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I stayed here for 1 night only as I was going to a concert in London and it was too late for the last train back. I booked the hotel through priceline.com, so I didn't choose the Marriott Kensington by name, but i did specifically want a hotel in Kensington and got the room for the bargain price of £65 (excluding breakfast).
The location is great, as it is just a 5 minute walk from Gloucester Road tube station (which is on the circle and district line and the piccadilly line also stops there late at night). At the tube station there is also a waitrose, boots and a couple of restaurants (ASK, Nando's and Garfunkels) and there is a large sainsbury's super market just opposite in case you have forgotten anything. It is not right in the centre of town, but that does mean it is quiet at night time so suited me fine.
The hotel itself is just about a 4 star standard in my opinion - the room was good sized, nicely decorated and very clean with comfy bed. The en suite was again clean and pleasant and there was a tray of toiletries. Guests also have use of a small swimming pool, sauna and steam room and although all of these were clean and looked after, they are probably due a refurb.
For the price I paid I was delighted with this hotel, but if I had paid £130 I might not have thought I had such a good deal as I wouldn't describe it as luxury.
Although I have been to London a few times, my most recent visit would be the first time I would be staying in a hotel there, as I usually stayed with a friend just outside of London. Hotels in London don't come cheap with many hotels starting at around £130 per night, and going upwards from there! We decided to stay in London for 3 nights, which isn't long enough for me but it was proving to be too expensive finding somewhere half decent for 4 nights.
Searching through Expedia and Lastminute I actually found the Marriott Kensington to be one of the cheapest, but only because they had an offer, stay 2 nights and get 1 free! It can cost around £150 a night for this hotel so having the extra night was a huge bonus.
- Getting to the Hotel -
We went down to London on the train, arriving at King's Cross then hopping onto the Piccadilly Line which runs straight to the hotel's nearest underground station, Gloucester Road. This was easily done even with my suitcase, although it's handy to have a man who can carry it up the stair's in some of the stations! The Marriott Kensington is just a 5 minute walk away from the Gloucester Road station, very handy and easy to get to. Gloucester Road is also in Zone 1 of the underground, meaning you don't have to pay more for extra zones when using the underground.
- First Impressions -
The outside of the hotel was very nice, a huge shiny glass fronted building with the large red lettering of 'Marriott' across the top. The lobby was spacious and clean, the man at the desk immediately infront of the entrance asking if I wanted a hand with my luggage. The reception desk was just around the corner, easily visible. There was no queue, I believe we got there around 3:30pm, and I believe check-in is at about 2:30pm. The lady gave us a warm greeting and required a credit card for us to check-in, even though we'd already paid online 'incase of any extra's' we were told. The smell of reception was lovely, if not slightly overpowering, I think they love their glade plug ins! We were given our keycards and room number, and told we were on the first floor and the stairs were pointed out to us through a seperate door.
Up a small flight of stairs we came to the first floor, and a long corridor which wasn't too wide really. The doors for each room were quite close together but numbered clearly. You accessed your room using the keycard, which we found to be quite tempermental during out stay. We'd often swipe it and the light would just flash red at us, and it sometimes took 5-6 attempts to get it to go green!
- The Hotel room -
Going into the room it was a nice size, a bit small but we've stayed in a much smaller room in Paris so this was much better than that! The walkway between the TV unit and the bed was small, just managed to squeeze my suitcase through it. The bed was huge and lovely, with lots of pillows. There was a desk, a small table, an armchair with a footstool, a big unit which housed the minibar and tea/coffee, and the TV sat on top of this. The TV was a huge CRT TV, was a bit strange not to see a flat screen TV there really. The bathroom was nice and spacious, a big sink with plenty of toiletries, and a bath with shower. Our towels were already in the bathroom on their various towel rails, not folded on the bed as they are in some hotels.
