Friday 22 March 2013

Review: The Cavendish Hotel, London

Our family was really pleased to be invited to the 4 star Deluxe Cavendish Hotel in St James, London to review what the hotel facilities are like for a family with primary school aged children and let me tell you from the offset we had such fun. This is one classy hotel, not only does it look divine, it also has wonderful friendly yet professional staff.

We arrived at the hotel at about 7pm on a Friday night and were the only guests in reception, we were greeted with a big warm smile and the kids loved helping themselves to the Cavendish branded sweets, they even played peek a boo with a passing staff member and the hotel post box. I was instantly put at ease and felt very welcome.

The Hotel Room
Our first stop was the hotel room and boy was it a room and a half! We were lucky enough to have interconnecting Executive rooms. In one room we had an enormous king size bed and in the other there was a king and a double sofa bed all made up and ready. The interconnecting rooms are perfect for a larger family like ours, as my husband and I had some privacy but we felt completely comfortable knowing that our children were just next door and the interconnecting doors were wide open.

Without the sofa bed made up the rooms are super spacious, definately the most spacious 4 star hotel room I have ever stayed in, in London and even with the sofa bed (which incidentally is big enough for 2 children up to about 12 years to share) there was plenty of room for all 3 kids to move around and be happy.

The first thing we did when we entered the rooms was to look out the windows and wow, what a view. The hotels strap line is 'The only thing we knowingly overlook is the London Eye' and how true that is, in both senses. I can't imagine any little details being overlooked at this quality hotel and yes the London Eye looks fabulous from the rooms, especially at night when it is all lit up.

You'll be able to see from the photos above that the decor in the bedrooms is beautiful, lots of supple leather, strong colours and soft pillows. Every Executive room has a Nespresso coffee maker as well as a traditional tea tray with yummy Duchy shortbread biscuits. All the classic signs of a really good hotel were there - open the cupboard door and the light comes on. Raining outside, take the umbrella with you. Forgotten your toothbrush - just call and a free dental set will be bought up to you. Afraid you might slip in the triple length shower - use the rubber mat provided. Fancy a glass of water - it's provided as standard.

Oh and I can't not mention the bed specifically, I think I love the beds at the Cavendish, they are super comfortable. I wanted to take the pillows home in my bag and the duck down duvet was just right. They tell me that they also do hypo allergenic bedding as well if you prefer.

There are 230 bedrooms in the hotel, all with the same high standard of decor but ranging in size and facilities from Classic Rooms to the Penthouse Suite. We would all love to return and stay here again.

Breakfast in the Restaurant
To my dismay the girls awoke super early, even after a late night and so we headed off into the rain for an early morning stroll around St James, Piccadilly and Mayfair. I can recommend this, it was serene and quiet and the girls enjoyed being able to run down the Burlington Arcade and watch the buses go by without too much hustle and bustle. Once the rain started to really pour down we headed back to the hotel so I could print off an important email (for free) and the girls had a play on Cebeebies, how kid friendly is that?

About 9am the boys were up and dressed so we went down to the restaurant for our breakfast. It was quite busy at this time but they handled it well and we were shown to a table within a few minutes. The waiting staff were friendly but maybe a little slower than other 4/5 star breakfast services that I have experienced. At the time we were there our children were the only ones we saw in the hotel and I breathed a big sigh of relief that they were behaving!

The buffet was very nice and included a few different items like smoked salmon, a well stocked cheeseboard and watermelon juice (which Miss M loved). We all had a full English breakfast and then I enjoyed some bread and cheese and the kids really went for it and had muffins (excellent by all accounts), croissants, yoghurt and fruit - oh yes they were very hungry. The breakfast normally retails at £18 when booked in avdance (or £22.50 on the day) and you can eat as much as you like and there is also a menu to order extra items from, we had hash browns but we could have chosen from a wide selection of things like Eggs Benedict, Smoked salmon and cream cheese muffin or poached haddock.

I really liked the fact that you could have the exact same breakfast in your room for the same price. You nearly always pay a premium for room service and if my husband and I had been here alone I could imagine breakfast in bed would have suited us very well, especially as it is served until Noon on the weekend.

Afternoon Tea in the Lounge
After filling up on breakfast we had a lazy hour in our rooms to just relax and then headed downstairs to store our luggage. The concierge took care of this with no effort and we were able to head out for our fun day in London.

We arrived back at the hotel at 3.30pm ready to enjoy a full afternoon tea, our children's first. Every one of us was excited by the prospect of cream scones, something we all love. I have to be honest and say I think some of the customers were surprised to see children joining us for our afternoon tea but the children behaved well and the staff were completely unfazed and gave them a little colouring pack each.

The service we received was attentive and the food was absolutely excellent. The children got to try a few things they had not experienced before and they felt very grown up with their delicate glasses. When we were ordering I asked the waitress what was available drink wise for the children and she looked a little thrown for a moment, it is obviously not a question she has had before but she thought on her feet and Miss E had an apple juice and Miss M a hot milk included in the afternoon tea price of £18 per head.

Most of the guests having tea that afternoon were groups of ladies obviously having a great time with their girlfriends and were all dressed up for the occasion. I can thoroughly recommend this as a great place to have afternoon tea when you are in London.

Child friendly hotel? -
I've already mentioned that all the staff we came into contact with were excellent and particularly those working on reception were great with our children. This is the sort of hotel that I felt if I called down and asked for any kind of child-friendly item they would do their best to accommodate my needs - nothing would be too much trouble.

There are high chairs and cots available for use at the hotel and no extra charge for these.

I think it would be apt for the Cavendish to think about offering a half size portion for children for things like the breakfast and afternoon tea. I did see they had a very well priced children's menu for the restaurant but sadly this is not on the website. The pricing was excellent though at about £4.50/5.00 per child for a main course.

One thing that would have been great for us would be a small step in the bathroom, the sink is very high and my smaller twin had trouble getting to the sink to brush her teeth.

Overall Verdict -
Our family would most definitely recommend a visit to the Cavendish Hotel, it is as good as it markets itself to be. You can tell from the happy staff just why this hotel was awarded the 63rd place in the Sunday Times  top 100 small employers. If I am honest the price is a little out of my range, the rooms we stayed in would have cost us £259 per room inclusive of VAT and breakfast. However saying that a classic room can be as low as £140 for double occupcany and that is not at all a scary price for such a prime London location.

Thank you to the Cavendish for our wonderful complimentary stay. I have not been instructed what to write in this review and as always I remain honest.

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