Travel review: A hotel with everything in heart of London
Catherine Stanworth enjoys a break in the heart of London.
Never wanting to turn down the chance of a short weekend break in London, a superb opportunity came my way when invited to stay at the Strand Palace Hotel, in the heart of London on The Strand.
They say position is everything when buying a place to live, but this also rings true for a break in the capital.
And not only is this beautiful and historic venue just minutes from Covent Garden and the River Thames, it has just undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment, which has seen the transformation of all 785 guest rooms, the building’s facade and ground floor.
It is easily accessible from the City, Docklands and Trafalgar Square, yet myself and an old friend decided to drive down from Shropshire, park up at a tube station car park and take a half hour tube journey to Covent Garden Underground Station.
The hotel is literally just a few minutes walk from there. The hotel is also conveniently placed for Charing Cross, Holborn and Embankment underground stations. World-famous landmarks include St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, and the London Eye. If you are in the mood for something a little more indulgent, shopping and the West End Theatre district are just a stone’s-throw from the hotel’s doorstep.
We arrived during the Saturday afternoon for a two-night stay, to take in dinner at the hotel the first evening, and the Barbra Streisand concert in Hyde Park on the Sunday afternoon.
We were immediately impressed with the size of the hotel and its luxurious interior spaces. The newly refurbished Haxells Bar & Restaurant is one such example. It serves irresistible dishes throughout the day. And we were to also discover that the a la carte breakfast menu has everything you’ll need to start your day off on the right foot.
Or you could choose to dine at the hotel’s Joe Allen Restaurant – a New York-style brasserie. Since the curtain went up on Joe Allen in 1977, the restaurant has been known as the West End’s Canteen – in the heart of London’s theatreland. It has welcomed actors and audiences alike for over 40 years. Its red brick walls are hung with stage show posters from throughout the ages, and guests are greeted by a live pianist tinkling the ivories every night of the week.
You can have a classic American brunch, and, at the weekend, you can book a table between 12noon and 4pm for Joe Allen’s famous piano brunch, with Lee, Esther and Zino playing live show tunes.
Head to Joe Allen for a pre-theatre dinner, or stop by for post-theatre dining after the show.
If you fancy a tipple, as well as Haxells Bar, you can enjoy The Gin Palace in the hotel. This is a calm and elegant bar where people can discover tons of different cocktails.
If you fancy something a little more refined, the hotel does a lovely afternoon tea. Enjoy loose leaf teas and delicate treats in true British style in the opulent afternoon tearoom. Set in a rich Bordeaux red finish, you can enjoy delicious scones, finger sandwiches and delightful cakes hand-crafted by the hotel’s executive chef.
Packages start from £25 per person, and they have bottomless Prosecco and champagne options on hand if you’d like to make your treat even more special.
For workout addicts, The Strand Palace has an excellent gym. All guests over the age of 16 are invited to use it to exercise and unwind.
Once you’ve worked up a sweat, you can cool down at the Sacred Café for a healthy snack or a glass of juice, and replenish your energy before you take on the rest of the day.
Myself and my friend were allocated a deluxe room, right in the gods of the hotel, which start from £190. Beautifully presented and extra spacious, these are rooms that have it all. They have air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, 24-hour room service, a Nespresso machine, a complimentary mini bar and dry bar, plus generously sized White Company toiletries.
Deluxe rooms are accompanied by a large HD TV and Bose SoundTouch 20 wireless speaker for a world of entertainment. What’s more, all those booking the deluxe rooms benefit directly from the chance to win back the cost of your stay.
My friend and I enjoyed a faultless three-course evening meal on the Saturday night, tucking into Salmon carpaccio (avocada, mango and chilli (£9)), potted duck and sourdough (£7)) to start, grass-fed sirlion with rocket and parmesan salad and green pepper sauce (£23)), with thick cut chips (£4). For puddings we had Knickerbocker Glory (£6) and Eton Mess (£6). It was all lip-smackingly delicious.
We were also extremely impressed with the hotel breakfast (£22). This included bottomless tea, filter coffee and juice, unlimited food from the hot and cold breakfast buffets, which include eggs any way, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and toast, cured meats and cheese, yoghurt, cereals, fruit salad, pastries and muffiins. Phew!
After enjoying our second breakfast on the Monday morning, we pulled our cases round the corner the the tube station, heading home. I would definitely return to what I think is “the hotel that has everything you could possibly want”.
Having welcomed guests since 1909, the hotel’s refurbishment is set to be completed in April 2020.
- The Strand Palace Hotel is at 372 Strand, London, WC2R 0JJ
- Double room prices start from £110 per night.
- For current deals call the reservation desk on 020 7379 4737 or visit www.strandpalacehotel.co.uk and click on the ‘offers’ link.
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