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:
- 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:
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.
Also on the 5th floor is the Executive Lounge. It’s currently closed but I did get a peek inside:
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:
The restaurant, Gillray’s Steakhouse, branches off to one side:
…. 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:
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.
And for dessert, the Jaffa Cake which was amazingly orangey:
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:
On weekends, Marriott County Hall also offers an Afternoon Tea in ‘The Library’, another stunning heritage room:
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.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (October 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.
You can apply here.
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.
Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), 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).
(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.)