Imagine waking up and literally seeing the London Eye mere feet from your bedroom window.
This was me on my trip to London just recently. My wife and I stayed and the London Marriott Hotel County Hall. This is the building where the seat of London Government was found until 1987. It has since been converted into hotel spaces and restaurants. Marriott got in on some of that action.
The location of the hotel could not be more perfect for tourists. Sitting on the River Thames, the hotel is directly behind the London Eye, and across the river from Big Ben. It also sits directly between Wesminster and Waterloo train stations, giving you direct Tube access within 5-10 minutes. You can find a bus stop on the corner down the street from entrance of the hotel. These buses can take you directly into the hearts of Soho, Mayfair, and Covent Garden.
Admittedly, the entrance to the hotel is not obvious. Crossing the Westminster Bridge from Westminster station, you come across a gate on your left hand side. Go down through the archways to the circular courtyard. Enter the doors on the far side of the green mound. The check in counter is down the left hall.
The County Hall Big Ben Room
I reserved a room with a Big Ben view. Unfortunately, Big Ben was under renovations. Instead, the friendly staff at the check-in counter gave us a room with a little more emphasis on the London Eye. You could still see Big Ben from the room regardless, but who wants to see a construction zone anyways? The room was very modern, sporting a comfortable king sized bed and large TV.
The closets had your typical hotel room amenities, like a luggage holder, slippers, safe, iron and ironing table, etc. The mini bar was well stocked with whiskeys, sodas, candy bars, and wines! We also received a Platinum Elite gift of charcuterie and white wine later that night!
The bathroom was tiled throughout, and the shower was doorless with a rain head up above that provided good water pressure! I really enjoyed the wallpaper in the entrance way and the bathroom, sporting an old-timey map of London complete with descriptions of many places and streets. Sure enough, the County Hall was there!
The County Hall Executive Lounge
The hallways were nice leading into the elevator rooms and executive lounge. While there is a Gilroy’s steakhouse and pool on premises, we did not have time, nor desire, to enjoy them. The executive lounge, however, was very nice. We stopped here a few times in between events just to relax and rest. During our breaks, we enjoyed some teas and snacks and a closer view of big ben from the lounge. Beers and wines are free for the taking, including use of their coffee machine. If you are in a rush, take your drink to go in a takeaway cup. Breakfast here was pretty good too. While we only had a few croissants and some fruit and yoghurt, you also have savory choices like bacon, sausage, eggs, etc.
Surprisingly, we also had an emergency alarm within about half an hour of our arrival. We only knew about this on our way out! The alarm was not audible walking outside of our hotel room. As we got closer to the elevators, and saw flashing lights, we decided to take the emergency stairs. While up-kept, you could tell these stairs were built back in the 1920’s! The emergency route went from the 5th floor down to Ground Floor on stairs. Eventually, we went through a service hallway out the back of the building.
One small nit I have about the hotel is that the exit is a little inconvenient with respect to the Waterloo station. If you are taking the Northern or Waterloo and City lines, you have to first take the 10 minute trek out of the hotel towards the entrance which is essentially walking away from the station, only to walk back. I could say the same for the London Eye. Perhaps I was not aware of an alternate exit, but otherwise, the way you get in is the way you get out.
In all, I very much enjoyed our stay here, especially waking up to the view that we had. Considering the convenience of having options for public transport, it was a perfect hotel to stay at for exploring the city. As a result of being so close to the Westminster Abbey and London Eye, we did not have to spend a lot of time getting there, which opened up other opportunities for us to enjoy more in London. The staff was very friendly, the interior décor was modern but with vestiges of its London Government past, and best of all, the room was comfortable! I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone staying in London for their first time. It may not come cheap, but if you play the points game like I did, you could stay here for free!
Convenient access to public transportation
Immediate access to top tourist destinations
Excellent Hotel Room Views
Modern looking rooms
Inconvenient Entrance and Exits