Hey there! Welcome to JetsettingBen. Just so you know all views are my own and do not reflect those of any organisation. For any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.
It’s been over six months since I was last on an aircraft, therefore I’m not quite sure I can keep the JetsettingBen name at the moment. That being said, this past week I actually left my hometown of Brighton for the very first time and embarked on something I have rarely experienced before… a staycation.
For a lot of people, the thought of visiting London was shrouded with concerns of “how safe is the city” in the fight against Covid-19; especially after recent photos of social distancing being ignored in certain boroughs. But as the weeks have passed, things seemed to have settled down and I felt comfortable to visit.
Tourism makes London and so it would come as no surprise that hotels are gradually re-opening and are offering heaps of incentives to encourage visitors to the metropolis. From free room upgrades, inclusive dining and partnerships with attractions – it’s a time when the conventional hotel pricing model has literally been thrown out of the window. You can even stay in some of the top 5-star hotels for less than £150 a night. Crazy.
Today I’d like to share with you my recent stay at the Marriott County Hall, a 5-star property in the heart of the city.
I was a guest of Marriott Luxury Brands, however all views are my own.
London Marriott County Hall
Nestled along the bustling South Bank, the Marriott County Hall is situated in what was the city’s former City Hall. You’ve got unobstructed views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben which are located just the other side of the River Thames. The nearest underground stations are Westminster, Waterloo or Embankment- all within a 15-minute walk of the hotel.
County Hall is huge, the entire property (which features a lot of different establishments) sports over seven miles of corridors!
The location is perfect and it is so easy to get around London. For me it is also quite sentimental since I was actually born at St Thomas’ Hospital which is directly opposite the front entrance of the hotel….now you know why I am called Ben!
Like all hotels, Marriott International have implemented a set of practices and protocols to help ensure guests during their stay. You can expect enhanced cleaning, physical distancing and mobile everything (check-in, menu’s etc). It’s worth noting that face coverings are requested to be worn at all times in public areas, except when you are eating or drinking – I don’t have a problem with that at all, but it’s proved a little controversial on social media.
You can read more about Marriott’s commitment to making travel safe right here, including news on their tier flexibility and status extensions for Bonvoy Members.
County Hall was actually the one of the Marriott properties to re-open in London following restrictions being eased. Although occupancy is still low, it is good to see things opening up again. Post pandemic recovery is going to be slow for many businesses, but that is nothing short of expected.
Deluxe King Guest Room
I was booked into a Deluxe King Guest Room, which is the entry-level category offered at the hotel. County Hall boasts some of the largest standard guest rooms in London and the size varies between 323 and 484 square-feet depending on location within the hotel. My room was located on the 4th floor and was a good size. With two large windows, it felt bright and airy.
The hotel was renovated in late 2016 but the rooms felt literally brand new. There is a stylish seating area with a comfy armchair, sofa and an old-school desk. You’ll find a large HD TV, Nespresso coffee machine, kettle and all the other mod-cons you’d expect from a 5-star establishment. I was pleased to see a packet of hand-sanitising wipes available for my use and I could request additional face coverings should I require one.
If you have read some of my other hotel reviews, you know that I feel very strongly about having adequate lighting and I am pleased to say there is that; alongside an ample number of power outlets (no USBs though). The marble bathroom felt quite spacious too and featured a walk-in shower, with amenities provided by Molton Brown. Those may have found their way into my cabin case, souvenirs for my mum!
I had a view overlooking Jubilee Gardens and the London Eye, which was very cool. The attraction opened over 20-years ago (I feel very old) and is now sponsored by LastMinute.com… think of that what you will. I loved my guest room, however it is a fair stroll from the elevators; therefore if you have difficulty walking (or fear you may get lost after a few drinks), do request a room closer to the lobby and hotel facilities!
Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar
Gillray’s is the name of the main restaurant at the Marriott London County Hall. As the name suggests it’s a steakhouse and boasts about serving up locally sourced, seasonal produce. I was intrigued to learn the majority of products are sourced from within a 150-mile radius of the restaurant. I love places that do things like this.
I visited the restaurant for dinner and enjoyed something a little different… Gillray’s Yorkshire Pudding Club.
Essentially it’s 125g of sliced Sirloin Steak, Streaky Bacon, Tomato Chutney, a Fried Egg and Red Wine Jus served in a giant Yorkshire Pudding, yum! At £18 it wasn’t bad value at all. Sadly I don’t have a photograph as I was starving and devoured my meal. Maybe I’ll have to return for research purposes…
Something to quench your thirst after all those Carbs? Well Gillray’s boasts a collection with more than 100 Gin’s, that really isn’t a typo… there were 135 varieties of Gin to be exact on the date I visited. P.S. it’s Happy Hour between 6-7pm, with specific drinks for only £5 each!
The large indoor swimming pool was open during my stay alongside the fitness centre, but I preferred to go for a stroll/short run along the South Bank. The Library re-opened this week which is another great place to relax, however it’s worth noting the Executive Club Lounge remains closed for now. Elsewhere I love all the quirky artwork around the hotel. This feature wall is made up of Penguin book covers. I wish I could have this at home!
The hotel is literally a hop, skip and a jump away from several of London’s top attractions, the South Bank and basically… everything! If you haven’t explored London before, several of those tour buses (you know who) stop right outside the main entrance of the hotel – perfect or what?!
Offers to tempt you…
As part of Marriott International’s “Welcome Back” promotion, the hotel chain are offering some fantastic deals. You can take advantage of either 25% off and a free breakfast, or a complimentary room upgrade and daily resort credit. Both offers are available to book right now for stays before October 30. These offers are for Marriott Bonvoy members, but if you aren’t a member yet – you can easily sign-up here.
I was a guest of Marriott Luxury Brands, however all views are my own.
Do continue to stay safe, well and healthy. If ever you need anything, drop me a tweet @JetsettingBen.