In October, I had the pleasure of visiting the United Kingdom with my good friend Dan, who had decided to tag along to see a bit of London and visited one of our mutual friend who resides in Bristol.
Following a refreshing flight on British Airways’s signature Club World business class, it was time to go about the town. I’d already decided that the place we should stay was in the swanky Mayfair district at the centre of London, which is not for the faint of wallet.
The London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square fit our needs for centrality in London, accessible as it was by foot, transit, and taxi alike. The stay itself was quite decent, save for a truly awful check-in experience.
In This Post
London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square – Booking
Booking was made via the Marriott app, which is my preferred method of booking because it crashes less than the desktop website does. Prices for my dates were listed at about £329 ($525 CAD) for the one night I booked.
I didn’t feel like paying that much, but managed to find availability for a redemption of 55,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. I also applied a Suite Night Award to give myself the best chance of getting a larger room, as London hotels are often quite cramped due to the city’s limited space.
While my redemption was a hair under the target value of 1 cent per point from our Points Valuations, it did the trick of getting us a room in downtown London for $0, which was good enough. Fortunately, my Suite Night Award also cleared, and so I knew five days prior to check-in that the room was going to be a One Bedroom Suite.
If you’re heading to the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square and plan on paying cash for your stay, be sure to get in touch with a travel advisor with access to Marriott Luminous. You’ll pay the same as the best available refundable rate, but you’ll enjoy a suite of benefits, such as free breakfast, a room upgrade, and more.
Book a hotel stay with Prince of Travel through Marriott Luminous and enjoy exclusive additional benefits at no cost to you, including:
- Daily breakfast for two guests
- Room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
- Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
- Welcome amenity
- $100 (USD) property credit at select properties
- Third, Fourth, or Fifth Night Free at select properties
London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square – Location
The hotel, as its name would suggest, is located right next to Grosvenor Square in Mayfair. This neighbourhood is a hub of the business and diplomatic communities of London, and comes with the price tags to match.
Mayfair is also home to many historic buildings, such as the former headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and both an official embassy and consulate of Brazil, which tickled the fancy of my Brazilian travel companion Dan to no end.
The sprawling Hyde Park is just down the street from the hotel, offering a lovely green space in the middle of the bustling city.
Royal enthusiasts can bask in the opulence of Buckingham Palace and its environs, which is within walking distance of the hotel.
Accessing the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square is easy, as the closest Tube station is Bond Street.
From London Heathrow, you’ll need around 45 minutes either by transit or by car, depending on traffic.
London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square – Check-in
Dan and I arrived at the hotel following an exhausting overnight flight from Rio de Janeiro. While British Airways’s service was impeccable, there was nothing the pilots could do to alleviate the heavy turbulence we experienced crossing the equator.
So when we arrived, we were in less than stellar moods. Fortunately, we were able to take the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, and from there, a reasonable cab fare to the hotel.
The building’s red brick classical design gave a good first impression, but as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. This was where things started falling apart.
When we arrived around 3pm, we were informed by the front desk that they couldn’t guarantee rooms would be ready prior to 3pm, and asked us to wait. I also was told they’d selected giving me 1,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for my welcome amenity.
I wasn’t thinking clearly, but should have stood my ground under Marriott’s elite guarantees, as hotel staff making unilateral decisions for elite members defeats the entire purpose of becoming Titanium. However, it was a long flight, I was hangry, and didn’t want to lose my temper so early into this leg of the journey.
So, no problem, off my friend and I went for a post-flight gorge down the street at the Mayfair Chippy. I admit it’s touristy to immediately scarf fish and chips as a first act in London, but we’d barely slept and were adjusting to the time zone shock.
Upon our return around 45 minutes later, the room still wasn’t ready. I was annoyed, but wanted to take pictures of the front desk.
This was when I was asked politely not to take pictures of the front desk as staff were at work. I respected the decision, but wasn’t certain if this was a real policy or just because they suspected I might be grouchy.
Regardless, Dan and I sat down for another 30 minutes and chatted.
At 4pm, the room still wasn’t ready. This wasn’t good, so we went to the lounge to relax (the lounge, by the way, was excellent, but more on that later).
When we returned at 4:30pm, the room still wasn’t ready. I received a lot of apologies from the staff, but not much in the way of a ready One Bedroom Suite. Finally, at 5pm, the room was ready, and we entered via the tired-looking elevators.
