The run up to Christmas is an exciting time to be working in a school. Yes, it is still stupidly busy with never-ending deadlines, and there is still marking to do and so on, but I love preparing for the Christmas concert and carrying out Christmas-related activities. That said, by the end of term, myself and the thousands of other teachers up and down the country are well and truly on our knees.
So as a birthday present to The Hubby, (and ignoring the fact that his birthday was in November), I had booked us a night away at the Grange St Paul’s hotel. This was to be a late birthday / pre-Christmas treat where we could literally sit around, if we wanted to and chill out before hosting Christmas Day at our house.
On Friday 23rd December we eagerly packed our bags and headed into London, arriving in the early afternoon at the hotel which boasted a very impressive neighbour, St. Paul’s Cathedral. Check in was seamless and even though we were earlier than the stated check in, our room was ready for us. This was extremely handy as we had organised to visit the Shard, ready to watch London light up from above.
Our room was located in the second part of the hotel, which was accessed by walking through an impressive and airy lounge area, out into a small courtyard, and in through another set of sliding doors. Room cards were needed to access this area of the hotel, a much needed safety feature as there was an opening to the street off the courtyard. My only niggle at this was anyone could have walked straight in behind us, without a key card, and gained access to the hotel without going through reception.
Making our way to the second floor it wasn’t long until we located our room. Tastefully decorated with a seating area and an inviting bathroom, we made ourselves comfortable before heading back out into the cold.
Wardrobe space was plentiful and full of gadgets for trousers, drinks, snacks and ironing. A must for me is the use of a decent hairdryer, and this was ideally situated in the bathroom next to a huge mirror and a smaller magnifying back lit mirror, perfect for make up application! When reading about the hotel, it prided itself on providing ‘female friendly’ rooms and I do believe that we had, handily for me, been given one. I liked the idea that a hotel had taken into consideration the lone female traveller; positioning women in better areas of the hotel building, providing extra locks on hotel room doors and of course, the extra bathroom amenities.
It was obvious from the vast amount of feedback left by previous guests that many rooms had spectacular views of St. Paul’s Cathedral, although sadly we were not one of them. What did impress me however was how quiet the hotel was. It may be that the time of year had lots to do with it, but corridor noise was well and truly at a minimum, even silent; a huge plus for me!
After our jaunt out to the Shard, we retired for the evening; I had to test out the bath – I was filled with curiosity as to how it would fill up with water with no taps! A quirky design feature of the bath was that the dial to insert the plug hole doubled up as a tap as well. Similar to that of a power shower, there was a mark on there for optimum temperature which meant there was no need to fuss and fiddle around until you had it just right. Another tick in the box!
The Hubby and I had ummed and ahhhed about what to do for dinner. After a flick through the room service menu, we decided to treat ourselves, choosing to stay in our cosy room and bathrobes rather than go back out again into the cold. Reasonable prices, good portion sizes, tasty food and helpful staff made eating in a pleasurable option. We hadn’t chosen to have breakfast at the hotel the following morning due to other arrangements, however, the restaurant looked busy and inviting with delicious wafts of breakfast foods drifting through the air as we walked past to check out.
Hassle-free, superbly located, friendly staff and a very good quality room made our stay enjoyable and memorable for all the right reasons. Just the thing we needed after a hectic term at school and before the stress of cooking the Christmas dinner!