area because I kind of like the option of being able to walk back to my hotel if I'm out late in Central London, which I had to do a few times last year!
So...any advice on Regents Park or Maida Vale or other London Marriotts on a "budget"? I'm heading there the first week of April for 6 days.
I can't help you with Regents Park, but I did stay at Maida Vale just over a year back. Nice property and only a short walk to the nearest Tube station. Not too much else close by (athough Abbey Road isn't too far way). Even if you are in the city late (I was a few times), getting back was never a problem.
The challenge with Maida Vale is that it takes a while to get into the city. The Underground is great, but you'll be riding back and forth quite a bit. That said, I was able to enjoy much of the city during the 4 days I was in town. I don't recall the CL at Maida Vale, but I might have been Silver at the time and wouldn't have had access.
Another option you might consider it West India Quay. Others on this site have commented frequently on the value and the location.
I'm sure you'll get lots of advice on this topic especially from our British friends. Let us know where you end up.
Sounds like a great trip.
I Wouldn't really recommend either Regents Park or Maida Vale for a London tourist trip. A little extra can get you better positioned places.
Early April sees Maida Vale at £900 for 6 nights, Regents Park at £1000, Kensington (walking distance to museums) at £1100 and both Marble Arch and West India Quay at £1,200. Two surprise value shots are the very central St Ermins and the Grosvenor Square, coming in at the same price early April as West India Quay. Grosvenor Square or St Ermins would be my pick if your dates concide with the cheaper rates, if not then Kensington or Marble Arch. I know that all except St Ermins have exec lounges...
Its now daytime here and so I will add to my earlier comments:
Maida Vale is a pretty ordinary Marriott, in a fairly out-of-the-way location. It's not central, but Id say its probably a 30 minute journey from the door of the hotel to a central London location.
Regents Park is a longer walk to the tube, and really humdrum in a nothing location and to my mind would have to be substantially cheaper than Maida Vale to be a competitor here.
Kensington is the last of the cheaper London offerings and slightly better than the very ordinary twosome above. It does upgrade elites to larger room and for keen walkers has much going for it, location is nice and a short walk to the museums (Natural History, ScIence and the Victoria & Albert). A little more effort will get you to Hyde Park or Harrods. Nice exec lounge with good food offerings. I do like this hotel, it's my favourite of the Marriott "cheap seats" in London.
Marble Arch is the cheapest of the Central London Marriotts, it's immediate vicinity may be considered sketchy by some but it's only a 5 minute walk to Oxford Street, Marble Arch and the tube. Another ordinary Marriott.
St Ermins is an Autograph in an old building with a variety of rooms. Again upgrades elites well so you should avoid the smaller rooms, which is a good idea. No exec lounge but super-central location puts Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, Houses of Parliament and London Eye within a 15 minute walk. St James tube is practically next door.
West India Quay is the cheapest of the London 5 star Marriotts and although my experiences of room allocation have been disappointing, others have had better outcomes. The hotel is a very efficient modern well-run building with a good bar and restaurant and a nice exec lounge. Being at Canary Wharf it couldn't be called central to London, but it's literally next door to the DLR which connects to the tube.
FInally in the early-April cheapos we have Grosvenor Square, a location that demonstrates Marriotts commitment to America, being the nearest hotel to the US embassy! It's a surprise on this list as its one of the 5* Marriotts and is usually expensive, situated as it is on the edge of Mayfair and within easy walking distance of Oxford and Bond Streets, close to the tube and walking distance of several very well respected London Restaurants. Good exec lounge and upgrades elites well.
With all the other London Marriotts coming in at well over £1500 for your 6-night early April stay, I would say the best of these is Grosvenor Square...
That has got to be the best synopsis of London Marriott Hotels ever! And as a fellow UK MRI, I agree with every word. Although I will say I haven't stayed in all the hotels, I have at least walked past them all, so I can confirm the locale as brightly has said. Well done brightlybob
As brightlybob & bejacob have said, there are several options. It is no secret that I would always personally choose West India Quay. It is a modern hotel, in Canary Wharf, with a lovely executive lounge. It isn't, however in the centre of London. But wherever you go in London you need to use the underground, and it is no more difficult from WIQ than Maida Vale - in fact in a lot of respects it is easier. So a lot depends on whereabouts in London you want to stay.
