After a refreshing shower and quite bite at the Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow, I made my way into the city. This time, my journey took me right to the heart of London, as I headed to the London Marriott Hotel County Hall, where I’d enjoy a one-night stay.
I’d been very excited about this stay for a while, as the hotel has a prime location right on the River Thames, overlooking Westminster and the iconic Big Ben. The hotel wound up being an excellent blend of old-school luxury with some modern renovations, and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay.
Had I been able to, I would’ve easily spent a few more nights here. Let’s have a look at the experience.
In This Post
- River Thames View King Guest Room
- Executive Lounge
- Other Facilities
London Marriott Hotel County Hall – Booking
When I was planning my trip earlier in the year, I was fortunate to find availability under a travel agent rate. London tends to be a difficult place to find heavily discounted rates, so I was very pleased to find the London Marriott Hotel County Hall available during my dates.
Regular cash rates hover between £300–600 ($443–886 CAD), depending on the time of the year. London certainly isn’t a cheap place to visit, and paying full price for this hotel isn’t an exception.
As it happens, the hotel was nearly completely booked during my stay, due to the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II. The cash rates for dates around my arrival were heavily inflated, up to £800–900 ($1,182–1,330 CAD) per night for a base-level room.
If booking with points, the costs tend to hover between 80,000–100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. With our current valuation of Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.9 (CAD) cents per point (cpp), a points booking can be a reasonable alternative to the hefty cash rates at the higher end of the range.
London Marriott Hotel County Hall – Location
For London, it doesn’t get much better than this. Situated in the former home to local government, the London Marriott County Hall is perched on the south side of the River Thames.
From most windows in the hotel, you have sweeping views of Big Ben, Westminster, and the London Eye.
For sightseeing, the hotel is very ideally situated. A short walk across Westminster Bridge takes you to Westminster Hall, where you can get your picture in front of Big Ben or explore the epic structures of Westminster.
Buckingham Palace and its surrounding parks are lovely places to spend time. Luckily, it’s only a 20 minute walk from the hotel.
Just beyond Buckingham Palace, you’ll find Hyde Park, a sprawling Royal Park that connects Kensington Palace with Buckingham Palace through Green Park.
Following along the River Thames, you’ll eventually reach the Tower Bridge, which is 45 minutes by foot or 25 minutes by transit from the hotel. It also makes for a nice run, should you be so inclined.
Connecting to public transportation is a breeze, with Westminster station just across the river, and Waterloo station a few minutes away on the same side of the river. You can get to anywhere in the city in a matter of minutes.
London Heathrow Airport is around an hour’s journey by transit, while getting to London City Airport is around 36 minutes by public transportation. London Gatwick is accessible by train in about 50 minutes.
London Marriott Hotel County Hall – Check-in
I arrived at the hotel absurdly early, due to my flight’s arrival time of 6:30am. While I tried to delay my arrival as much as possible, I found myself walking through the hotel’s arched entrance around 9am.
As I entered, the hotel’s staff greeted me and directed me to the check-in area. Immediately upon entering, there is a separate lobby lounge, where you can enjoy a hot beverage, speak with a concierge, and peruse an art exhibit.
The check-in desks are just down the hall from the entrance. Due to high occupancy, and as I suspected, my room wasn’t ready for me at that point.
The staff offered to hold my bags until the room was ready, and also prepared me a key card for the Executive Lounge.
While it wasn’t a big deal, I found the check-in experience to be surprisingly casual. Furthermore, the same was true when I interacted with staff on the chat function on the Marriott Bonvoy app.
I was grateful to have a quiet place to rest and eat as I awaited my room’s preparation. I wound up wrapping up some work, had a bite to eat, and went for a stroll so I could try to stay awake.
Around two and a half hours later, I checked with the front desk, and sure enough, my room was ready.
I booked into a base level room, and both my Suite Night Award request and my meagre attempts at “suite-talking” weren’t fruitful. Due to the hotel being fully occupied with many people who are much more important than me, I couldn’t score an upgrade from the base level room.
Excited about the prospect of sleep, I headed through the hotel’s charming hallways and up to my room, with the intention of swan diving into the king bed.
London Marriott Hotel County Hall – River Thames View King Guest Room
I was assigned room 242 on the second floor of the hotel. The curved hallways are lined with very British wallpaper in some sections, which offered a nice accent.
Upon first glance, I was pleasantly surprised at the modern look of my room. Sometimes, staying in Marriott hotels results in some seriously old-school decorations, but luckily this wasn’t the case here.
Upon entering, there is an alcove immediately to the left of the door. I’m not sure what function it serves, but I suppose you could store luggage here if you wanted to.
Moving in further, there’s a buffet on the left wall, which houses the Nespresso coffee maker, some glassware, and a tea kettle.
The room then opens up into the bedroom, where a king bed sits between two side tables. A glass lamp hangs from the ceiling on the left, offering a nice lighting accent to the room.
A large flatscreen television rests above a dresser opposite the bed, with some quirky artwork hanging nearby. Next to the television is a comfortable armchair and a desk, that appears to have been a school desk at some point in the past.
I liked this touch, as it was reflective of the hotel’s mix of old and new.
The wallpaper that adorns some of the walls featured old maps of London. It was neither plain nor loud, and contributed well to the overall aesthetic of the room.
