My Mum absolutely hates flying. As you can imagine, this puts a bit of a spanner in the works if I want to take her away somewhere for her birthday. So for this year, my browsing through booking.com led us to the Chelsea harbour hotel. Set with marina views in the most central location of the harbour, the five star hotel boasts a spa, a brassiere and marina suites with panoramic views of the harbour from your balcony.
We didn’t start off on the best foot. To start off with, we got lost. No just sat nav redirected lost. Stuck in Chelsea harbours little gated community with no pass to get through the barriers lost. After calling through to the helpline, and having the most fruitless conversation on earth with a lady who was about as helpful the Montague’s were to the Capulets, we had to drive an extra few miles to get back where we were.
You can imagine we were less than thrilled about the whole affair by time we got to the hotel. Our spirits lifted when we saw the front entrance, complete with smart, top hatted doorman. Unfortunately the very limited amount of spaces to park in front of the hotel were full. We were directed to a car park close by. Unimpressively, we had to pay £30 just to park. Yes, £317 for the room and the hotel do not even have parking. Not the best impression to be giving guests when they arrive at the hotel at all.
Thankfully, when we arrived in the room itself, we were, for the first time during our little break, pleasantly surprised. The marina suite in the Chelsea harbour hotel really has a lot to write home about. The living room opens out via patio doors onto the balcony. Not only can you sit on the balcony itself, but you can open the curtains and look out from the living room. The living room contained a very self important desk, with all of the mod cons you would expect such as notepaper, pen and a lamp. What a shame though, I couldn’t follow through with my plan to catch up on some work, as the WiFi signal was shocking. I’d say the only places with a comparable WiFi signal to the room would be the Venezuelan Amazon, the top of Mount Everest, or if you had a machine to shrink yourself and you set up an office inside a used tin can.
The bedroom was more than adequate, and again looked out on the harbour. It was a nice touch to have a TV in the living room AND the bedroom. The bathroom was one of the finer points of the room. Very swanky without impeaching on the actual usability of the room as a bathroom, which is something many hotels get the balance of wrong.
The main part of the hotel we were looking forward to was the spa. We booked this as a nice relaxing night away, so we were looking forward to this aspect. The spa was clean and the staff were very welcoming, but for somewhere that packages themselves as a five star hotel, it wasn’t particularly enthralling. The pool and sauna and steam room were just ok, and there was no Jacuzzi.
For me, the relaxation room really was the high point. Very comfy chairs and a selection of magazines. Could of easily fallen asleep in there and added to the list of weird places I’ve fallen asleep.
We were originally going to go for dinner, but we determined that we would be so relaxed by this point we wouldn’t want to get dressed and go down. The room service menu was a surprise in the fact it wasn’t too expensive, but it didn’t have a very varied amount of choices. I had a burger, and Mum had a penne arribiata which were both delightful. A nice touch was them bringing this to us with a mobile table, cutlery and condiments.
The service was fantastic. We called down a couple of times for extra tea and coffee etc and it was never too much trouble.
In the morning, we had a continental breakfast which was included in the room rate. Another way they try and squeeze some more blood from the stone is by charging extra for hot options, but the continental is more than enough to start your day with. They had a lot of options, even for a fusspot like my Mum and someone like me, who is allergic to life and practically has to make a sacrifice to an Ancient Egyptian God before she can even think about eating dairy or gluten.
On the face of it; I’d go again. I’d just be more prepared to pay extra for everything, aside from breathing. It was a nice weekend, but for the money you pay you could have a full weekend spa break somewhere in Essex with a much nicer spa, like Orsett hall.
The tiramisu is AMAZING.