There aren’t many places designed by a 29-year-old competition-winning architect who did not survive long enough to see his dream come-to-life.
But this not-so hidden gem, which survived the First World War and later housed a now-abolished Socialist political assembly – which was shown the iron-curtains by Margaret Thatcher – is not any old building. The famed Marriott County Hall, at the foot of London’s Westminster Bridge, was first opened by King George V and Queen Mary in 1922. Today, it offers the kind of spectacular luxury that will give you a unique window into another world.
Standing in the newly renovated Balcony suite, which boasts stunning 180-degree views across the banks of the River Thames, I had some of London’s most celebrated landmarks in my sights, including the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
There are some impressive personal touches – such as the handwritten welcome note
Once I had settled in, I stepped onto the ornate balcony overlooking the London Eye, and dare I say it, offered its guests their own view of me, enjoying a chilled glass of Nederburg chenin blanc.
There are some impressive personal touches – such as the handwritten welcome note, a selection of sweet treats, including macarons with my name scrolled out in chocolate sauce, a candle and a veritable cornucopia of fresh fruit.
Being something of a pampered princess, I ordered up the 24-hour service butler service to help with a bubble bath before dinner and was delighted by the Floris of London products that catered to my whim.
Later as I headed down to dinner, I made a quick stop-off at Gillray’s world-famous gin bar where head barman Rui rustled me up a martini before personally escorting me to my table at the steakhouse.
Although the views are the stars of the show here, the suites are a very close second
The pan-fried scallops complete with roasted butternut puree, chilli, toasted pine nuts and sage were simply delectable as an opener. I left room for a 300g rib-eye with béarnaise, a healthy (OK, unhealthy) portion of triple-cooked chips, and creamed baby leaf spinach. The only regret – not enough room for one of the tempting desserts.
By this point my suite – and its 300-thread count Egyptian cotton linen bedsheets – beckoned. Although the views are the stars of the show here, the suites are a very close second. Seven of the suites feature private balconies, while the four executive suites offer a separate living area.
At the top of the tree is the Westminster Suite, a show-stopping 135sq m space offering a dining area set for 12 and an unrivalled view of the Houses of Parliament. Just don’t look too closely, or you might catch a glimpse of Boris.
London Marriott Hotel County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB; 020 7928 5200; For more info, see londonmarriottcountyhall.co.uk