Also bear in mind that Easter weekend is from 3rd to 6th April, so there are likely to be more tourists in Central London.
So many great responses to this! Props to everyone for your helpful insights! LondonBound2014, this sounds like such a great trip and I'm sure your niece is being excited! Since you've been a couple of times, do you have some sites already picked out to show her?
I would suggest staying at the Crowne Plaza London Kensington if you can afford a slightly higher priced Marriott because it's got far higher reviews than the two properties you mentioned and is only a few dollars more. It has a 'club' lounge and you may be able to upgrade to a club room. There are many 'free' attractions that are of interest in that area - museums mainly, but Harrods and the Albert Memorial are worth seeing (day and night). Kensington Palace is within walking distance. An Underground station is close by as are buses and tour buses. I think you'll feel like you're staying 'in' London more at this hotel because it's more central and transport will be better. I'd suggest looking into getting an Oyster Card and London Pass if you haven't already because both will save you money.
Thanks for all of the outstanding advice everyone. I've had a lot of life going on so I haven't really been focused on my trip planning lately, but I gotta get to it now because it's less than a month away! Looks like Kensington might be my best bet. I really would love to stay at County Hall, but its just too high. I could use that money for shopping. I rather enjoy London during Easter. It rained last year as I stood in line for Evensong at Westminster Abbey...which was actually very memorable. My niece and I going to have a lovely time wherever we stay. We'll probably mostly be on the go...all we've got on the itin now is London Dungeon and some countryside maze plus the regular Buckinghmam, Thames Cruise, and hopefully the Tower of London because I missed that the last couple of times.
Plenty of great advice in the thread. I was just in London 2wks ago, County Hall was amazing as always I can say that Kensington is a good option, but given some of your itinerary West India Quay is probably closer. I have stayed there a few times and got upgraded to the sail suite. Its a nice setup, quite a bit of room. As mentioned above the train is right outside and its a quick ride to the tower of London station. Also could make for an easy shot to the Olympic areas too if they were on the list.
If you are going with some points and some cash, perhaps you can leverage them for a nice upgrade
This was my view from County Hall, a nice balcony suite overlooking the city.
It's amazing that I'm still undecided on where to stay. Since I started this thread, some of the 5* Marriotts in central London have come wayyyy downn on the rates so now I'm caught between County Hall and Grosvenor Square. I have a res at Grosvenor House which considerably more than the other two and a little ways from the tube (from what i recall - I went to their steakhouse last time I was en Londre), but only because I think I'd have a better chance at a suite there. I have to admit zukracer's pic from County Hall brings back so many memories. I just loved it there. Still i kind of want to experience a different hotel. Oh, decisions, decisions!!
I read somewhere that the Autograph was an amazing property, even better than County Hall. I've been upgraded each time I've been to County Hall, all on points. I also was upgraded to a suite at the Grosvenor House. Between the two, the views from County Hall suites were infinitely better. The Grosvenor House, while a very nice and spacious suite (by UK standards) had less of a view...
I suspect getting one of those amazing view rooms with the park or the balcony at the GH would be near impossible as they seem to be fairly fully booked with plenty of people with means. Here's a parking lot view...there were 20+ of similar value parked in there and on the entry parking area.
And the tube is a few blocks walk from the Grosvenor. It's really not too bad a walk. The difference is that its on the Central line where the County Hall Westminster station is on Circle, District and Jubilee lines. You can connect certainly from that Marble Arch station but depending on where you are going it could take a few mins more to hop around.
Thanks for your further input. I think County Hall may be the choice. Even though that Westminster Station is just a madhouse always, the views from the hotel are amazing. And there is so much over in that area that I didn't explore last time I stayed there. I like that it's not far from a residential area where there are many conveniences.
No problem. The West India Quay should make the list too perhaps. It is in a little different area, but a nice place and easy to get around. More eastern and not quite the same views but depending on what you are looking to do and where, its nice. I've had the "curve suite" on my stays there as an upgrade. Pretty spacious if you can get one.
The view looking back west towards the Tower of London.
Here's the room
There's a full bath and bedroom back through that doorway. This room was just under the exec lounge so it was pretty quiet most of the time.