This is my review of the Crowne Plaza hotel in Marlow.
This is not a trip reports blog, as I have said before. However, I do write about places I visit which I think may be of specific interest to readers. Crowne Plaza Marlow is one of them.
This post from a few days ago showed how you can get huge discounts on rooms at Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and InterContinental properties, and I used the example of how to get Crowne Plaza Marlow for under £50 per night. We have been coming here, on and off, since we had our kids (now 4 and 1).
There are, without doubt, better family focussed hotels around, but none of them tick all my boxes:
- Are near London (Marlow is 40 minutes drive from West London, or 1 hour from Paddington by train)
- Are very good value for money (2 connecting rooms for 2 nights will be £200 using the 2-4-1 link I highlighted)
- Are in a lovely setting with lots of open grassland
- Have a good swimming pool, including a dedicated toddler pool
- Have decent kids eating options
- Are near a very pretty town with lots of independent shops and decent kids play areas, accessible by a lovely walk along the banks of the River Thames
- Are near Legoland, should you want to visit that (we never have)
Of course, at the end of the day, it is not Four Seasons Hampshire, where we also spend a lot of time. However, Four Seasons Hampshire with two kids will cost you at least £600 a night just for your accommodation (a suite or 2 connecting rooms) compared to £100 here. And if all you want is for your kids to have a nice time, then CP Marlow does the job. The rooms are a decent size, the staff and food are acceptable, the location very pleasant (although you have to drive through an industrial estate to reach it!).
With young kids, you will need a car to get into Marlow itself, or a taxi, since the walk down the Thames Path will be too much for them. You can also walk in the other direction to the village of Bourne End. There is a taxi company based in the hotel’s car park (!) so getting one is not a problem.
If coming by train, you may find it easier to get off at Maidenhead and take a taxi (6 miles) as the train connection to Marlow is slow and the station is in the middle of nowhere. It is actually not far from the hotel, but very tricky to find if you don’t know the area or have bags and buggies.
You may read online reviews which talk of very generous treatment of Priority Club Platinum members. This has all stopped under new management from July 2012. We got absolutely zero benefits despite our top tier status. This is par for the course with Priority Club but a bit of a shock given that historically we would have had free club access, free breakfast and a welcome drink. Despite this, the hotel remains good value.
If you have kids, you may be tempted by the suites which are usually £100 per night on the 2-4-1 deal. Whilst the bedrooms are separate to the living area, there is a lot of furniture in them and, whilst a cot goes in (we’ve done it), I am not sure they could take a rollaway bed for an older child. You would need to check with the hotel. The suites have a small balcony, albeit overlooking the car park.
Here are a few photos of the hotel, lawn, pool and room. These are not my photographs, but I have chosen only ones that do genuinely represent the property accurately. Note that none of the bedrooms overlook the lake – all the space is given over to meeting rooms.