An oasis of calm in the heart of London

Guoman Charing Cross Hotel

The Strand, London WC2N 5HX

t. 0871 376 9012

www.guoman.com

Grand exterior overlooking the Srand

Grand exterior overlooking the Srand

Where is it?

You could not choose a better location than Charing Cross Hotel – and it’s a fact. Outside the door is a replica of the original Eleanor Cross the point from which road distances are measured to the centre of the London. The Grade II listed property was designed with a magnificent façade in French Renaissance style and opened on 15th May 1865, directly above the grand Station.  Victorian railway companies were wise to build Station hotels as a way of “keeping passengers in their pocket.”  Today, that ethos continues with direct access to train and tube transport right next door.  Staying on the Strand, your are within walking distance of Theatreland, National Galleries, Soho, Covent Garden and Thames Embankment.

Classic and Contemporary

 The Guoman Collection has five distinctive hotels in London, as well as property in Shanghai, all part of a growing portfolio.  Charing Cross Hotel was given a fabulous makeover a few years ago, preserving the original elegant features, grand staircase, rich wood and marble, now complemented with smart, sleek furnishings and facilities for the 21st century traveller. Unlike some global hotel brands,  a unique, distinctive image is designed for each Guoman property.

From the moment you step inside the compact, oval Reception lobby, this does not feel like a large, city centre hotel (239 bedrooms and suites). The ambience is welcoming, friendly, intimate, like a Boutique design hotel. A short corridor leads to the lift and within minutes I am in my Deluxe double bedroom with windows overlooking the rooftops and lanes behind the Strand and beyond is the Thames.

Furnished in shades of soft cream, coffee and terracotta, the room is an impressive space with two armchairs, desk, plasma TV (Freeview), walk- in shower and bath, bathrobes and slippers, mini bar and hospitality tray. BT Openzone wifi is available at a charge.  An umbrella in the wardrobe later proves useful. Bedding is exemplary: Egyptian cotton sheets, supersoft duvet and mattress comforter. The best aspect is the fact that I can turn off the AC overnight as it emits a loud hum. I can also open the window for fresh air. I feel relaxed and settle in.

Smart comfortable bedrooms

Smart comfortable bedrooms

The Buckingham Wing is an Executive wing of 85 suites for business and leisure guests, offering extra special VIP luxuries, hospitality, internet access, Hypnos beds, dedicated check-in and concierge service.

Stylish, spacious suites

Stylish, spacious suites

The Guest Experience

 Visiting London on a business trip, the location is ideal, having arrived here quickly by tube from King’s Cross.  A small business centre has the use of two PCs if you don’t bring your laptop. (A problem with logging on was quickly dealt with.)  The exclusive Club Lounge on the ground floor is a quiet space to read a paper, sip a coffee or meet colleagues.  Guests also have free unlimited access to the fitness gym. The Concierge was always at the front door greeting and meeting – and who could not be more helpful with requests and directions.

The Terrace Restaurant on the first floor is a sun -filled Brasserie with high windows overlooking the Strand, with a café-bar lounge next door.  The Terrace is a popular meeting place for guests and non residents for coffee,  lunch, afternoon tea, pre-theatre suppers and dinner serving modern British and international cuisine.  The ornate Betjeman banqueting hall and function suites are ideal for Corporate events, private dinners and weddings.

The General Manager, Riddian Davies, (with a wide hotel and hospitality background in Fiji and South Africa) is young, enthusiastic and clearly passionate about creating an exciting,  smart-casual lifestyle experience at Charing Cross.  The emphasis is on a simple interior design to enhance relaxation and entice the senses.  The use of light, sound and fragrances to create the atmosphere of an urban Spa is the underlying concept.  This might sound like corporate marketing speak but after an overnight stay, the subtle manner in which atmosphere and accessories change between day and night is quite magical.

Arriving back at 10pm after an evening out, the grand white hallway is lined with a river of warm, welcoming Tea lights. The softly lit Terrace Lounge Bar with its leather club chairs and buzzing with people sipping wine and cocktails, is friendly and inviting. Later, from the appetising room service menu, blending modern dishes with old favourites, I enjoy a tasty late night supper.

Restaurant with fine views

Restaurant with fine views

The following morning I am amazed to see how the Terrace Bar and Restaurant have been simply transformed with draped white tablecloths into a Parisian-style Café for a leisurely breakfast.

In a nutshell

This is no ordinary London city centre hotel:  Here the guest is treated with personal attention from arrival to departure without all the 5 star formality and fuss.  Bedrooms offer space, home comforts and a hint of luxury for complete rest and relaxation. Attention is given to cool design,  smart attitude, quiet ambience and fine hospitality.  Just like the 19th century travellers arriving by train at Charing Cross station, the timeless, ever-fashionable Charing Cross Hotel is an oasis of calm in the true heart of London.  A Destination hotel indeed.

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About vivdevlin

I am an international travel writer, specialising in luxury travel, hotels, restaurants, city guides, cruises, islands, train and literary-inspired journeys. I review dance and theatre, Arts Festivals and love the visual arts. I have just experienced an epic voyage, circumnavigating the globe, following in the wake of Captain Cook, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson.

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