Tuesday 23 April 2019

Review: Premier Inn, County Hall, South Bank, London

Entrance to the Premier Inn, County Hall
Image Credit: Premier Inn
We love Premier Inn
I’ve been a Premier Inn fan for a very long time. We stay in their hotels at least four or five times a year, Sometimes many more. I really like the fact that I know exactly what I’m getting with a Premier Inn and they can sleep four to a room, which is good. Of course as a mum of three it would be perfect if they slept five of us in one room, but alas we’re still to find an affordable hotel that can do that. If all five of us are travelling together, I’ll book for two rooms and I find that as long as I’m booking around 3-6 months in advance I can get a great price - anywhere between about £24.50 - £39.50 per room.

Of course I haven’t actually found the London County Hall Premier Inn that cheap, as it is situated right on the South Bank by the London Eye, Shreks Adventure and the Sealife Aquarium. It’s also just a few minutes walk from Waterloo and Charing Cross mainline stations and Embankment and Westminster tube stops. I stayed at this hotel for two Friday nights in March, I paid £59 for one of the nights and £69 for the other.

It was only two of us staying on both occasions, but the price would have been the same if it was four, and the bedrooms I had were a really generous size with two king size beds. So as twins, they feel really luxurious, as space is normally limited in London hotels, unless you are staying in a decent five star, I’ve found in the past. It appears that most of the bedrooms have a view onto the rear street, rather than onto the Thames, but the last time I stayed I had a side view, it was very nice to be able to glimpse the London Eye right from my bedroom.

View of the South Bank from Premier Inn
Side view of the Thames from my room

With Premier Inn the price is always room only, but you can choose to book the slightly higher flex rate that allows you to modify or cancel your booking, or the non-flex rate that you can’t make any changes to (except for cancellation within 24 hours of the booking being made). I always go for the non-flex (or saver as it used to be called) rate, as it is the better deal in my opinion.

Amazing Full English Breakfast
You can add breakfast at the time of booking or even book it on arrival/ pay in the morning. I’ve found the price adjusts slightly depending on whether you are in London or not, so most Premier Inn full English breakfasts are £9.50 or the price rises to £10.50 in London. In my opinion they are always worth the price, as you can help yourself to as much food and drink as you like. Also up to two kids eat free with each adult full English purchased, this means five of us normally eat for £19 and when you see the amount my son can pack away you’d be impressed!

Breakfast at the Premier Inn, County Hall

With the County Hall breakfast it does get busy but they are geared up for it, there was constant staff clearing tables, putting fresh food out and making sure we had all we needed. The two hosts were also particularly good and it was the same ones on each occasion I stayed. In the price of the continental breakfast you can have cereals, fruit, yoghurt, toast, pancakes, muffins, danish, croissants, juice and hot drinks for about £2 less than the full English, but if you opt for the full English then you get to enjoy sausages, bacon, mushrooms, beans, hash browns, bubble and squeak, black pudding, scrambled eggs and fried eggs.

We didn't try out the dinner menu in the Thyme restaurant but there is a wide selection of items on the menu and Premier Inn always offer a meal deal with a 2 course dinner, drink and breakfast the next day. It is £26.49 currently at the County Hall Premier Inn.

Super Comfy Hypnos Beds
The Hypnos king size beds deserve a special mention, as they are always excellent and I’ve never yet not been able to get extra pillows to provide as many as we want, so often eight for the four of us sharing a room. The sofa bed is comfy too and mostly if you want a twin room, this is the second bed, but if you have a fourth person in the room, this is a put up bed and I always find this harder and no where near as good as the main king size bed. My kids are all adult sized now and do moan when one has to sleep on this fourth put-up bed. However, as I mentioned earlier, no such problem in the County Hall Premier Inn as you get two of the king size beds for a twin room. (I haven't used it for a family booking as yet, but looking at pictures on Trip advisor, I think you might get the two smaller beds alongside the king size, so I'd be tempted to just book a twin to get the two king size beds and then my kids could share that big bed).

Twin room at the Premier Inn, County Hall

Also in the bedroom is a TV with freeview and remote control, desk/dressing table, various lighting options, tea and coffee making facilities, a hairdryer, full length mirror and in the newer rooms USB charging points. There is limited room to hang or store your clothes, but I think these rooms are designed for short term stays. I used the free Wi-Fi and found it to be good but Premier Inn always have an Ultimate Wi-Fi service that you can pay for if you need to do more than just browsing, such as download and stream.

You get provided with an enormous fluffy white towel per person and one hand towel and foot mat per room. The showers have always been fine, some better than others and the ones in the County Hall Premier Inn that I’ve tried have been nice and powerful, and over a bath if you fancy a soak instead.

Storage space in the bedroom at County Hall, Premier Inn

Hotel Facilities
There are steps up to the main entrance of the hotel, and then the reception, bar and restaurant are on one level or just up a shallow ramp. (The hotel suggest that if you need wheelchair access you should give them a call in advance to discuss the arrangements). There are lifts to all the bedroom floors.

I found the reception staff to be excellent on both occasions, at both check in and check out. On the first time I stayed we had a housekeeping office next to our room and from around 7am the door next door to us banged constantly, which drove me nuts and woke us up. So I mentioned this to Reception and they refunded the cost of our breakfast and specifically booked me in to the side view room for the next time I was staying. 

Premier Inn have a good nights sleep guarantee and say that if you don’t sleep well (for a reason within their control), and you have reported it at the time and given them an opportunity to rectify it, they will refund the cost of your room. I think in all the years and times we’ve stayed with them, we’ve probably had to invoke this guarantee about three times, as we do always sleep well on their amazing beds.

On my first stay at Country Hall we had drinks at the bar one night and it was good that you could get Costa coffee as well as cold drinks, even late in the evening. The prices were very reasonable too, and we happily could have stayed in and enjoyed an evening there with a few drinks.

I’d recommend the left luggage service; we had planned to use it on arrival, but wonderfully our room was ready when we arrived at 1.15pm the first time and at 12 noon the second time. The normal check in time is 2pm and check out is 12 noon, so you can have a wonderful long lie in. When we checked out we left our bags at the hotel so we could explore without any constraints, I felt happy with the security of the room and we were given a luggage tag to make sure we could be matched back up to the right bags on collection.

I feel sure we’ll be staying at the Premier Inn, County Hall again as the location, space, comfort of the beds, breakfast and price (if you book a good way in advance) are amazing. Check out the reviews on Trip Advisor for other peoples opinions, it is rated 4.5 excellent from over 8.600 reviewers.

Useful Information
Address:        County Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 7PB
Telephone:    0871 527 8648 (charged at 13p per minute)
Parking:        There is no onsite parking at this hotel. Parking is available a 4 minute walk away at the Britannia Car Park at Upper Marsh for £20 per 24 hours.

View of the London Eye

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Premier Inn County Hall pin

Disclosure:  None necessary, as each time I have stayed here I've paid for my room. I have not been instrcuted what to write and I remain honest. 

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