Friday, 18 October 2013

City Marque: An Apartment With a Thames View

Vauxhall Bridge at Night

Living so close to the centre of London, I don’t have many tales to tell about hotels in London except for the one time we decided to book a room to stay in after a concert. I can’t begin to explain how tiny that room was except to say that once I opened the door, I had to step onto the single bed in order to close the door behind me again. That’s the problem with hotels in London, you have to balance cost and location against the space to actually sit your suitcase on the floor.

It is no surprise that I was interested when the team at City Marque invited me to try out one of their central London apartments and to write about the unique apartment experience.  To ensure that I don’t leave anything out, I’m going to tell you everything!

Getting There

I chose to stay at the Thames View Apartments in Vauxhall primarily because I wanted to try out some night photography of the Vauxhall Bridge. Getting there was super easy as the apartments are situated right outside Vauxhall Rail and Underground Stations (and across the road from MI5). Once at the apartment complex, you sign in with the concierge which nice because sometimes cottages and apartments lack that human touch.

The Apartment

Our apartment was on the second floor and as you can see from the photo above, our view wasn’t bad at all. We were immediately impressed by how large and spacious our apartment was: there were two large bedrooms, each with an en suite bathroom and there was a well-appointed kitchen adjoining the lounge and dining area.

The apartment was stylish and well-decorated, with just enough to give it that homely feel while still remaining smart and modern.

Thames View Apartments decor

There was a lot in the apartment that we didn’t expect but which would make the apartment perfect for longer stays: there was a small laundry room with a washing machine and tumble drier, a luggage storage space and both linen and towels were provided. This latter point is so important in apartments because nothing will cut a stay short like the unexpected absence of towels!

The apartment sleeps 5 people with two in each of the bedrooms and the most comfortable sofa in the world for the fifth person.

What To Do

Touring London

There is no shortage of things to do in the area and Thames View Apartments are situated in an excellent location. Tate Britain, The Garden Museum, the Jewel Tower, Westminster Cathedral, Lambeth Palace and the iconic Battersea Power Station are all located within walking distance and the rest of London is just a short tube ride away.

Dinner With Friends

After a busy day touring London, we came in from the cold and immediately got to work in the kitchen. Soon we were enjoying tender-cooked steaks and fantastic company while the sun set and the lights began to shine over Vauxhall Bridge. This is something you can simply never experience in a soulless hotel room and sharing a meal together is always my favourite part of  staying in an apartment.

Apart from the laughing, sharing, eating experience, cooking your own meals is a fantastic cost saver when you’re staying in a foreign city and there are two supermarkets located next to Vauxhall Station where you can buy essentials like chocolate and wine.

Relaxing on a rainy Sunday Morning

It is no surprise that we slept very late the next morning and when we awoke, it was a typical rainy and miserable day in London. That was perhaps my favourite part of the experience; once again, hotel rooms rarely encourage relaxation and I am always keen to escape them and do something. Not so in our apartment, we opened the balcony door and sat in our socks and pyjamas, enjoying hot tea and croissants until the rain finally dissipated and we were able to go out and explore London some more.

Vauxhall bridge on a rainy Sunday morning

But How Much Will It Cost?

My biggest question when agreeing to review Thames View Apartments was whether this was something that me and my readers could afford in future and the answer is yes. As long as you are utilising the apartment to its full capacity with 4 to 5 people, staying in an apartment will work out less expensive than staying in a hotel especially when you factor in the savings of catering for some of your own evening meals, lunches or breakfasts.

Prices start at £240 per night for the apartment with discounts of 11% for stays over 4 nights. Exclusive offer: add the code "online5" when booking to receive a £5 per night discount. This is in addition to the discount for booking more than 4 nights of stay. 

Considering the mixed experiences we had with hotels on our recent tour around Italy and the nothing-but-good experiences I’ve had recently in apartments and cottages, I have to say that I am converted. I’m not certain whether I’d ever want to stay in a tiny, featureless box room again!

I’d like to thank City Marque for inviting me to stay at Thames View Apartments. As always, this review was based on my honest opinion and experience of the apartment.

Have you had any experience with staying in apartments before? Would you consider it and if so, what appeals to you the most about this type of accommodation?

© 2008 - Mandy Southgate | Emm in London

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