Posted in London, Travel, Uncategorized

The Cumberland Hotel – Marble Arch

I mentioned in my post – 10 places to visit in London  that I have never had the opportunity to stay in a hotel in London as I have always lived here so it was something on my list of things to do this year. We decided that Valentines day would be the perfect time to have an overnight stay somewhere special so arranged a night at The Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch.

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The Cumberland is situated right opposite Marble Arch at the end of Oxford Street so a great location to see all the landmarks of the West End and a perfect position if you are planning a shopping trip, I saw loads of people that seemed to be from overseas carrying large Primark bags so that is obviously a popular choice for tourists.

As you walk into the hotel you are greeted with a wide open lobby space, it does look nice but I got the feeling that it was a bit wasted with a seating area on one side and nothing on the other.

We were told that our room was on the sixth floor and that it had just recently been refurbished so we were keen to see what it looked like!

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The Cumberland is part of the Guoman chain of hotels and has over 1000 rooms. The hallways seem to go on forever and I could easily get lost in here after drinking one too many! When we reached our room we were pleased to see it was nice and spacious and looked very clean and comfortable. It was a bit chilly but we soon worked out how to set the air conditioning on to heat the room up although this was quite loud so didn’t keep it on for too long.

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The room did have everything we needed (there was coffee in the drawer) but I felt it lacked a bit of character, this might be because it was just refurbished but it seemed to suit someone that was just staying over on business and didn’t have any personal touches.

The one thing I was most disappointed about was that I was imagining a long soak in a bubble bath with music playing (imagine Julia Roberts in Pretty woman but without the prostitution) only to find that there was no bath! There was a shower that squirted water from different directions but I actually almost froze to death being squirted with cold water while I worked out how to use it. It was also a shame that the view just overlooked other windows in the hotel as I imagine you could see some pretty interesting things along Oxford Street at night.

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Although the rooms seem to lack any sort of decoration, there was loads of pieces of art to see around the hotel. On our stroll down to breakfast, which was actually quite a walk, we admired the surroundings of the space which included sculptures and charcoal drawings.

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When we eventually reached the dining space we were shown to a table and told that the breakfast is self service and we could chose between cooked or continental. I must say there was so much on offer and I imagined having a large cooked breakfast but as with any opportunity to eat as much as I like I suddenly don’t have a very large appetite! I opted for pastries and muffin with waffles and pancake on the side, while the OH (who is currently a vegetarian) had scrambled eggs with mushrooms and beans which he enjoyed so much he went back for seconds.

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We had a really good sleep, the room was comfy, the amazing choice of breakfast was great and we enjoyed our time at The Cumberland but it felt a bit too basic to be a four star establishment, I feel like that little something special was missing.

Prices for The Cumberland are currently from £129 a night, we were lucky enough to get a friend and family discount as my daughter’s boyfriend works there (it’s not what you know, it’s who and all that!)

We would love to compare some other hotels in London, where is your favourite place to stay in the capital?

Posted in Lifestyle, London, Travel, Uncategorized

Breakfast with a view

Situated on 20 Fenchurch street, just a short walk from London bridge, you will find a commercial skyscraper that is commonly known as the walkie-talkie due to its shape. Hidden away 155 metres up inside this building is an oasis overlooking the city that believe it or not is open and free to the public!

The sky garden opened in January 2015 and I have wanted to visit for ages. There are two restaurants that sit above the centre of the gardens and I booked a table at the Darwin Brasserie which seemed to be the more relaxed (less posh) of the two.

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We arrived nice and early for breakfast which is split into hour slots and we were free to wander the gardens before and after our booking. The restaurant was really modern and chic looking and luckily we got a table next to the window so got to eat our breakfast with a lovely view over London.

0X1A1528The menu has a few choices of cooked meals and a continental buffet style breakfast for a set price. We chose the buffet which had a choice of cereals, pastries, yoghurts, fruit and muffins with tea, coffee or juice.

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Typically when at a buffet you have a few bites to eat and feel miraculously full up so not sure I really got my moneys worth and if I went back I would probably chose one of the hot meals instead. The staff were lovely but we had a problem finding our waiter because for some reason they all looked really alike.

If you were planning on visiting but didn’t want to book a table you could still buy food and drink at the city garden bar and sky pod bar situated in the gardens.

The gardens open from 7am and it is fairly quiet but doesn’t take long to fill up. Although it is free to visit you do need to book a slot online to visit the gardens if you don’t have a restaurant booking as it is very popular and would be overcrowded otherwise.

Inside the gardens there are a few seating areas and stairs to explore the wide open space, it is a great place to do a photoshoot and as everyone has cameras you don’t seem out of place taking photos. Although there is loads of greenery I thought there would be a few more exotic, fancy plants to admire but I suppose everyone is more taken with the amazing views than to worry about looking inside.

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The balcony is great for spotting landmarks over London and I could have stood out there all day, my daughter actually asked me if we were ever going home because I made myself so comfortable that I didn’t want to leave!

I was recently asked where my favourite place to visit in London is and the sky garden was the first place that sprang to mind, if I lived closer I think I would be there every morning with a coffee and a newspaper.

Have you ever been to the sky garden?

Where is your favourite place to visit in London?