A short walk from Borough Market, The Globe Theatre, and with rooms coming in from a relatively comfortable £97 a night, I’m surprised I’ve not stayed there yet. After all, whilst luxury is nice, we all have a budget and this is 4-star on a pretty reasonable budget.
Though Mercure is a chain, all of the hotels are designed to reflect their surroundings, so there are elements dotted around synonymous with London. From bowler hats on shelving in the lounge, to the nursery rhyme London Bridge is Falling Down, on the shower wall, these little touches break up the corporate feel.
The rooms decor is, as you’d expect, clean, neat and welcoming, a little plush here and there hints at luxury, and I didn’t mind at all that my hair matched the bed.
In fact, can I add here that it’s be best night’s sleep I’ve had in a hotel in a long time. The bed was comfy, but not too hard, not too soft. There weren’t so many pillows they felt like some sort of parasite colonisation, and they were comfy too. My exasperation at pillows that are uncomfortable knows no bounds – particularly with the ones that look all fluffy delight and melt to nothing as soon as you try to rest your head on them.
Having full control of the room temperature made a difference too. This was a very cold London night, but I was perfectly cosy and not overheated either. Given I could mention a couple of chains where any form of temperature control comes in the form of ‘blanket on, blanket off’ this was a very welcome step up.
And I must add that I loved the bathroom – the shower offered an option of both an overhead rainfall style and the standard flexible hose, and the full size mirror even boasted a shaving/make up mirror. Given my myopic state, it was perfect for tarting myself up first thing in the morning without my glasses. Though confusingly, the clock (I presume it was a close) never suggested that the time was anything other that either 8pm or 9pm. Very confusing when it’s actually 7am and your’re squinting at the clock and wondering if you have time for breakfast before check out.
Away from the bed and the bathroom, other touches make you feel welcome too, like the pile of fresh fruit on the table in the room, the bottles of water and the flapjacks placed with the coffee mugs. Gone are those standard packet biscuits, these are a much better replacement. If we could dispense with the Nescafe sachets too, I’d be even happier – I expect those in a budget venue, not a four star.
That evening, saw us dining at Fish! on Borough Market (have the swordfish, it’s delightful) and enjoying the wine and nibbles at Vinopolis Blue Bar both of which deserve a return visit and a proper review. Aside from anything else, that Malbec is calling me.
The morning broke bright, shiny and new and my view was surprisingly pretty for a bank of offices.
Showered, packed, I headed down to indulge in a big breakfast – enough to keep me going until home.
Coffee (or tea), toast and certain cooked items (kippers for example) are served at your table, whilst the breakfast is buffet style, and spread over two floors. Cooked downstairs, continental above.
While most of it couldn’t be faulted, scrambled eggs on buffets always suffer. Normally you end up with a watery spongy affair, but these were so full of cream and so lacking in seasoning, they were tasteless, and strangely textured. Next time I’ll stick with a fried one.
On the other hand, the coffee was perfect and comes in vast cafetieres. Ideal for a caffeine nut like me, who isn’t going to share a pot. Sorry.
All in all, I was rather impressed. The staff are delightful and helpful, the decor modern and comtemporary and despite the little niggles, I was more than a happy bunny.
There really is something to be said for getting a good night’s sleep.