Review: JW Marriott Grosvenor House London

Room Type
Superior Twin Room
Elite Status
Marriott Titanium
Date
October 2022
Rating

In late October, I found myself in need of a place to stay in London following a trip to visit a friend in Bristol. I happened to be travelling with a friend, and on our return to London, we wanted to stay in a familiar and central locale with plenty of access to the city’s sites.

This time, I selected the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London, which is not to be confused with the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square just down the street.

Sadly, my time spent in hotels in the United Kingdom was one wherein the hard product consistently outperformed the soft, and I don’t feel that this property merits the premium it demands in either cash or points given its lack of polish.

While the hotel had superlative common areas and accessibility to the downtown core, we came to find that the service was seriously lacking for a luxury hotel.

In This Post

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Booking

The booking process itself was straightforward, and as I usually do, I booked the three-night stay via the Marriott mobile app.

The cash price of the Superior Twin Room was £579 a night, or about a whopping $900 (CAD)! I instead opted to use my Bonvoy points, and due to the death of dynamic pricing managed to secure the stay for 190,000 Bonvoy points, plus a £90 ($150 CAD) co-payment option.

While this may not have been the best value for using points, the eye-watering prices for London hotels, when even a mediocre room will run £300 ($500+ CAD) per night, encouraged me to bite the bullet.

If you’re planning on booking a cash stay at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London, be sure to get in touch with a qualified travel advisor with access to Marriott Luminous. You’ll pay the same as the best available refundable rate, but you’ll get a number of added perks, such as free breakfast, a $100 (USD) hotel credit, and priority for room upgrades.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Location

The JW Marriott Grosvenor House London is located in a historic building, Grosvenor House, located right off the street from the eponymous Grosvenor Square. The area is a centre of commercial and diplomatic life in downtown London.

 

Mayfair is home to a variety of world-class restaurants and shopping opportunities, and is walking distance from a variety of entertainment areas which we intended to partake in.

A glance at the above map will show you a number of London’s main landmarks that are within a stone’s throw from the hotel. Most notably, right across the street from the hotel is Hyde Park, a sprawling green space in the heart of the city.

Just down the road is Buckingham Palace and its environs, which make for a nice stroll when the weather cooperates. 

Marble Arch is the closest Tube station to the hotel, which gives you access to the rest of the London Underground.

Without traffic, you can get to the hotel from London Heathrow in around half an hour, although that is likely to be much longer during the day. By metro, you can reach the airport in around an hour on the Piccadilly line.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Check-in

My friend and I were greeted from the doors of our minicab by uniformed staff who helped us with our bags. This was excellent, and the hotel clearly had a lot of ancillary staff to support guest needs.

The entrance also impressed with its granite Victorian crenellations. The supercars casually parked in the valet section gave an idea as to the calibre of clientele.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Exterior
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Entrance
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Valet parking and entrance

The lobby area was equally grandiose, where marble, brass, and amber light combined to make the guest feel as if they’d just walked into one of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And the lounge chairs were plushy and genteel enough for Holmes and Watson, too.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Lobby lounge
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Lobby lounge

Next was a cursory stop at the front desk, where I was thanked for my Titanium status and offered the choice of 1,000 points or a $10 (USD) food and beverage voucher. I went for the voucher, and was also informed I had access to the Executive Lounge for breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening canapés (more on those later).

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Check-in desks

I took the keys and went up the delightfully retro elevators to the Superior Twin Room.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Elevators

I do need to raise a small gripe with the settling of my bill. As part of my booking, I had to pay £90 ($150 CAD) to upgrade to a Superior Twin Room.

I opted to pay via a Marriott gift card due because of their ease of acquisition via constant promotions, which the front desk photocopied.

However, the hotel didn’t charge my gift card for over a month and a half after I checked out. Even when they did charge the card, they had no record of the charges and weren’t able to provide me with an itemized receipt on request.

I understand that Marriott’s IT isn’t always the best, and that some confusion may have arisen with the gift card situation, but this felt a bit sloppy.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Superior Twin Room

One thing to remember when travelling abroad is that rooms are often a great dealer smaller than we’re used to in Canada. The Superior Twin Room was certainly no exception, and though it was sufficient to fit my friend and me, it was still a little small. The twin beds looked promising though.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Superior Twin Room bedroom
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Superior Twin Room bed and nightstand

The bedroom area also had a television and desk, though they were once again a tad cramped.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Superior Twin Room desk & TV

The TV also couldn’t stream content from a smartphone like those in newer hotels are now able to do. The living area had a closet with lots of space, given the overall compactness.

