Miniview: Marriott Hotel County Hall, London

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    There was a myth amongst hoteliers and hotel groups for years that no hotel would work south of the River Thames in London. Daft really, when all the views are best looking northwards. Hotels like the Savoy sit on the site of royal palaces – and had views of the swamps, slums and dereliction that for many years formed the South Bank. Even Shakespeare is reputed to have stayed on the north bank and been rowed south across the river to his Globe theatre when needed.Not only was the South Bank originally swampland but it also housed the bear pits, brothels etc., and some say still does. In WW2 it was in the miss zone for the London Docks and suffered higher levels of bomb damage than North London. The County Hall escaped bomb damage but had the indignity of the County Architects Department building themselves a new brutalist office block extension in 1973 that was voted by Londoners the ugliest building in the capital. Fortunately this has been swept away, replaced by the new Park Plaza, one of the growing number of hotels now populating the South bank, following a lead created by Skandik and Novotel, because yes, it took foreign operators to show the potential that existed here.

    The County Hall complex now houses an aquarium, the London Eye, the London Museum of Film, and a Premier Inn, but the star is the Marriott County Hall, which not only enjoys the best views across the river, amongst the best in London to my mind, but offers seven balcony suites with the most stunning views of all. The 200 bedrooms include 5 suites as well as the 7 balcony suites and most have views across the River (although not quite all – do check on booking).

    Obviously the interiors are listed, and where new doorways have been created they faithfully follow the form of the 1920’s originals. The result is that guests enjoy some of the more beautiful 1920’s interiors which combine with some of the best views of London to create a special property.

    Daniel Fountain / 28.12.2011

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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