Review: Montcalm East London, Marriott Autograph Collection

Room Type
Junior Suite Dreams
Elite Status
Marriott Platinum
Date
September 2022
Rating

 

During a trip to Europe that started in London, I stayed at the Montcalm East London, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel. I hadn’t been to this part of London before, so I was happy to explore a new part of the city.

When I was searching for hotels, I was attracted to the Montcalm East because of its interesting design and some of the hotel’s amenities, including a sauna and hot tub.

Most parts of my stay were very pleasant, and the hotel was an interesting place to explore.

Montcalm East London – Booking

London isn’t an easy place to score a deal for a hotel, or much else for that matter. After a finding an excellent travel agent rate at the London Marriott Hotel County Hall, I was lucky to find a similar bargain at the Montcalm East for a base-level Anything but Standard room.

Cash prices range from around £150 ($232 CAD) in low season to around £300 ($464 CAD) per night in high season. Throughout the year, the average cost runs around £225 ($348).

If booking with Marriott Bonvoy points, expect to part with 45,000–60,000 points per night. Based on our current valuation of 0.9 cents per point, you may be better off paying cash for a cheaper rate, and using points if the price is above the norm.

If you can take advantage of the Fifth Night Free on a redemption at the lower end of the range, you’d be able to get decent value out of your Bonvoy points in what is otherwise a very expensive city.

Montcalm East London – Location

The Montcalm East is located in Shoreditch, an area of London north of the Thames. 

A 20-minute walk from the hotel will bring you to Brick Lane, home to a number of thriving vintage shops, delicious curries, and street food.

The Tower of London is only 20 minutes by transit or a leisurely 40-minute walk, which will take you through the City of London.

Take a stroll along the nearby Regent’s Canal and grab a coffee or a snack at one of the many stalls that line the canal. It’s also a great spot for a morning run. 

The Barbican Centre, a performing arts venue, is close to the Montcalm East. You’ll arrive in only 15 minutes by transit or on foot, or a quick five minute taxi ride.

The nearest underground station is Old Street, which is on the Northern Line. Exploring the city is very easy from here, and you can get to most places in under 30 minutes.

You’ll enjoy easy access to many of London’s airports from the hotel. London Heathrow Airport is around an hour and a half by transit, London City Airport is only 36 minutes away, and London Gatwick Airport is over two hours by transit or an hour and a half by car.

Montcalm East London – Check-in

As you approach the hotel, you’ll be struck by the iconic diamond shape of the building. It stands out amongst other structures in the area, and sets the tone for the hotel’s unique designs throughout.

Montcalm East London – Exterior
Montcalm East London – Exterior

I arrived at the hotel in the late afternoon, after making my way over from Westminster. There are two entrances to the hotel, with one taking you through the ground floor restaurant Moor and Mead, and the other leading you directly to the check-in desks.

Montcalm East London – Moor and Mead entrance
Montcalm East London – Main entrance

I happened to enter through Moor and Mead, and took note of the open design of the space. As I searched for the check-in desks, I passed through a cozy looking lobby lounge and then through an illuminated archway, which lead me to where I wanted to go.

Montcalm East London – Lobby lounge
Montcalm East London – Lobby lounge
Montcalm East London – Illuminated archway

It was oddly pleasant to walk through this, and I found myself purposely routing through it during my stay at the Montcalm East. I imagine it’s a great place for anyone to snap a snazzy photograph.

I had attempted to “suite-talk” in the days leading up to my stay, but I was told via chat that all suites were accounted for, despite the Marriott Bonvoy app telling me otherwise. Sure enough, during check-in I was advised that I’d been upgraded to a Junior Suite Dreams room, which was great.

Montcalm East London – Check-in desks

If you can, try to “suite-talk” your way into a Sky High room, located on the hotel’s top two floors. Apparently, these rooms have unobstructed views of the city, as they’re located above any of the adjacent buildings.

The check-in staff acknowledged my Platinum Elite status, let me know about breakfast being included, and offered me the choice between 1,000 Bonvoy points or a $10 (USD) food and beverage credit as my welcome amenity. After being handed my keys, I made my way over the elevators and headed up to my room.

Montcalm East London – Elevators

Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams

Continuing with the theme of unique designs, I was struck by the juxtaposition of darkness with bright white lights in the hallways. For a second, it felt as though I was in a bank heist of some sort.

Montcalm East London – Hallway

I was also pleasantly surprised to see a still and sparkling water tap in the hallway. I much prefer to refill my glass from a tap, rather than going through a number of plastic bottles when on holiday.

Montcalm East London – Water taps

As I opened the door to Room 1114, I noticed that the room felt very dark, just as the hallways did. The oddly-shaped windows the room didn’t leave a lot of room for daylight, but I suppose this is part of the overall aesthetic of the hotel.

Montcalm East London – Room 1114
Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams room overview

In the room’s foyer, you’ll find a tall black closet nestled against the wall. On one side, I found a nice, plush bathrobe and slippers that read “Perfectly Imperfect”.

Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams room overview
Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams bathrobe

On the other side is a minibar, coffee maker, and refrigerator. The hotel had teas from the London Tea Company, as well as compostable pods from Flying Horse Coffee for the coffee maker.

Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams coffee maker

Immediately next to the minibar area is a desk, with USB ports and universal plugs nearby. I spent quite a bit of time working at the desk, and found it to be a comfortable space for what I needed.

Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams desk
Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams desk outlets

The queen bed took up most of the space in the bedroom part of the suite. It was tucked in its own nook, with controls for the electronic blinds and the many lights just near the side tables.

Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams bedroom
Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams bed
Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams automatic curtain & lighting controls

An orange couch rested near the largest window, close to the large flat-screen TV. On the other side of the TV, a small blue plush chair came with a pillow adorned with an eye pattern.

Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams couch
Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams TV & plush chair
Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams plush chair

The bathroom’s most remarkable feature was heated floors, which is a feature that I most certainly appreciate. Otherwise, the bathroom was fairly standard, with a toilet nested behind the door, a shower, and a bright, illuminated vanity.

Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams bathroom
Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams toilet
Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams bathroom amenities

A couple hours after check-in, the on-duty manager popped by with some virgin cocktails, some snacks, and a welcome note. I’m not sure if this was an afterthought because they’d missed the welcome gift before, or if this is standard practice.

Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams welcome gift

The room suited all of my needs, but I wasn’t completely blown away either by the design of the room or by the amenities. For me, the lack of natural light in the room was the biggest drawback, but I’m sure other rooms have larger windows.

Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams windows

I still could enjoy a decent view of London, even though it rained during most of the daylight hours of my visit.

Montcalm East London – Junior Suite Dreams view

Montcalm East London – Breakfast

After a morning run along Regent’s Canal, I showered up and made my way down for breakfast. Breakfast is served on the second level, above Moor and Mead. 

Montcalm East London – Staircase to breakfast area

I took a spiral staircase up to the breakfast area, and was shown to a table set against a glass enclosure near the bar. It was a great spot to do some people watching on the bustling street below.

Montcalm East London – Breakfast area seating
Montcalm East London – Breakfast area seating
Montcalm East London – Breakfast area seating

After placing an order for a cappuccino, I headed over to the buffet area to scope out the offerings. I was pleasantly surprised to find a wide swath of options, which included smoked salmon, charcuterie, pastries, cereals, bread, and a hot buffet with various English breakfast components.

There are also a few options for juices, as well as a made-to-order egg station. 

I wound up ordering an omelette, and then stocked up with items from the rest of the buffet. My intention was to tide myself over until the evening, and I was successful in that endeavour.

Montcalm East London – Breakfast spread
Montcalm East London – Omelette
Montcalm East London – Cappuccino

The quality of the food was solid, and overall, I enjoyed the breakfast. It wasn’t the best breakfast I’ve had at a hotel, but it was far from the worst. 

The staff were great at checking in on me and asking if I’d like another cappuccino. I spent a bit of extra time wrapping up some work here, and it was kind of them to keep touching base with me.

Montcalm East London – Other Facilities

The Montcalm East prominently displays its pool on the Marriott website, and I was sure to check it out during my stay. It’s located on the bottom floor of the hotel, one level below the ground level.

In the main area, you’ll find a hot tub, a swimming pool, and some comfortable lounge chairs dotted throughout. 

Montcalm East London – Pool area
Montcalm East London – Hot tub

An “Experience Room” is located just behind the hot tub. I wasn’t quite sure of what to make of the room, as it just had a few lounge chairs in it, which I suppose would be a nice place to relax.

Montcalm East London – Experience room
Montcalm East London – Experience room

In the rear of the pool area, you’ll find a spacious sauna and a circular steam room. I enjoyed a few rounds in both, before cooling down under the waterfall in the swimming pool.

Montcalm East London – Sauna & steam room
Montcalm East London – Pool waterfall

The fitness centre is located on the same level as the pool. It was a modest space, with enough equipment to suit most needs, but by no means was it comprehensive.

Montcalm East London – Fitness centre
Montcalm East London – Fitness centre
Montcalm East London – Fitness centre

Between the fitness centre and the pool area is the Montcalm East’s spa rooms. They’re named after local artists, and you can arrange for treatments at the spa’s check-in area, which also has a small shop.

Montcalm East London – Spa treatment rooms
Montcalm East London – Spa shop

After check-in, I spent some time in Moor and Mead on the main level, sampling a couple of the local beers from their excellent beer list. Again, I took note of the interesting designs in the area, such as a hanging table and a quasi-living room.

Montcalm East London – Moor and Mead seating
Montcalm East London – Moor and Mead seating
Montcalm East London – Moor and Mead seating

Feeling peckish, I ordered a Margherita pizza and a pint of Camden IPA. The pizza cost £10.50 ($16 CAD), which was a decent bargain for a London hotel, and the beer was excellent.

Montcalm East London – Moor and Mead bar
Montcalm East London – Moor and Mead beer taps
Montcalm East London – Moor and Mead pizza & beer

The upstairs portion of Moor and Mead also has a bar and a range of other seating areas. I didn’t get a chance to make use of this during my stay.

Montcalm East London – Moor and Mead upper bar
Montcalm East London – Moor and Mead upper area seating
Montcalm East London – Moor and Mead upper area seating

The hotel also features a Photo Lab, which you can arrange to visit through the front desk. I didn’t visit it during my stay, but if you have the inkling to print off some Polaroids during your stay, you can do that as you check out a photography exhibit. 

The majority of my interactions with the hotel staff were excellent. In particular, Dani was very helpful in figuring out why my room key wouldn’t work, and I enjoyed speaking with her throughout my stay.

Conclusion

The Montcalm East is an interesting property in Shoreditch. I can’t say that I’m particularly knowledgable about design, but the hotel has many unique elements that I’m not used to seeing.

Whenever I return to a city that I’ve been to a number of times, I try to explore different areas that I haven’t been to yet. While my time in Shoreditch was brief, I’d like to come back and spend a few days in the area, especially as it’s so easy to get around to the rest of the city.

The Montcalm East was an entirely comfortable place to stay. It may not be my first choice next time I find myself in London, but I’d definitely consider staying here again if I had the opportunity.

 

 

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