REVIEW: Eccleston Square Hotel, London
By Helen Wright
- Location Belgravia, London (SW1)
- Bed comfiness 9/10
- Pool No
- WIFI High-speed and complimentary
- Parking No private parking. Public parking options nearby
- Best thing? Gadgets and gizmos
- Worst thing? Our stay wasn't long enough...
- The all-important plug by the bed? Yes!
London is one of those cities that has so many wonderful corners and sights that it’s impossible to decide where to stay. If you’re planning on checking out the main hotspots (Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Oxford Street etc) but don’t want to be camped on the doorstep of Madam Tussards with thousands of other tourists I have found a little gem in the heart of one of London’s most elegant areas.
Eccleston Square Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel hidden within two gorgeous Georgian houses on a quiet street, surrounding a private garden. My favourite thing about Eccleston Square, especially if you are an out-of-towner is that it’s archetypal London – grand entrance, big front door framed with regal white pillars and a warm welcome inside. The building itself is 19th Century Grade II listed and Winston Churchill used to live two doors down so if you’re interested in London’s rich history you couldn’t be better placed. You might be thinking that ‘old’ means old-fashioned and tired, but inside is a slick, state-of-the-art hotel that was recently named Conde Nast Traveler’s No 1 Luxury Boutique Hotel in London – and for good reason.
Beyond the grand London exterior is a hip, relaxed space with top amenities that are both ideal for those looking for a luxury break in the city or for business travelers who want a stylish hub. It’s also just a short walk to Victoria train, bus and coach station for anyone using London as a stopover before heading off elsewhere in the UK. Our room was super-modern, decked out in pristine grey, white and black with a huge bed that dominated the space. Despite the dark colours, unique lighting and clever use of space meant the room didn’t feel overly masculine or gloomy. In fact, it was quite the opposite! I couldn’t wait to dive under the covers.
Holidaymakers these days are looking for more and more high-tech amenities to enhance their stay and this place certainly didn’t disappoint! Every room has a fancy Swedish Hästens electronically adjustable bed, meaning if you’re working, eating, watching TV or even just good old-fashioned sleeping you can alter the position to meet your exact comfort requirements (once you’ve worked out how the remote control works!). Once you’re propped up with a glass of bubbles in hand, you can start enjoying the rest of the fun gadgets on offer. These include an iPad for use during your stay – which is also set up to order room service, contact the front desk and request other services – enormous TV and (my favourite bit) 3D goggles to watch movies with. Even the biggest kids couldn’t fail to be impressed.
Like a traditional London square, the properties on the street surround a residents-only garden. As a guest of the hotel, that includes you! Remember the ‘oopsy daisy’ scene in Notting Hill where Hugh Grant tries to climb into the secret garden? It’s exactly this. But the good news is you can access the garden by the gate and the hotel will even prepare a pre-booked picnic for you to enjoy in the sun (if the weather is on your side). If you’re feeling sporty there is even a tennis court for guest use – yes, this unpretentious, boutique hotel certainly packs in a lot of treats.
Back inside, the bed and hip accessories aren’t the only luxuries to be enjoyed. Slick, marble bathrooms with waterfall showers and posh L’Occitane products (my favourite!) await guests. Mood lighting ensures you feel like you’re in a cool art-house movie the whole time. Downstairs in the common space, a ‘cinema style’ screening room can be booked for business or pleasure.
Robes and other comfort items are to be expected but the hotel also provides a shoehorn, tote bag and a proper Mr Banks (from Mary Poppins) umbrella for the discerning business traveller (and everyone else who doesn’t want to fall victim to the ‘British summer’.) The rooms are well designed so you’re aren’t competing for space with cumbersome wardrobes. Other helpful items like ironing boards and mirrors fold out from the wall.
TEA FOR ME
We had such a divine stay at this hotel we almost didn’t want to leave and head into central London for the shopping, cocktails and food we had planned. Everything we wanted was right here but there was just not enough time, so we indulged with breakfast in bed to compensate. Perhaps my favourite of the quirky touches was a 24-hr free tea service (operated from your iPad) which means complimentary tea and coffee can be brought to the room at the touch of a button. How English indeed!
The info you need:
Rates for August start at £177.60 per night including breakfast and all amenities.
Bookings can be made on www.ecclestonsquarehotel.com, by phone on +44 (0)20 3489 1000, or by email at email@example.com