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London Marriot Hotel
Following in the footsteps of past political leaders, I felt like a statesman myself as I surveyed the splendour of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament across the river from our hotel balcony.
Not to mention the satisfaction it gave me to tuck into a perfectly cooked fillet steak washed down with a superb glass of Argentinian Malbec in front of a marble fireplace and surrounded by hundreds of old books, political literature and groundbreaking texts in the Library Lounge.
Perfectly located on the banks of the Thames, this is five star luxury in the heart of London at County Hall, the former headquarters of the Greater London Council and its leader Ken Livingstone.
Now a stunning hotel in the Marriott chain, it is just metres from the London Eye, a fact we soon learnt upon opening the doors of our suite to find ourselves waving at tourists in the capsules.
This is the breathtaking view you see during the fireworks spectacular on New Year’s Eve as TV cameramen perch outside this very hotel, keen to give you the very best views in the entire city.
We checked into our spacious fifth floor room with its king size bed and lounge suite and soon received a knock at the door, welcoming us with a seasonal sweet treat. This was just the initial hint of the first class service we would receive during a 24-hour stay in complete luxury.
Our fluffy robes and cosy slippers were slipped on immediately to pad along the corridor to the impressive 25-metre pool, part of the 1,000-member gym frequented by politicians, celebrities and city workers in the week, but very quiet on a Sunday.
After an invigorating dip, the sun had set and it was time to take to the skies on the city’s most iconic landmark, the London Eye.
Since opening in 2000, an average of 3.75m visitors have experienced the city’s favourite attraction each year, more than either the Pyramids or the Taj Mahal.
Bedroom to capsule took around five minutes and we were soon enjoying 360 degree views of the city lights by night.
There was just time to enjoy a drink and pre-dinner nibbles in the Executive Lounge, an added extra for certain guests which includes comfortable areas in which to relax, watch television and yet more spectacular views.
Dinner is normally served in the County Hall Restaurant but, thanks to a visiting contingent of 122 Miss World candidates, we were moved to the beautiful and historic Library Lounge, the regular location for service of afternoon teas.
A glass of champagne was followed by superb Devonshire crab cakes and a delicious chicken Caesar salad, then the perfectly- cooked fillets and excellent wine.
With the London Eye now closed for the night and the South Bank deserted, we enjoyed a peaceful moment of reflection on our balcony. This was a huge treat and it felt like we were the only people in the city!
After a fabulous night’s sleep, we indulged ourselves one last time with omelettes, fruit and cereal served piping hot to our room before leaving this heavenly hotel and heading back to the real world and work feeling completely and utterly relaxed.
The County Hall Hotel really did have it all and with the South Bank Christmas Market now open, it’s the perfect place for an indulgent festive shopping break.
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