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Review: Marriott County Hall hotel, London on a work-and-sleep ‘Stay Pass’ (Part 2)

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This is Part 2 of our review of the London Marriott County Hall on the South Bank. You can read Part 1 of our Marriott County Hall review here.

As we said in Part 1, Marriott has introduced three new ‘work from hotel’ packages:

Marriott County Hall London South Bank
  • Day Pass lets you book a day room
  • Stay Pass, which combines an overnight stay with early check-in (from 6am) and late check-out (to 6pm)
  • Play Pass, which is similar to Stay Pass but for holiday destinations and resorts

Marriott invited us to try Stay Pass at the London Marriott County Hall.

Uh oh – the heater doesn’t work

One of the first things I noticed as I entered my room was that it was a little on the cool side. This was a problem as I was sitting and working for most of the day.

I tried playing with the central air unit but couldn’t get it to work, even though it was set to full heat on full blast. I called reception and they sent an engineer up to check.

He had a look and then went off to get his ladder to check it out properly and reset a few things.

After about 30 minutes the unit started blowing warm air although, as the room is quite large, it took a while to get it to a snug temperature!

All this is to say that when things do go wrong (as they inevitably do on occasion) the service is swift and friendly, regardless of whether it is the concierge service or an engineer.

Hotel facilities at Marriott County Hall

As you would expect from a five star hotel, Marriott County Hall has a number of leisure facilities. These are found on the 5th and 6th floors.

The biggest surprise is the pool which, at 25m long, is an impressive size and features natural light from the skylights above:

London Marriott County Hall pool

It does look slightly dated (those fake palm trees remind me of going to leisure centres as a kid!) so I imagine this part of the hotel wasn’t refurbished in 2016.

The gym is equally dated although, again, surprisingly well kitted out and would put some stand-alone gyms to shame.

It is bigger than it looks, thanks to the shape of the building. It just keeps on going.

London Marriott County Hall

Also on the 5th floor is the Executive Lounge. It’s currently closed but I did get a peek inside:

London Marriott County Hall executive lounge

Dining options at the Marriott County Hall

The main restaurant in the hotel is Gillray’s Steak House & Bar, on the ground floor facing the river. It is a lovely space and we actually considered taking it over last year for the HfP Christmas party.

You enter the restaurant via the circular bar. You can see the shortcut to the South Bank at the back via the glass doors:

London Marriot County Hall bar

The restaurant, Gillray’s Steakhouse, branches off to one side:

London Marriott County Hall Gillrays steakhouse

…. and has spectacular riverside views. It is named after 18th Century caricaturist James Gillray, which makes the lack of caricatures or wall hangings in general a little odd.

Shortly after arrival a number of other groups came in for dinner so that the restaurant wasn’t quite as barren as it looks in the first photo.

Dinner at Gillray’s Steakhouse

You can see the menu for Gillray’s here. As you would expect, meat is the order of the day here, with only a couple veggie or vegan options.

(If you are on a Stay Pass, you also get £10 F&B credit as well as 20% off from Gillray’s.)

The steaks come naked – ie without any sides – so you do need to add a few bits unless you do just want a slab of beef.

My housemate joined me for dinner. We shared the Chilli Fried Squid and Spiced Chickpea and Tahini Bon Bons:

London Marriott County Hall gilrrays squid

The squid was good but the batter could have been a tad crisper for the ultimate crunchy-yet-tender mouthfeel! 😉

I went for the sirloin steak for my main meal, with the veal and Chapel Down red wine sauce and a green salad and crayfish macaroni as sides.

London Marriott County Hall gillrays sirloin steak

And for dessert, the Jaffa Cake which was amazingly orangey:

London Marriott County Hall Gillrays jaffa cake

Overall, service was fast but not rushed or, as Goldilocks would say, just right.

Breakfast at Marriott County Hall

Breakfast is also served at Gillray’s, currently from an a la carte menu. I’m not sure if a buffet was operated pre-covid but it’s hard to imagine them returning any time soon.

