Very handy for the South Bank - especially the London Eye and the Sea Life London Aquarium - but actually on a major roundabout, in the hinterland between Waterloo tube/rail station and Lambeth North tube. Towards Lambeth North station, the bookshops and cafes of Lower Marsh lead to the Cut, home to the famous Old Vic and Young Vic theatres.
The rooms are in muted colours, with dark wood finishes. I’m always pleased to see a kitchenette (in all Studios and above, here with a microwave, extractor, sink and mini-fridge) and rooms with some division between living spaces. The floor-to-ceiling windows help make the rooms feel bigger. There’s broadband internet (£7.95 per day) and tea- and coffee-making facilities.
I’ve visited a couple of times since I first reviewed Park Plaza County Hall, and the reception area has been rather chaotic each time I’ve looked in. Along with the irritating wait for the lifts (speedy when they do arrive) and the queues for breakfast, it suggests to me a hotel that’s a bit overloaded. A dizzying (14 storey) atrium is the major design feature, but there are plenty of sitting areas on the ground floor and mezzanine.
Eating and drinking
The Spectrum restaurant and café were disappointing - it’s better to head instead to the decent chains under the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall or along the Cut to the cluster of restaurants near the Young Vic. The hotel bar, while nothing special, did muster a bit of post-work buzz.
The basement gym (cardiovascular machines, free weights, dry sauna and steam room) is perked up with a forest scene on one wall. There’s also the Aurora spa for treatments.
Enthusiastic, young staff keep things cheerful, but things seem to get a bit confused when the place is busy.
Who stays there
A mix of tourist families, coach trips and businesspeople.
Sunday nights are often a little cheaper.
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
- Families with younger children
Pros & Cons
- South Bank location
- Well-equipped rooms
- Waits for check-in, lifts and breakfast
- Chaotic reception area