Along the wall beside the bed are two closets. In one, you’ll find bathrobes, an umbrella, and an ironing board, and in the other, you’ll find some storage.
The view from the room’s single window couldn’t be more iconic. I enjoyed gazing out at the throngs of people walking, running, and biking along the Thames, all with Big Ben in the background.
Keeping with the room’s design, the bathroom was also freshly renovated. The white subway tiles gave the bathroom a bright, fresh look.
In the bathroom, a toilet is tucked away in the corner. There is a large vanity in the middle of the room, which came equipped with Molton Brown amenities, which were quite nice.
The rain shower was very refreshing, and also visually appealing. The bathroom took up a good portion of the room, but it was nice to have plenty of space both in and out of the room.
After freshening up, I headed down for a few hours of sleep before I went to meet up with an old friend in Marylebone.
London Marriott Hotel County Hall – Breakfast
Breakfast is served in The Library, located on the hotel’s ground floor. The room is lined with bookcases, and I overheard that the books are actually protected items, given the hotel’s history.
I was shown to a table next to a window, which again offered a fantastic view for breakfast.
With my Platinum Elite status, I was treated to one item from the cold menu and one item from the hot menu, as well as complimentary hot and cold drinks.
Naturally, I opted for the full English breakfast, which would become a theme throughout my time in London. I also enjoyed a smoothie, freshly squeezed orange juice, and a lovely cappuccino.
The wait staff were very professional, and I enjoyed my interactions with them. My breakfast arrived around 10 or 15 minutes after I ordered, and I savoured every bite as I looked out across the Thames.
The Library is a lovely space, and I took a few minutes to walk around before heading out for the day. I’d love to peruse the bookshelves more during my next visit here, as I’m sure there are some gems.
London Marriott Hotel County Hall – Executive Lounge
Prior to checking in, and indeed throughout my stay, I spent quite a bit of time in the Executive Lounge. Located on the hotel’s fifth floor, the room offers a quiet place to work or relax, with great food and drink options.
I set up at a table with a fantastic view a few times throughout my stay.
There are light snacks here throughout the day, as well as a fancy Nespresso machine for a hit of caffeine whenever needed. You’ll also find some cold soft drinks in a fridge.
In the evening, the lounge plays host to evening hors d’oeuvres and complimentary beverages. The staff running the evening service were excellent, coming by to take orders and generally being professional, with a good sense of humour.
I enjoyed a light snack and a glass of British sparkling wine before heading out to meet my friend. I appreciated having some choices available, which I could either select from a QR code menu or by interacting with the staff.
In the morning, there wasn’t much in the Executive Lounge, even though I’d been told that there would be some options. Since a much more elaborate breakfast is served in The Library, I just came up to check it out before I went for a morning run.
One thing I’ve noticed about lounges in the recent past is that there are plenty of remote workers and digital nomads who set up shop here for the day. This was indeed the case during my stay, as there was a team of people setting up for an upcoming TED Talk event at the hotel.
London Marriott Hotel County Hall – Other Facilities
The London Marriott Hotel County Hall has one of the most impressive fitness centres I’ve come across throughout my travels. It’s located on the sixth floor of the hotel, with access from the fifth floor adjacent to the Executive Lounge.
In the fitness centre lobby, hotel staff will check you in and provide you with towels. This also serves at the entry point to the hotel’s spa, where you can book various treatments.
You’ll find pretty much anything you’d need to work up a sweat in the fitness centre. On the far end, you’ll find a spinning area, a place to stretch out or do an ab workout, and a punching bag.
In the middle section, you’ll find an array of cardio and strength training machines. There are treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical machines, and strength-training machines.
And in the section nearest to the change room, you’ll find dumbbells, a squat rack, and some benches.
After my run, I came up here to stretch out. The hotel offers a paid fitness centre membership program, which I believe plenty of people make use of.
In the change room, there are lockers available for guests to store their items while they use the facilities. You’ll also find a great sauna tucked in between the lockers and the showers.
Much to my delight, there is a small lounging area in the change room with a television, where you can relax after sitting in the sauna. I spent some time here, but also cooled down on a small outdoor balcony, which had an incredible view of the hotel, the Thames, and many of London’s most renowned landmarks.
It appears that there also used to be a hot tub by the sauna, but it has since been built over.
You’ll find a swimming pool through a series of doors from the change rooms. While it never got busy, there was always at least one person using it whenever I popped by.
Aside from the Library, you can dine at Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar, which is also located on the hotel’s ground floor. Whenever I stopped by to check it out, the head waiter asked me not to take pictures, as the rooms were full of (possibly very important) guests.
I enjoyed walking throughout the hotel, following the labyrinth of hallways, staircases, and doors. If you have the chance, I’d recommend trying this, too, as you’ll catch plenty of thoughtful details in the wallpaper and decorations.
My stay at the London Marriott Hotel County Hall was great, and I hope to come back for a longer stay in the future. The overall aesthetic of the hotel was much to my liking, with a balanced mix of old and new.
Aside from the ideal location, I found that elite benefits also went a long way here. The offerings in the Executive Lounge were strong, and having breakfast at the Library with an outstanding view was one of the highlights of my stay in London.
I hope to score an upgrade to a suite next time I’m here, and that would have made what was an otherwise solid stay even better. I imagine the entire world won’t be converging on the city for a once-in-a-lifetime event next time I’m there, so hopefully that increases my odds of an upgrade.