I was able to pick two items from the cold selection or one hot item. I went for the Eggs Royale:

London Marriott County Hall breakfast eggs royale

On weekends, Marriott County Hall also offers an Afternoon Tea in ‘The Library’, another stunning heritage room:

London Marriott County Hall Library

Conclusion

I was impressed by what I saw at Marriott County Hall. It is a beautiful hotel that manages to balance the heritage features of County Hall with contemporary and modern room designs.

It is a great choice for anyone who wants to explore the sights of London – you would be hard-pressed to find a hotel better located.

Being able to get two full days of use with Marriott’s Stay Pass – despite just staying one night – is a big plus, especially as you get a proper desk and chair.

Marriott County Hall is a Category 8 hotel which means that you are looking at between 70,000 and 100,000 points per night as a redemption, depending on the season.

Rates start at £250 per night for a weekend in April. This means that you are looking at less than 0.5p per point – sometimes just 0.25p per point – so you are better off paying cash.

You can see more on the London Marriott County Hall website here. Thank you to the Marriott team for offering me the chance to stay.


Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (July 2021)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year. Until 31st August 2021, the bonus is doubled to 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

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40,000 points sign-up bonus and Gold Elite status Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

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30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (16)

  • John says:

    Breakfast is just that? Nothing else? No pastries, porridge, unless you pay extra?

    • Rob says:

      This is generally how it works at the posh end of the market now, in the buffet-less world. Breakfast is a menu’d meal like any other. At Marriott Bankside the other week I had a menu and could effectively choose a ‘starter’ (pastries, porridge etc) and a ‘main’.

      • KBuffett says:

        Breakfast at the JW Grosvenor House was quite good. Prepacked buffet choice of bread rolls, cereals, yoghurts, pastries.
        Counter serviced service for toast, bread, fruit and cheese. A la carte for hot stuff.

      • tony says:

        Will be interesting to see how this plays out in a post COVID world. The buffet spread at the Hilton Bankside always struck me as being so generous that the wastage was embarrassing and presumably policy now will be to sling any surplus rather than try to find a home for it.

        Just back from another stay at the Andaz Liverpool Street last week – their policy is up to 3 items off the a la carte plus unlimited soft drinks for breakfast, which seems like a great outcome, although given the bountiful plate served as the full english, I really can’t imagine anyone needing more than that!

  • John says:

    All the posh end hotels I have stayed in had courses. Even in the 70s in Basil’s hotel you start with half a grapefruit… I guess the 5* Marriott just can’t manage that.

  • Tariq says:

    Some of the Marriott breakfast offerings have been really miserly post C19, this is quite typical I have found. Kudos to Marriott Huntingdon where I have been offered pretty much anything (and as many dishes as I want) from the breakfast menu on two recent stays.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Have to say I’ve had very experience at W London, Langley and Marriott Grovesnor square (room was drab but food was good)

  • DK says:

    “sent an engineer up to check.”

    Are British people not aware of the word technician or something?

    Or is just a matter of job name inflation like waste manager aka binman or another good one, CEO aka civil enforcement officer lmao

    • Blenz101 says:

      Er, the dictionary definition of Engineer covers someone who maintains engines, machines or structures.

      I would say that covers the HVAC system as a piece of machinery perfectly well.

      Technicians in British English generally refer to those doing laboratory work.

  • Norfolk & Chance says:

    Will this be closed now in tier 3? Looking for a local staycation!

    • Rob says:

      Likely to stay open but you will need to be staying for business or education purposes or because someone in your house is infected, or because you are house hunting, or for one of the other reasons.

  • Lady London says:

    If my heating wasnt working, and the engineer had fiddled around for half an hour or fiddled round then said he was coming back, with or without ladder I’d have been phoning Reception for a room change. Particularly as this was a day room.

    There is one particularly beautiful room there that I remember from the showround group of corporates that I went with shortly after the first part had been converted from the old London GLC offices.

    It is upper floor with a very wide terrace over the river, with an amazing quality of light in the room and would be perfect for an event.

    • Lady London says:

      With the reflections on the walls and, IIRC quite a few mirrors (this was late afternoon/early evening, it felt like somehow being inside a playing of Handel ‘s Water Music.

    • Rhys says:

      I would have had it bothered me, but as I wasn’t on any calls I was quite happy for him to sort it out in the background whilst I worked.

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