Just before Christmas, a friend of mine and I decided to have a really nice Saturday night before he went to Italy to spend the holidays with his family. He said “Why don’t we go for dinner and then stay at the Crowne Plaza where you have a membership.”
In September 2014, I joined Crowne Plaza’s Convivium Club. It was £175 at the time, about $260 dollars. You get a $150 off a dinner, a free bottle of champagne with another dinner, a free Sunday afternoon tea and 10% off drinks and food in the bars and restaurants. It was such a good deal that I renewed my membership this year, but I had never stayed at the hotel.
So, I booked it. The rate was £150, about $225. When we checked in, we were upgraded to a junior suite. It was a corner room on the second floor with a glimpse of the river Thames.
The hotel, located at 19 New Bridge Street, is about a 20 minute walk to Covent Garden and the West End. Blackfriars station, right across the road, has a direct train to Gatwick Airport and Kings Cross Station. The South Bank is just across the bridge and within walking distance to the London Eye, Tower Bridge and the Tate Modern. To the north, it’s about a six minute walk to St Paul’s Cathedral.
The price included free wifi, an Iphone charger, an iron and ironing board, complimentary coffee and tea. There was even a newspaper, The Independent, outside our door in the morning. One thing I haven’t seen in a hotel room before was a maintenance card. It was nice to know that if something was wrong with the room, you could fill out the card and know it would be fixed. Just to let you know, I didn’t find anything wrong with the room. It was perfect.
The Crowne Plaza London is also the home of Voltaire champagne bar. It’s on the lower level of the hotel and stretches along the entire length of the hotel. It’s a very classy place, open late and also serves cocktails and food. It’s here where you can sit in the Vaults of Voltaire. The building features old stone vaults which housed the prisoners of King Henry Vlll’s reign and later the riches of a bank that was built in the same place.
There are two restaurants in the hotel, Diciannove, an Italian restaurant, and the Chinese Cricket Club featuring Chinese cuisine. Diciannove is top notch, while I have yet to try the other one. There is also The City Lounge which offers informal dining, where, according to the hotel’s website, you can try the ‘Biggest Burger in Town.’
The restaurant/bar in the hotel’s lobby features an afternoon tea, which is always on the to-do list of people coming to London, in a very relaxing setting.
All in all, it was an enjoyable night’s stay and I can hardly wait to do it again. Although I live in London, it’s always nice to get away for the weekend. The Crowne Plaza London might become my London home away from home.