While it’s always fun to go away as a family of course, sometimes it’s nice to get away just as a couple too. My husband Alex and I hadn’t been away on our own for some time and with his birthday coming up, it seemed like the ideal time to take a weekend just for ourselves. So when I was offered the chance to review the Marriott County Hall, I jumped at it.
The hotel could barely be better located – right on the South Bank close to Tate Modern, the London Eye, National Theatre and many other key London attractions and a leisurely walk (or very short bus or tube ride if you are feeling lazy) from the West End. Our room had a view of the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye – lying in bed in the morning, we could hear Big Ben chime.
County Hall used to be home of the Greater London Council (GLC) and is a huge, stunning building with grand atriums, high ceilings and lots of wood panelling throughout the public areas. The bedrooms are a good size and equipped with everything you’d expect in a five-star hotel including especially comfortable beds and pillows which have made me determined to throw all my ancient ones out and buy new ones.
After a cocktail in the bar, which was exactly my kind of cocktail as it came with its very own extra nibbles (parmesan, celery and chutney), we had dinner in Gillray’s Steakhouse, the shape of which (long and narrow) means that most tables have views of the river.
Following starters of prawns and crab cakes which were almost large enough to be meals in themselves, we ordered the Wagyu beef which was the special meal of the day. Apparently Wagyu beef cows are a particularly prized breed of cows, very well looked after and even massaged (I wasn’t sure if the waiter was joking about this, but having looked it up, it seems he wasn’t), the meat is rich, marbled and incredibly tender. And it was fantastic.
Alex is usually very much a puddings person but by now we had eaten so much that he couldn’t even force himself to try the restaurant’s dessert speciality of trifle. However, luckily by the morning we were ready to enjoy the hotel’s fabulous hot and cold breakfast buffet, before heading out for shopping, lunch and an exhibition.
Returning absolutely exhausted at the end of the afternoon, I headed for the fifth and sixth floor where there is a 25 metre pool, gym, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi – it’s the biggest health complex in any hotel in London. I whiled away an hour or so in the sauna and steam room while Alex watched the rugby and after that, felt totally rejuvenated and ready to head out into town again.
Marriott County Hall has 200 rooms, making it quite a large hotel, but the friendliness and professionalism of the staff as well as its pleasingly curving corridors make it feel much more intimate than you might imagine. We saw several families with children of all ages in the hotel which offer rooms suitable for families and is right by the London Aquarium so in many ways, an ideal base for a family stay. We had an amazing time and hope to go back again in the future.
Family rooms for four at Marriot County Hall start around £311including breakfast.
Disclosure: Catherine and her husband ate and stayed as guests of Marriott County Hall.