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Review: Marriott County Hall hotel, London on a work-and-sleep ‘Stay Pass’ (Part 1)

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This is our review of the London Marriott County Hall hotel on the South Bank.

Last month we wrote about the new ‘work from hotel’ packages that Marriott Bonvoy is offering. There are three options:

  • 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.

A bit more about Marriott County Hall

If you have ever been a tourist in London you have probably seen County Hall. It is the official looking looking building right next to the London Eye on the South Bank:

Marriott County Hall London South Bank

Built between 1911 and 1939, it was the home for the Greater London Council, governing the City of London and the London boroughs. In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher dissolved the council, leaving County Hall empty.

It is a big building, and these days it is occupied by a variety of tenants. In addition to the Marriott, you’ll find the London Aquarium, London Dungeons, Shrek’s Adventure (!), a Premier Inn and a number of restaurants inside County Hall. The original council chamber is listed and remains, deep inside the building.

The Marriott opened in 1998, although a multimillion pound renovation took place in 2016 to the rooms and many of the public spaces. There are 198 guest rooms with 12 suites. Over half have views across the Thames to Westminster Palace and Embankment.

Location

Marriott County Hall is exceptionally placed for tourists, with direct access to the South Bank, views of (or a short walk to) of Westminster Palace and within walking distance of Whitehall and the West End.

Even the City of London isn’t far, as you can simply hop on the Waterloo & City line (when it reopens) and be at Bank within four minutes.

Arriving at the Marriott County Hall

The Marriott occupies the western wing of the building, the side closest to Westminster Bridge. The main entrance is a little hidden, as you have to walk (or get dropped off via) the two internal courtyards:

London Marriott County Hall entrance

(There is also a convenient side door which opens straight onto the South Bank via the restaurant, but this is not open 24/7.)

London Marriott County Hall courtyard

Immediately upon entering you are greeted by a mini-lobby. The hotel is on the left whilst the hotel’s meeting and conference facilities are on the right.

The hotel reception makes a great first impression with its original oak panelling:

London Marriott County Hall lobby

… as well as fireplace and Christmas tree.

London Marriott County Hall lobby fireplace

The hotel was incredibly quiet when I checked in at 11am, although I’m told weekends are busier with staycations and weekend breaks.

Service was great. It’s been a while since I’ve stayed at a proper five star hotel and the difference in service between Marriott County Hall and a (perfectly decent) DoubleTree or a Courtyard hotel is noticeable.

Within a few minutes I was off and away to my room on the third floor.

Executive Guest Rooms at Marriott County Hall

I was given an Executive Guest Room, which is a fancy word for a junior suite. It is down this rather lovely corridor:

London Marriott County Hall corridor

The room itself is BIG:

London Marriott County Hall Executive guest room

I took this photo using the wide-angle lens of my iPhone, but it does genuinely look that big. It is one of the biggest rooms I have ever stayed in.

The bed is king size:

London Marriott County Hall bed

The TV is on a free-standing unit connected to the desk. The TV isn’t too big and doesn’t dominate the room, which is nice. I imagine it doesn’t get much use, given the view:

London Marriott County Hall view

It’s a shame Big Ben is currently undergoing renovations.

To the left of the bed is sideboard featuring a Nespresso machine, kettle as well as a fridge-in-a-drawer, which was a novelty for me.

London Marriott County Hall Nespresso fridge

Since this was a work trip, I was glad to have a proper desk and chair, which had plenty of room for my 15″ laptop:

London Marriott County Hall desk

With early check in and late check out, I spent a very pleasant two days working from here.

Connectivity is excellent all round thanks to the 2016 refurb, with plugs on both sides of the bed as well as by the desk. There is only one USB socket, at the desk.

There is plenty of storage thanks to the wall of wardrobes as you enter, which also contain various amenities such as safe, iron & ironing board etc.

London Marriott County Hall wardrobe

What I particularly liked was the door knobs:

London Marriott County Hall door knobs

… which are specially designed for County Hall and represent the initials CH (if you look hard enough!) These were used throughout the hotel and room and really tied everything together.

The bathroom at Marriott County Hall

On to the bathroom which is, again, big and features two sinks and some nice wallpaper of historic London. Toiletries are by Molton Brown in miniature bottles:

London Marriott County Hall bathroom

You get a nice large bath tub, but you also get a big dedicated dual-headed shower:

Lnondon Marriott County Hall shower

I’m 99% certain the mirror is heated, as it refused to fog up despite my best efforts.

You can read Part 2 of our review of Marriott County Hall by clicking here. If you are reading this by email, you have not been sent Part 2 and will need to click through to the website.


Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (April 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 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.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits 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.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

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 (8)

  • Blenz101 says:

    Great review but it seems from attempting to book that the room type provided on a staypass is actually a Deluxe Room rather than the junior suite that was provided for review purposes (which also looks larger and with a better layout than advertised on Marriott’s own website).

    In this case I think it’s particularly relevant as the Deluxe room type doesn’t appear to offer a proper desk from what I can tell. Would have been good for the hotel to at least show you the minimum offering guests can expect particularly if the target market is for a private workspace.

    Having gone to the trouble of looking to book this some extra information which may be helpful for others – you get £10 F&B credit included in the rate and 20% discount at Gillray’s Steakhouse mentioned in pt.2.

  • MT says:

    As mentioned by another poster the hotel has actually provided a room that is not a good example of what you are likely to recieve if you book the rate they were invited to review.
    It should also be noted that during my stays I was given what they told me were “Exectutive Rooms” (even though I was told they were Junior Suites initially at checkin as they wanted to upgrade me to a Suite) but they never had the desk in or the size that is outlined in this review. So I am unsure if the desk is an addition or I was actually never in an Executive Room.
    After a converstaion with the GM I soon learned that this is one of those hotels that really doesn’t care and is so used to getting business due to its location, so hopefully it may have adapted its attitude now but the fact the review doesn’t match the room your likely to be given it seems unlikely.

    • Rhys says:

      I wonder if it is a subtype of room. The booking portal does say that Stay Pass comes with “Private workspace (desk and chair)”.

    • MKB says:

      I’ve had two stays here as a lifetime Titanium and can testify to the upgrades being the bare minimum. You won’t get anything like the room shown here as an ordinary punter. I don’t see the point of reviews like these. They give a completely false impression of what to expect.

      I was unimpressed with the Club lounge. No buffet. Items were strictly rationed and had to be ordered from a menu, sight unseen, and could take up to 20 minutes to arrive. Veggie options were very poor.

      • MKB says:

        Those lounge comments all relate to 2018/9.

      • Blenz101 says:

        This was rather my point earlier. The booking portal clearly shows you are booking “Deluxe Room, 1 King” for workspace rates which was clearly not the room type provided for review. The deluxe room appears to have a coffee table and armchair only in the photos and layouts shown during the booking process.

        I think the hotel have missed a trick, if they had at least showed Rhys the standard deluxe room offering (with the potential for upgrade given Covid etc.) then I would have been reassured the basics are in place. As it is I don’t have the confidence that even a proper desk is in place, let alone Nespresso machine, big ben views, fridge drawer, separate shower / bath etc.

        In any event the rate is only available until Jan 17th and unsurprisingly is blacked out w/c 27th Dec.

  • Freddy says:

    This was one of my first bonvoy redemptions. Great hotel and managed to get a family room during a half term week for a very small cash supplement. It was a good mix of 5 star quality but kids were welcomed and great location as a tourist.

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