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:
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.
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:
(There is also a convenient side door which opens straight onto the South Bank via the restaurant, but this is not open 24/7.)
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:
… as well as fireplace and Christmas tree.
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:
The room itself is BIG:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
What I particularly liked was the 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:
You get a nice large bath tub, but you also get a big dedicated dual-headed shower:
I’m 99% certain the mirror is heated, as it refused to fog up despite my best efforts.
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.)