This is our review of the new Courtyard by Marriott London City Airport hotel.
After multiple covid-related delays, the new-build Courtyard hotel at London City Airport is finally open. The brand is pushing out across UK airports – there is also a brand new Courtyard at Heathrow which we haven’t visited yet and the fairly new Courtyard Luton Airport, reviewed here, and Courtyard Inverness Airport, which I reviewed here.
I decided to try it out. HfP paid for its own stay.
A bit of background
Historically there was only one hotel at London City Airport – the Travelodge. A wave of hotels have opened on the oppposite side of the airport in recent years, including a Hampton (review) and a Moxy (review), but it is a long and windswept walk to get there and virtually impossible with luggage or in the dark.
Not only is the Courtyard by Marriott London City Airport brand new, but it is a couple of minutes nearer the airport than the Travelodge. It also cuts out the need to cross a roundabout. To put it in perspective, here’s the view of the Travelodge from my room at the Courtyard:
The Courtyard advertises itself as being a good hotel for the Excel exhibition centre. As you can see from the photo above, it is close (the hotels says it is eight minutes walk) although it isn’t the most pleasant of strolls given the traffic and the need to cross the bridge over the dock.
…. isn’t easy.
If you are staying at the Courtyard before your flight then you will pass the hotel on the DLR on the way to the airport so you know which direction to walk in. If you are staying there after a flight then you are a little stuck, as there is currently no signage. The Travelodge has no signage either so you can’t follow that.
Leaving the airport by the main entrance isn’t the quickest route, since you need to walk away from the hotel before you are able to cross the road and get onto the pavement – the City Airport approach road is only paved on one side.
The quickest route is take these steps at the foot of the DLR escalators:
You exit the station via a tunnel. To your right is a basketball court. If it is daylight, take the narrow footpath to the right of the basketball court and keep walking. You will eventually end up at the hotel.
If it is dark, I don’t recommend this option. Walk around the front of the basketball court and jiggle through the housing estate towards the hotel, or leave the airport via the main entrance and follow the pavement on the approach road. These are both slower routes.
The Courtyard is built from a very mellow form of brick and the colour scheme continues inside, with ‘blonde’ woods dominant. The interiors are very well done.
Let me be clear here – if I told you that this hotel was a Hilton or a mainline Marriott then you’d believe me, as you can tell from the images. As I have said many time before on HfP, the quality of new-build hotels from Courtyard, and indeed Hampton by Hilton, is now on a par with a full service hotel. Obviously some services are missing but I doubt they are ones you will use.
If someone told me that they were going to stay at this hotel for their entire stay in London, I’d think they were smart. I paid £70 for my room, on a day when many luxury West End hotels were asking £400+, and my room was probably bigger, more modern and equally well equipped.
Check-in was swift, although occupancy was obviously modest. In general, the staff were unfailingly polite and cheerful – perhaps just happy to have someone to talk to! – and there does seem to be a sense of pride about their smart new hotel.
Here is a PR picture of the lobby:
Technically, Platinum Elite and higher members of Marriott Bonvoy can take bonus points or a $10 food and beverage credit at a Courtyard hotel. Our guide to Marriott Bonvoy elite member breakfast benefits by brand is here.
Instead, Courtyard London City offered me:
- 500 Marriott Bonvoy points, or
- £7.50 to spend at the bar or restaurant, or
- free breakfast
I took the latter, which offered the most value. It is good to have flexibility though, since someone leaving early may prefer to use the bar credit and someone on expenses may prefer the points.
I was upgraded to a room facing the airport runway, and they weren’t fibbing about the view:
These rooms tend to carry a £15-£20 premium. You should note, however, that ‘runway view’ also means ‘Docklands Light Railway runs in front of your window’ view (the track is at the bottom of the photo above). The soundproofing is good but not perfect and you could clearly hear the rumble of the trains every few minutes, although it didn’t impact my sleep.
You can also, obviously, hear the aircraft but the London City schedule is pretty thin at the moment. If you are a light sleeper you may want to avoid these rooms but average and heavy sleepers will be fine.
It is quite cool watching the aircraft coming in to land a few feet from your window ….
My room at Courtyard London City Airport
The corridors are surprisingly wide and bright, which was a good start.
The room was what you would expect from a mid-range hotel, but done well. It was a substantial improvement on the refurbished room I had recently at Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport. It’s impressive what a little more money and a bit more design skill can do.
Note the relatively narrow window, which I imagine is a deliberate attempt to improve soundproofing. It makes the room darker than necessary but there are no shortage of lights which make up for it.
Here’s the bathroom, which was good:
Note that there is no bath, just a stand-alone shower. Toiletries are branded ‘Pure’.
The TV has full device connectivity via Bluetooth or Chromecast. This was great, allowing me to use BBC iPlayer on my iPhone and send the picture to the huge TV on the wall. It worked flawlessly. This is another of the benefits that you get from staying in a brand new hotel with the latest technology.
The room has a kettle, mugs, takeaway cups, tea, coffee and UHT milk – ie the usual.
The minibar contained two bottle of water and two cartons of fruit juice, all free.
Wi-fi was good and I was able to do a solid eight hours work from 2pm to 11pm, with a quick break for dinner.
Food and drink
As is common at mid-range hotels, the hotel has a small mini-market. In reality, it is more of a takeaway bar. The drinks selection is huge:
…. but the food was limited to crisps, porridge and some cereal bars. It is nowhere near what you’d get at, say, a Hilton Garden Inn mini-mart. If you’re not in the mood for a full evening meal then I suggest picking up a sandwich at the airport and popping it in the minibar fridge.
There is no separate restaurant. Instead, you have a large open plan bar and eating area:
The menu was a step up from your average bar menu but a step down from a ‘proper’ restaurant, which was the right thing to do given that there is only one eating option.
There is a picture of the menu here if you click. I went for an East London chicken curry at £15, which was surprisingly well presented and pleasantly warm (hot, not spicy). It was better than you’d expect.
Breakfast was served in the same area the next morning.
Again, this was a step up from your average mid-range hotel buffet. If I’m honest, it was substantially better than the breakfast I had at Crowne Plaza Sheffield a few weeks ago which is technically a superior hotel.
There were also a number of hot options which are not pictured – I had some sausages and scrambled egg and it was good.
Remember, though, that breakfast is not free for everyone at Courtyard hotels. You need to book a breakfast inclusive rate, have Platinum status or higher and choose it as your check-in amenity or pay on the day. I’ve no idea what it costs unfortunately.
Courtyard London City Airport is a very accomplished mid-range hotel, and excellent value for money if you can pick it up for the £70 I paid.
You are getting a brand new hotel and, more importantly, one where the owners chose to invest in quality design and fittings. The food is also of a high quality.
I am hoping that we can visit the new Courtyard Heathrow soon, although it is not currently available for booking until next March.
The hotel website is here if you want to find out more or book.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (January 2022)
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.
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).
(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.)