By this point in time I was too tired to argue, but it really stuck out like a sore thumb just how bad the check-in process was. I didn’t want it to dampen my mood of the room, though, which was quite nice and spacious by London standards, if perhaps a bit worn down.
London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square – One Bedroom Suite
Give credit where credit’s due: despite the poor check-in experience, the staff gave us good assistance in getting our bags to the room, and the room itself was quite nice and fully stocked with a one of the nicest array of free amenities than I’ve seen at most hotels.
The striking blue and white colour scheme distracted a little from the chipped plaster and worn edges one could see; however, given the age of the hotel and its high usage, this can be forgiven. There was also a spacious closet in the entry hall with some bathrobes, as well as a buffet and minibar with complimentary bottled water and chocolates.
The main living area was enormous by London standards, boasting a desk, a dining table with chairs, a lounging sofa area, a bar top, and a television. I know this sounds normal by North American standards, but it was the largest hotel room I’ve ever been in in Europe!
Unfortunately, the television could not stream via smartphones, but it did have an English TV license so the BBC was available. The couch, on the other hand, folded out into a large and comfy bed.
As for the actual bedroom, the king bed was in a large room of its own, though I wasn’t sure if it was a North American king or actually more of a queen bed. Either way, it was soft and comfortable and I collapsed into it immediately after snapping the photos in this review.
It also featured a pleasant view overlooking Mayfair.
The bathroom was by far the nicest part of the suite, as it featured an all-white marble interior, generous walk-in shower, various premium amenities, and lots of space. The flow rate of the water was also perfect, which I’d been a bit concerned about as the hotel is on the older side, but I’m happy to report that we had no issues.
Once again, let’s give credit where it’s due: the amenities were some of the nicest I’ve ever seen, and generous in portions, too. Given the lower price-point of this Marriott to other luxury properties in downtown London, it was refreshing to be provided with these accoutrements.
London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square – Executive Lounge
Without a doubt, the best part of the hotel was my experience at the Executive Lounge. While the check-in process was needlessly delayed, the lounge almost made up for it both on the night that I arrived and the morning after during breakfast.
The evening I attended, there was all-you-can-enjoy self-poured beer, as well as plentiful packets of chips (or “crisps” as they say across the pond), and lots of space to sit down and relax.
Following the long flight, front desk issues, and just general frustration, all of these felt like they were sent straight from heaven. Even though the Executive Lounge is in the basement, don’t let that dissuade you!
I was informed the lounge was open every day, with breakfast from 7am–10:30am, and snacks and drinks in the evening from 4:30–8pm. Better yet, non-alcoholic beverages and small snacks were available all day every day.
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The breakfast was actually one of the better ones I experienced during the trip, and for my money it may have even beat out the more up-market JW Marriott London Grosvenor House just down the street. It consisted both of every type of fruit and pastry one can imagine, as well as a full English breakfast setup complete with tomatoes and baked beans for hot food.
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This might be verboten on this side of the pond, but I think I’ve been turned into a convert of English-style, non-stringy bacon. The salt and fat contents are pure greasy delight!
Overall, the lounge was a completely contrasting experience to check-in, and the staff who worked in the lounge were much friendlier.
London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square – Dining
The hotel is home to both The Luggage Room, a speakeasy-style bar, as well as Lucky Cat, a Gordon Ramsay-backed restaurant.
Personally, I had neither the energy nor the monetary inclination toward either, but thought it was worth mentioning for the fullness of this review.
I love Kitchen Nightmares as much as anyone else, but in a city as sprawling as London, there is more than one celebrity chef whose restaurants one can patronize after all.
In terms of the pure hard product, I found the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square to be satisfactory.
While the room was a little bit worn, and the elevators and stairwells showed their age, there was nothing wrong with the rooms in any way. Plus, the actual amenities offered and the size more than made up for any wear-and-tear.
However, my frustration has to have come with the check-in process. Not having a room available for a customer, even if it is an upgrade, at the allotted time is not acceptable, least of all when charging over $500 (CAD) a night. Moreover, elite benefits shouldn’t be chosen for Bonvoy members before they even arrive.
The lesson I learned from this is that it’s OK to fight for your own benefits once in a while. All this being said, the full English breakfast really hit the spot.
Nice review, entertaining read for sure. Thanks