When traveling abroad, sometimes you just crave a standby hotel — a place that feels like a second home, but with all the extra comforts that make hotel life so attractive, even in the era of Airbnb. In London, that property might just be the Marriott County Hall, a big-brand property that manages to exude lots of stately English personality, and a location that can’t be beat.
Hotel Type: Large city hotel in London
Number of Rooms: 206 rooms
Hotel Trivia: Until the mid-1980s, this building housed London’s local government — hence the beautiful detail that you’ll see inside and outside the property.
What It Looks Like
The Design: Construction on this grand stone structure began in 1922 and was completed in 1933. Many of its details — wood-paneled walls, marble sculptures, intricate telework — have been preserved and are landmarked by the British government.
The Rooms: There’s nothing stuffy about these comfortable guest rooms, which embrace clean lines and straightforward, unfussy style. A series of newly redesigned suites feel a shade more daring with brighter pops of color and graphic wallpaper, and have astonishing views over the Thames. You may even find yourself in a balcony suite that’s directly beside or under the London Eye, a view that puts you at arm’s length from one of the city’s most exciting sights.
The Public Spaces: The bar outside Gillray’s is packed in the evenings, and the lobby is always alive with activity. Suites come with access to the M-Club Lounge, a quiet space where guests can enjoy continental breakfast, snacks, and drinks — as well as views of Big Ben and Parliament — throughout the day.
What It Feels Like
The Mood: Busy with activity for much of the day and night, a high volume of travelers — many of them American — set the lively tone here. Though you won’t find much socializing in the lobby space as you would in trendier properties, you will find lots of guests in the bars and restaurants (and lots of quiet on the guest floors).
Who Stays Here: A wide range of guests, older and younger, from large families to honeymooning American couples, find comfort — and the reliability of the Marriott brand — at this property.
Trend Watch: This hotel mostly bucks popular and fleeting hotel trends and relies heavily on traditional perks like warm service, a full room service menu, and spotlessly uncluttered rooms to attract its customers.
You’ll Love It If: If you want a comfortable stay within walking distance of London’s main sights, this is a great place to set up shop.
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You: If you require trendiness or boutique-style cool, this property — despite its elegant design and interesting history — may not be for you.
What You’ll Get
Fitness: A comprehensive fitness center that spans two floors and even includes a palm-tree lined indoor pool. Classes, including spin and yoga, are complimentary for guests.
Four-Legged Guests: Pets are not allowed, though service animals are.
What You’ll Pay
Average Rates: Basic rooms start at about 350 pounds (about $415) per night, with suites going for about twice that much.
When to Stay for Less: You'll find the lowest rates midweek in cooler weather. In mid-July, rates skyrocket to about 600 pounds ($780) per night for entry-level rooms.
Resort and Other Fees: This property does not charge a resort fee. Parking costs 42 pounds ($55 USD) daily.
Use Your Points: As a Marriott property, a stay at this hotel lets you earn points, and you can use them to stay here via the Bonvoy program.
Know Your Neighborhood
About the Local Area: Located on the South Bank of the Thames, this property sits in the Lambeth district of the city. Near the property, you’ll find Lambeth Palace, which was built in the 1300s and is the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The property is also situated near Waterloo Station, where guests can easily hop on the Eurostar train to Paris, or on a National Rail train to Southampton — making for an easy connection to London’s cruise port.
Important Local Attractions: A short walk across Westminster Bridge delivers you to the foot of Big Ben and puts you within easy reach of Parliament (8 minutes), Trafalgar Square and the surrounding museums (14 minutes), and a number of convenient Underground stations (5 to 10 minutes). And, of course, the property is located directly next to the London Eye.
Getting There and Getting Around: Located 18 miles from Heathrow Airport, you can expect to pay 90 to 100-pounds ($117 to $129) for a taxi ride to reach the property. A ride hailing service cuts that rate roughly in half. Once you’re situated at the hotel, walk to Waterloo Station (about six minutes) for access to the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo, and City lines on the Tube. Cross the river via Westminster Bridge (about five minutes) to reach the Jubilee, District, and Circle lines at Westminster Station.
Walkability: The best — and most convenient — way to explore this busy part of London is on foot. Stroll along the South Bank for atmospheric riverside views, or cross the many bridges to be delivered into the heart of central London.