It even had a branded bathrobe and free slippers for those who like their swag.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Superior Twin Room closet
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Superior Twin Room closet amenities

The curtains concealed the views of the interior courtyard, which was dominated by what looked to be the hotel’s HVAC system. I can’t fault the hotel for wanting some natural light, and in places where real estate is at such a premium the lack of scenery can’t be held against the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Superior Twin Room curtains
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Superior Twin Room “courtyard” view

The bathroom was almost as large as the main bathroom, and featured a toilet, bidet, and a variety of yet more branded swag, all of which was appreciated. The marble and granite design made this room feel much nicer than the slightly tired bedroom.

The walk-in shower was also positively enormous.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Superior Twin Room bathroom
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Superior Twin Room walk-in shower
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Superior Twin Room toilet & bidet

While the room was overall nice, albeit a bit dated, I do need to make note of a problem with service at the hotel. I tried calling the front desk from the room’s phone multiple times on different days.

I think the front desk picked up once toward the end of my stay. I also tried calling on my cellphone when the in-room phone didn’t work and also didn’t receive a response.

One evening, I couldn’t reach the front desk at about 1am after the toilet, which had serious issues, overflowed. I had to physically go downstairs to get help, whereupon service was provided much more quickly.

In such a situation, I feel that it should be followed up on by the hotel staff, but I instead had to approach a manager to address the issue. I was offered a fruit basket or bottle of wine, and was only begrudgingly offered 10,000 Bonvoy points at my suggestion when I noted my stay was ending soon.

Given the high cash rates and obscene redemption costs, this felt like short thrift given the ongoing service issues with reaching the front desk, particularly at 1am.

The accoutrements of luxury, such as uniformed footmen to take your luggage to your room, don’t really elevate the hotel experience if basic issues like plumbing aren’t dealt with before guests check in, and ignored until they physically present themselves at the front desk.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Executive Lounge

My favourite part of my stay was the Executive Lounge because it provided a genuinely premium experience for elite members. The décor, the seating, and the fare were all at excellent standards, though maybe not as extravagant as what one might see in East Asia or Gulf countries. The opening hours were generous, too.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Executive Lounge invitation
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Executive Lounge entrance
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Executive Lounge check-in desk

As the lounge is accessible via key-card, I never encountered a lounge attendant checking for access requirements. Seating was plush and plentiful, and both were needed because of how full the lounge became with the business and diplomatic travellers who frequent the hotel.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Executive Lounge entrance & seating
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Executive Lounge seating

I went to the lounge for two meals: breakfast and evening canapés. While afternoon tea was also available, I was always about the town when it was served so can’t comment on its quality.

The breakfast and light supper, however, were both fantastic and the menu rotated each night so it was impossible to get bored or sick of the options.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Executive Lounge evening canapés
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Executive Lounge evening canapés

During dinner service, there were also free alcoholic beverages on demand from various beverage fridges, which helped keep costs down in a district as expensive as Mayfair.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Executive Lounge wine selection
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Executive Lounge beverage fridge

Of the two meals, the breakfast was much stronger. Not only was there a wider selection of fresh pastries, fruits, and hot foods, but there were also more staff present at breakfast to keep the lounge neat and tidy.

Overall, the lounge was the best part of the hotel, and definitely made me feel like the hotel was able to execute with some of its better strengths.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Other Facilities

The JW Marriott Grosvenor House London boasts a variety of excellent dining options. However, it’s also in the heart of Mayfair, which is also a short tube right from all the diverse restaurants which make London one of the crown jewels of global cuisine. I therefore decided to skip on the Starbucks found next to the lobby.

The lobby also boasted some luxury shopping opportunities, which were the kind of store where if you have to ask for the price of items, you probably can’t afford them. Needless to say, my shopping was of the strictly window variety.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Luxury shops
JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Luxury goods

Grosvenor House is famed for its separate ballroom, which hosted an awards show during my stay, but it was closed to the public so I never got to take a peak inside.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Ballroom entrance

There was also a tiny fitness centre, but it was apparently closed or undergoing some kind of repairs during my stay, so I never was able to see inside.

Conclusion

Overall, this hotel for me felt like an exercise in why products in world-class cities often don’t feel world-class themselves. The in-house luxury shopping and restaurants offer value to many of the hotel’s price-insensitive clients, while the common areas and location are beyond reproach.

The lounge was likewise excellent and offered tasty food and beverages for those nights when one can’t be bothered to spend anything extra. Surely, in Mayfair, you might not wish to.

Unfortunately, the room was much more dated than what the hotel’s prices should have demanded. Service was also lacking, as trying to reach the front desk was often a frustrating experience.

This isn’t to reproach the staff, who were professional and courteous in all their interactions with me, but unfortunately this shows that at hotels such as this, the price of admission doesn’t always guarantee the highest standards of service. For that, I was left disappointed.

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