Wednesday 29 March 2017

Great Personal Service at the Mercure, London Kensington

Last weekend to celebrate Mothers Day, my lovely Mum and I headed up to London for 24 hours together, just us, no kids and no real agenda. We've done it before and had an amazing time and we vowed this year that it will become an annual thing.

24 hours (or 27 to be precise) doesn't sound much but it is amazing what you can fit in. I met Mum at Waterloo and we headed straight over to Leicester Square to the official half-price theatre ticket booth to see if we could bag some good ticket for an evening performance. After success booking for Beautiful. the Carole King musical we enjoyed a toastie and coffee together watching the world go by in this busy part of London.

The rest of our Saturday was filled with checking into our hotel and having a relax there, some serious shopping on Kensington High Street, a fabulous dinner at Prezzo over on New Oxford Street and of course seeing the amazing West-end production of Beautiful. It really is an amazing show and both Mum and I highly recommend it.

Sunday was a much more chilled day where we got up late, enjoyed a full English breakfast at the hotel and then had a walk around Kensington with a little shopping and of course coffee before I dropped Mum back at Waterloo and headed back to my family.

Mercure, London Kensington
But enough about our time together this post is actually about our stay at the small and intimate Mercure Hotel in Kensington. This 82 bedroom hotel is situated on the Cromwell Road and that makes it super easy to access. It you are travelling by tube it is between Gloucester Road and Earls Court and then around a 7 minute walk from either but because you are in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea it is a really pleasant stroll as the buildings and area are so beautiful.

What first struck us when we arrived at the hotel was the wonderful welcome we received. As we walked in the door we were greeted with the most beautiful smile and the receptionist asked how she could help us. When I told her we were there to check in but were a bit early, she replied 'You are most welcome' and I know it might sound a bit twee but I genuinely believed her, she was there to serve us and I just knew nothing would be too much trouble. We were super pleased to be able to get in our room an hour earlier than the regular 2pm check-in as well.

I'd love to be able to share with you the receptionist's name and I feel a bit bad that I didn't take note as we chatted quite a few times over the two days (she always seemed to be there with that same smile on her face). She answered all my (many) questions with a smile, helped us to store our bags after departure and assisted me with the Wi-Fi.

The Bedroom and En-suite
My Mum and I were booked into a standard twin room and the price of this room fluctuates according to time of year and demand (in the same way that flight prices do). On the night we stayed the cost would have been £109 for the two of us to stay on a room only basis. There are good deals to be had though, so it is worth checking out the special offers page on the Mercure Kensington web page and also being a member of Le Club Accor Hotels as you'll secure the best price available.

Mum and I had to smile at the bedroom doors, as they are very grand and look super old-fashioned but they actually have the modern electronic card door locks that worked perfectly for us. In general, the room was really pleasant, we had everything we needed - a desk to work at, remote control TV, tea and coffee making facilities, a telephone, a range of lighting for us to choose from, an iron and board, hairdryer, the option to have clothes laundered or dry-cleaned (the same day), a super comfortable bed with gorgeous pillows, plenty of plug sockets, lots of room to keep hung or folder clothes and a lovely bathroom with great smelling toiletries.

The bits that really impressed us in the bedroom/ bathroom -
  • They provide a free to use Handy mobile phone, you can take it out during the duration of your stay and surf the web and make local calls for free - how cool is that?
  • The beds are divine, so very comfortable and they have really nice duvets and pillows too
  • For being on the Cromwell Road the noise is not too much at all. Bearing in mind I live in the middle of nowhere I wasn't disturbed by the London traffic at all. I did smile though as they provide complimentary ear-plugs in case you are more noise sensitive than me
  • The shower was super powerful and very nice to use
  • Plenty of room in the bathroom and big fluffy towels provided
  • Good speed free Wi-Fi across the hotel and in the bedrooms
  • Complimentary still and sparking mineral water

The little niggles -
  • Due to the shape of the building we were in a triangle-shaped room and this meant that parts were quite tight. See the picture below of my mum sat on her bed and I had to get past 
  • No on-screen TV guide, which I have come to expect as standard nowadays
  • Quite a basic tea tray and only 1 pack of biscuits for 2 people to share. I'd have expected premium brands in a 4 star hotel, not Nescafe and wholesale biscuits
  • The wardrobe door was heavy and felt as if it needed to be put back on its runners properly
  • Noticeable stain/ smudge on the headboard, which would be easy to remove (but I have to say the rest was spotlessly clean)

In all I totally feel as if the plus points far outweighed the few small niggles and we would happily stay in a Mercure Kensington bedroom again. I was also pleased to see they have Quad rooms to sleep four as that would be superb for a family day to the Natural History or Science Museum, which are situated on the same road, just a pleasant walk away.

Public Areas
As this is a small hotel the main lounge is also small but perfectly formed. This is where the hotel really does look like a 4 star, as it is very swish. Mum also enjoyed a lovely cappuccino with great service from Claudia in there and it is very nice that there is an outside patio area where you can have a drink and watch the world go by. You are also welcome to smoke out there, which of course is a plus point for some people.

We had no problem with the lift any of the times we used it and the stairs and corridors were all spotlessly clean too. There are a couple of smart meeting rooms at the hotel as well if you want to book somewhere for business.

We didn't get to sample the restaurant for our diner as we were over at the theatre but we did get to try out the breakfast buffet and tucked into a very yummy full English breakfast. I can't fault the food and it was regularly being refilled by the staff in the restaurant. The cost for a full English if not booked as part of your room rate is £11.75 which is competitive for central London.

My Mum commented that it was quite a small restaurant but it did what it needed to and considering we came down at peak time of 10am for a Sunday morning we were seated straight away and that doesn't always happen in London hotels. Often you have to wait at peak time.

The range of foods was as you'd expect - pieces of fruit, cut fruit and fruit cocktails, a selection of cold cheese and meats, breads, pancakes, muffins, pastries, bagels, cereals, yoghurts, juices, hot and cold milk and on the hot buffet was beans, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, sausages and fried or scrambled eggs. The only other thing I'd like to have seen would have been hash browns but it really wasn't a problem that they weren't there.

The one thing we didn't like was the coffee, it was really strong and bitter and my Mum is a coffee lover and she wouldn't drink it. Also the lid of the stainless steel pot had warped a bit and this meant it went everywhere when poured. So this was our only niggle of the morning, the tea was good though!

Services Available

  • In the lobby area there is a laptop that is free to use and you can print for free too
  • 24 hour reception service
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the whole hotel
  • Limited car parking, that can be booked in advance and the Cromwell Road is so easy to drive to
  • Free luggage storage either before or after your stay
  • Free use of the Gym Way Kensington. This well-equipped gym and studio can be used by guests whilst staying at the Mercure and it is just a minute walk away
I'd happily stay at the Mercure Kensington again and recommend it to others. Book early to get a great price or make sure you check out the deals page on their website too.

Thanks so much to all the staff at the hotel for making our stay lovely.

Disclosure: We received one night stay and breakfast free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

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