The bed was extremely comfortable, it was a struggle to get out of it everyday! The room does have aircon, but the window also opens. The view we had was poor, we overlooked the back of the hotel and infront of our window was a roof, and then the back of some residential houses beyond that. There was also a loud strange noise which occasionally went off, it sounded like some sort of plumbing and the double glazing didn't block this out. However it seemed to stop everynight at 11, which led me to believe it was something to do with the swimming pool inside the hotel, as that's when that closed. The noise was annoying, but I couldn't be bothered to change rooms as we weren't in the room that much and it didn't prevent me from sleeping.
The mini-bar was insanely expensive. I would seriously not bother even being tempted by anything in there, directly across the road from the hotel is a 24 hour Sainsbury's and you can get your drinks and snacks from there for much cheaper! Just to give you an idea of the prices, a mars bar was £1.50, a small tub of Pringles £2.50, a tiny bottle of vodka was £6.50. Extortiante. We went across to Sainsbury's to stock up on drinks and snacks, and we emptied the mini bar to put our own in. Be careful doing this though! On the morning that we were checking out, I awoke to see a piece of paper with the invoice pushed under the door, it came to a total of £48 for the few bottles we'd took out the fridge, despite them sitting right there above the fridge! I told reception this before leaving and she immediately took these charges off and said there were no other charges on my account. So make sure you check this if you do take anything out, even if they are sat right there.
Inside a cupboard was a tea tray, which had a small kettle and a box containing the tea and coffee. It was Twining's Tea and Kenco coffee, and it even contained satchets of Cadbury's hot chocolate! You only get 4 tiny cartons of milk, so small that a cup of coffee required 2 so there was never enough there. The tea/coffee/biscuits did get replenished daily, as soon as I discovered this I began hiding away the Cadbury's hot chocolate ;) I love that stuff! The toiletries in the bathroom are also replenished daily.
The hotel has a swimming pool and sauna in it, however we never used this facilities. I have read from other reviews that the pool is small, but you're not in London to swim about the hotel's pool all day are you!
- Breakfast -
On your bed each day will be a Breakfast menu should you want it delivered to your room. I wouldn't bother with this! The buffet breakfast is served downstairs each morning and you can help yourself to as much as you want. It does however cost £17.50 per person, very expensive. We decided to treat ourselves to it one morning, and there was lots of cereals, fruits, smoked salmon, salami, juice, smoothies and also a nice selection of hot food with sausages, bacon, eggs, hash browns. mushrooms, beans. The chef asks how you'd like your egg, however there are fried and scrambled already there. I was a bit confused about how the breakfast worked. We were presented with a menu when we first sat down, but also told about the buffet, We started helping ourselves to the buffet, and our tea and coffee we'd ordered was brought over. When we were done we went back up to our room. On check out the charge for breakfast wasn't there, and it certainly wasn't included. I wasn't complaining about that though!
Breakfast was served right next to the lobby, the area then turns into the hotel's Grill Restaurant on an evening. We didn't eat there because it was expensive. There is also the Nabuco bar, which serves Costa coffee too. Again we didn't drink there, the prices of the drinks were actually similar to the mini-bar prices, and there's so many other cheaper places to go nearby it's really not worth it.
- Hotel Location & Surrounding Area -
The hotel itself seemed to be in a very nice area. It was on a busy road but that didn't bother us at all. If you walk down the road for about 10-15 minutes you come to the museums, the Natural History Museum being a lovely big building, I was impressed with how nice it was. Another 5-10 minute walk further down the road you come to lots of shops and eventually Harrods. There was lots of places to eat in this area, if you don't fancy walking all the way down the road then it's only one stop till South Kensington (where the museums are) or 2 stops to Knightsbridge (Harrods area). The Gloucester Road tube station itself is next to a Waitrose and also a small arcade of shops containing a coffee shop, a Garfunkels Restaurant and an ASK Resturant. Opposite the station on the other side of the road is some mroe cafe's and a KFC and Starbucks.
Overall I really enjoyed my stay here, however I won't stay here again unless they have a similar 2 for 3 offer running as it would just be too expensive. That being said hotels of similar quality to this in London can cost around £200 a night so it's one of the cheaper ones, and all hotels in London are expensive.