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The Cumberland - art gallery for reception, rooms by Ikea
The Cumberland Hotel (London)
Member Name: dbarcl10
The Cumberland Hotel (London)
Advantages: Great location, great first impressions
Disadvantages: Corridors and rooms let it down, Market is too small and busy for size of hotel
The hotel is ideally situated for a shopping break, being just across from Marble Arch at the Hyde Park end of Oxford Street. Marble Arch tube station is situated underneath the hotel, making it easy to get about London.
HISTORY OF THE HOTEL
The Cumberland Hotel was built in 1920, and was the first hotel in London to have en suite toilets and private telephones in every room.
The hotel was booked by my partner's work as he was down for a business meeting, and we opted to stay a few extra days. Therefore I can't comment on the ease, or otherwise, of the booking process. However, booking can be done either directly with the hotel or using the reservation form on the website (see below for details).
As we didn't pay for the hotel ourselves, I can't say how much our stay cost, however looking on the website a double room averages about £128 for a night's room only stay. Upgrades are available, although these don't seem to be offered through the website.
We had to queue for about 5 minutes before being able to check in, despite 5 receptionists being on duty. This is a very busy hotel and I never saw the reception desk empty throughout our stay. When it was our turn to check in we were served quickly and efficiently. We were informed that an upgraded room was available for an additional £30 per night, offering a larger room with king size bed, one free movie per day, free wired internet and a free late check out.
Despite being two hours early for check in we were told that our room was ready, and were offered a choice of a room overlooking the street or a room on the interior of the building. We opted for a street facing room.
The receptionist gave us two key cards that gave us access to our room, and directed us towards the lifts. She also arranged for the concierge to take our baggage to the room.
On entering the room our first impression was that it was small - very small. The king size bed took up most of the room, with a small dressing table underneath the window. An LCD TV was attached to the wall at the bottom of the bed. A wardrobe was built into the wall, along with some shelves, which also contained tea making facilities.
A selection of Twinings English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Camomile and Green Tea was provided. There was also a small cafetiere and ground coffee to make fresh coffee. To save you the hassle, there were also a number of sachets of Kenco instant coffee. Very stylish stainless steel cups and saucers were provided, rather than the bog standard white cups that are normally provided.
The room also had a small fridge, which at first we expected was a mini bar, but were glad to find that the fridge was empty, apart from two small complimentary bottles of Highland Spring water. This was handy for keeping drinks and snacks in the fridge over the weekend.
The bathroom was large in comparison to the room, with a double shower cubicle, glass sink and toilet. It was very clean, and well maintained. Toiletries provided included shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and a bar of soap.
Despite asking for a street facing room, we had a view of a brick wall, and a lane below. On the plus side, there was no noise from the street, but then we were on the 7th floor.
Not being very happy with the size of the room (there was hardly enough room to walk around the bed) and having paid extra for a larger room, we complained and were promptly moved to a much larger room on the second floor that overlooked Oxford Street (Primark to be exact). The furnishings were largely the same, but with plenty of space at the bottom of the bed. This room also had a chair at the dressing table and a small chair underneath the window.
Despite being on the second floor and overlooking Oxford Street, the room was very quite and all street noise was blocked out by the secondary glazing on the windows.
Both of the rooms we saw were decorated to a very high standard with no visible marks or cracks in either the walls or the ceilings. However, the carpets in both rooms did not appear to have been replaced during the refurbishment and appeared dated and heavily marked.
The corridors were also in need of a refurbishment or deep clean. The walls were clean but the carpets looked worn and tired. Bedroom doors were quite marked and scruffy, and obviously had not been replaced during the refurbishment.
Breakfast is served in 'The Market' restaurant. This restaurant features five open kitchens, where you can watch the chefs preparing food, and some items such as pancakes and omelettes are cooked on demand. I'm not really a fan of cooked breakfasts, however I found the English breakfast to be very nice, not dripping in grease and very well cooked. The pork sausages were lovely, with a very fresh, herby taste. Also on offer is a selection of breads, porridge, cereals, fresh fruit, and fruit juice.
My first impression of The Market was that it resembled a canteen rather than a restaurant in a 4 star hotel. Tables were basic, close together and most of the tables were for 6 people. The service was however excellent, with waiters and waitresses to show you to a table and serve tea and coffee. Dirty plates were cleared away very quickly, however on the Friday morning it did feel a little rushed, as the staff seemed to want tables cleared as soon as possible so other people could get a seat. This doesn't seem like the sort of place you can have a relaxed breakfast, certainly not during the week anyway.
The Cumberland features a Gary Rhodes restaurant called Rhodes W1 (after the postcode) and a brassiere called the W1 Brassiere. Booking in advance is required for the W1 restaurant. I can't offer an opinion on these as I couldn't get a table at W1 and never tried the Brassiere.
The hotel has a gym but as I was on holiday, I stayed well clear. Instead I got my exercise walking round the numerous shops on Oxford Street. The website also states that there is a shop in the hotel, but I neither saw a shop or any signs directing the way.
As everyone knows, first impressions count for a lot, and his hotel really does hit the mark there. The reception area is very well designed, spacious, light and airy. However this leads you to have very high hopes for the rest of the hotel, which I'm afraid didn't match my initial expectations. The bedrooms looked like they had been furnished by Ikea. That said, the rooms were adequate for a short stay, and given you are right in the heart of central London, you won't be spending much time in your hotel room.
A great hotel in a central location for a short visit to London, not as suitable for families or people who like spacious rooms.
Great Cumberland Place
Summary: A mixed reaction, very impressive reception, let down by the rooms