If you are anything like me you may get flighty ideas of taking the kids for a nice weekend away in London and then you start to think practical and have a look only to find that everything is prohibitively expensive or that you have to book two rooms to be able to accommodate your kids and frankly that just isn't practical.
Well, worry not. I have the solution for you, book to stay at the Novotel Blackfriars and two children (up to the age of 16) can share your room free of charge and they can also join you for a delicious buffet breakfast without cost. In fact book to stay at any Novotel anywhere and you will be offered these two free places, as this is their regular family offer and I think that is pretty fabulous. Not perfect for my family if we are being honest, as we have three children but they do offer a 'Family Extra Room' promotion and this gives a second room for 50% of the cost. Which means your break can still be affordable and as my kids are older it is also workable.
I've been very impressed with all the family friendly offerings that Novotel have in general and I wrote a post about it recently, take a read over here. But what I want to share today is why the Novotel, Blackfriars has captured my attention and become a hotel that I'd happily recommend to friends.
1. It's location is so convenient
I've never before considered staying in the Blackfriars area but it is really up and coming. I love the fact that you can walk to Borough Market and London Bridge station in 15 minutes. This meant we had so many amazing food offerings practically on our doorstep. We felt safe and happy to browse the interesting buildings and street art as we had a wander, but then on other days we used the tube as Southwark station is literally a one minute walk on the same road as the hotel, We found the Jubilee line to be really good and we happily travelled around, not only to central London and also over to the Westfield Centre at Stratford.
Of course the South Bank area is amazing for families and we have taken the kids here many times, without having to spend tons of money and again this is just about a 15 minute walk from the hotel.
2. Even the standard bedrooms are divine
We were booked into the most basic of the room types available and I suppose the fact that they list them as Superior rooms should have been a giveaway that they are really very nice. Modern, minimalist and fresh. A neutral beige and brown colour scheme but with big splashes of orange to brighten things up. The room had everything we needed in it - a queen size bed, comfy mattress, pillows and duvet, TV, media hub, a variety of lighting options, desk with chair, chase lounge, iron and board, plenty of hanging and shelve space, tea and coffee making facilities, a mini fridge and safe.
Then the bathroom is great too - so spacious, a massive walk in shower (definitely big enough for two) with both hand held and rainwater shower heads, toilet and sink as you would expect and very nice toiletries, thick towels and tissues provided.
3. Free Wi-Fi
I hate paying for a hotel room and then getting there to find I can only have Internet for free in the lounge area. Well, this is not a problem as the Wi-Fi is available across the whole of the hotel and it is free for three days and really easy to log on too as well. It can make all the difference when you have children with you and want to download some programmes onto their tablet for the long journey home!
4. There are leisure facilities on site
Our visit to London was prompted as we were attending a conference all day Saturday, this sadly meant that I didn't get to use the leisure facilities at the hotel and this is such a shame as I did want to, but not enough to get up super early on the Sunday! lol
The hotel has a small gym in the basement as well as a gorgeous swimming pool and sauna. I did head down for a look around this area and it really is as nice as it looks online. Can you imagine how relaxing it is to lie back in that pool and enjoy the digital wall art?
5. They will offer you a fabulous breakfast with genuinely friendly servers
We really enjoyed our breakfast in the newly refurbished Jamboree Foodfest restaurant. On the first morning we went down at 7.45am and had a near empty restaurant but by the time we left about 8.30am it was filling up and then on the second day we were later and went down at 9am and had to be seated in the bar area as it was full. This was fine though as the tables were set and thus we felt part of the main dining room.
I'll let the pictures do the talking, there is everything you would expect from a 4 star London hotel but with the added bonus of really friendly staff, which we do not always find.
6. The view from the bedrooms is fabulous
We were on the 10th floor and our room looked out towards the Shard, so this made for some stunning views. We really felt very special to have such a fabulous view. There are rooms on both sides of the hotel, so I'd say if you are booking and want this view put a request into the hotel when you book.
I know I only said six reasons but actually I can't fail to mention the staff. Every interaction I had with the staff was excellent, they were attentive, warm and genuinely wanted to be serving me.
Nothing was too much trouble - my room was ready two hours before the official check-in time of 2pm and as it was clean they let us have access. Then on the last morning their restaurant log said I only had one breakfast booked but my confirmation said two and there was no questioning it or making me feel awkward, which I really appreciated.
I also liked the ultra fast check-out, which meant I could drop the key in the box and go. They then emailed me the final bill and advised me how to contact them if I had any queries with it.
Overall our stay at the Novotel Blackfriars was wonderful and we really enjoyed ourselves. Where there any little niggles? The only thing I can think of is that the bathroom plumbing was a little noisy if you used the bathroom in the night when there was no other noise around but this wasn't enough to make either of us unhappy.
Thanks so much Novotel, Blackfriars, we hope to see you again in the future. Mich x
Disclosure: My husband and I received a complimentary nights stay so we could honestly review the hotel and service. We liked it so much we booked a second night and paid for t ourselves. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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