I always find staying in hotels one of life’s most glorious luxuries. Especially if I find myself in a room on my own. Now don’t get me wrong, I love holidaying with Dexter but there’s something really decadent about spending the night alone in a hotel room. And a couple of weeks ago, I found myself doing just that.
Dexter was away for the week with his school and BritMums Live blogging conference was taking place that weekend. I was due to be speaking at the conference and had arranged a couple of meetings in London on the Thursday, and rather than travel home to Kent and get overly stressed, I thought I would stay in London that night.
The search for the perfect London hotel, especially when it’s a last minute one, is actually more complicated than you may think. I must have spent at least four hours scouring lastminute.com, booking.com etc. in the hope that I could find The One. Because you see, I am rather particular about the type of hotel I like. Don’t get me wrong, Premier Inn et al are absolutely fine, but I was looking for a little bit of luxury.
The Grange Wellington hotel seemed to fit the bill when I looked at their website and after speaking to the reservations department via telephone, their professionalism swayed me even more. I am a real sucker for excellent customer service and I’m always happy to pay good money for great service.
The hotel is a 10-minute walk from Victoria train station, which was perfect as I needed to get the tube first thing on Friday morning. I was welcomed by a friendly receptionist and the concierge came over to me straight away to ask if I would like my bags taken up to my room. Luckily, there wasn’t any of that ‘should you or shouldn’t you tip’ business as he took my bags up whilst I went out for lunch with a friend.
I came back from lunch (and an accidental mammoth shopping trip along Oxford Street), to find that I had been given a one bedroomed apartment on the second floor. It was stunning. I had an amazing view overlooking Vincent Square, a gorgeous green park that belongs to a local private school, which means that unfortunately you and I can’t go in it. But it sure is pretty to look at!
The room was massive … I mean absolutely huge. I joked to my friends when I shared the photo of my room that it was great because I could do all sorts of activities – a Stepbrothers reference that not everybody got! I did the first thing I always do in hotel rooms – I starfished the hell out of the bed!
By about 9pm, I began to get peckish and decided to order room service. The choice was varied and I plumped for a Brie and ham panini with chips. My body is a temple after all. The turnaround time was super quick and within 15 minutes my food had been delivered. Unfortunately, because it was so quick, the panini hadn’t been heated all the way through and was cold in the middle. Not the end of the world, and I know that if I had called Reception to complain, they wouldn’t have hesitated to replace it for me. However, my hunger got the better of me and I just ate the outside and the chips which, for the record, were lovely.
I was surprised when I went down for breakfast the next morning that it was buffet style because for circa £20 I had expected breakfast to be freshly cooked to order. Having said that, I did ask for poached eggs which didn’t take long at all to be cooked and were delicious. There was the usual range of continental breakfast items and hot food and, yet again, the staff were great – nothing was too much trouble.
One great addition to the room is a tablet on the desk which allows you to have access to the internet and to all of the services they provide. A 21st-century version of the information booklet! You can also control the air-conditioning from the tablet so that you never have to leave your bed.
There is a small gym on site which (fortunately) I didn’t have time to try out and facilities for meetings. There isn’t a spa here which is a shame, because I would have taken full advantage.
There were four spare hollow fibre pillows provided in the cupboard, in case you’re allergic to feathers, a safe, a mini-bar and tea/coffee-making facilities. It would have been nice to have had a spare extra blanket in there too but again, I’m sure if I had asked for one, it would have been provided. The TV was large and there was a good selection of channels, but a few of them didn’t have great reception and it meant missing out on the end of Passenger 57. Bad times indeed.
There was a bath and a shower, with several showerheads – I could have quite happily spent hours in there! The toiletries are bespoke Grange Hotel products called Ajala and they’re used across the hotel chain. Bathrobes and slippers are also provided.
There is a restaurant and a separate bar but I was too tired to try either out. I would have felt very comfortable going to the bar on my own though because a) it just doesn’t bother me going on my own as a single woman and b) it was a very ‘nice’ bar and I don’t think I’d have felt uncomfortable.
You would never know this hotel existed unless you knew where to look. It didn’t feel like I was staying in the middle of London, it was a little oasis of calm – huge bed, great views, fantastic service and if the only thing I can complain about is a tepid Panini, then they’re doing something right. I do, however, feel I should remind readers that I stayed in a one-bedroomed apartment with a great view, and I did pay for that luxury. I can’t comment on the executive or superior rooms, so it might be worth reading reviews of the type of room you are looking at.
I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and fingers crossed, I’ll get the chance to do so later on this year.