“ 53-61 Southwark Bridge Road / SE1 9HH London / Tel: (+44)207/0890400. „
When it came to Pip's birthday this year I decided to make it special as it was her first while we've been together. So as a surprise I arranged a weekend in London, a decent hotel, show and a trip on the London Eye. Having consulted a number of websites and talked to a few people about the best places to stay I opted to try the Novotel as they seemed to have some very reasonable deals on. Once I'd decided that it was then choosing one to stay at and it made sense to get one near the London Eye and near to the Tube stations, so I opted for the Novotel in Southwark.
I booked the whole thing using the Novotel's website and because of this there are some better rates than you might otherwise get. The standard price for a double room with a sofa is £195 and on top of that you need to add a further £13.50 for breakfast. In contrast I managed to get the room for £79 per night, but the breakfast was still extra. The reason I got it so much cheaper was because I guaranteed I would use the room. In other words there was no option to cancel the room and I was committed to paying for it whether I turned up or not. While this may not be ideal for some I knew we'd be there that weekend so it wasn't much of a risk. There are a couple of other deals including a cheaper price for a room with Breakfast, £109 or £89 without but as I knew we'd be there it was worth getting the extra £20 off our stay and using that for something else.
The hotel is located on Southwark Bridge Road, around about a 5 minute walk from London Bridge tube station and about 10 minutes from Southwark tube station. Once we got out of London Bridge station it was nice and easy to find using the directions on the Novotel website. The hotel is quite easy to spot as you come to the back entrance and the car park if you are coming from London Bridge station. The car park itself is quite expensive, working out at about £16 per 24 hours.
Once we had negotiated the killer revolving door and got into reception we were quite impressed by the openness of it all. There is a small bar on the ground floor, which was quite reasonably priced for London and a dining area at the rear of reception. The check in procedure is very easy. I presented my booking confirmation and within about 2 minutes I'd signed all the necessary places and we had our room keys. The hotel has some 182 rooms over 5 floors and we found ourselves heading for one of the many non smoking rooms on the 2nd floor.
As neither of us are accustomed to staying in 4 star hotels the first thing we noticed was the need to use your room key card to access the lift. This was certainly a security feature I quite liked as it meant anyone using the bar couldn't just head up to the floors where the rooms were. Our room was easy enough to find and once we went in we were both very impressed by the size of the room and the facilities available to us.
The room consisted of a large, Queen-size bed, a Sofa and a dressing table with the television on. There were also two other rooms, the bathroom and a separate toilet. The room also comes with an overly priced mini bar, £2.20 for a can of Coke, a safe to lock any valuables up in and a 17" flat screen TV with a few basic channels and the option of pay per View movies. The room was quite spacious though and provided us with a nice amount of room for our two day stay.
I thought it was a little odd that the bathroom and the toilet were separate but it actually turned out to be quite handy if one of us needed the toilet urgently while the other was using the bathroom. The toilet was simple a toilet on its own in a lockable room. While the bathroom consisted of a sink, bath and a very spacious power shower in its own separate cubicle. The bathroom, like the rest of the room, was quite spacious and both certainly gave good value for my £79 a night fee.
The only complaint I had with the hotel was the price of the extras. For starters the continental breakfast at £13.50 really didn't look to be worth it. For an extra £6 you could make that an English breakfast but for £18 it seemed far too expensive. Likewise the mini bar with Coke and water going for £2.20 and £2.50 respectively. The pay per view movies also seemed to be incredibly expensive at £8.99 for films that were on average 8 or 9 months old. When we checked in they took a swipe of the card to cover expenses but at these prices there was no fear of us getting anywhere near the £50 a night cover they take.
We did try to order some room service, even though we did find it a little expensive it seemed like a good idea. However when we phoned to order at 11pm on Saturday night they had already changed to the night time menu, an hour early, and we didn't have the night time menu in the room. The Hotel also has a gym and sauna but due to the nature of our stay and the fact we only really used the hotel for sleeping in we didn't get to use either so can't comment on what they were like.
When it came to checking out it was pretty much the same sort of speed of service as the check in procedure. We had the bill settled and ready to leave within about 5 minutes of arriving at the reception desk. The small amount of interaction we had with the staff they all seemed friendly enough and really made sure we had everything we needed. As we had a few hours to spare before our train on the Sunday we were also able to leave our luggage in their secure luggage room. This helped us immensely and made our last day in London a lot easier.
Overall the hotel did exactly what we were looking for. It provided us with a nice central base from which to explore London. It was easily accessible by tube and train, making it easy to find our way to where we wanted to go. The bed was comfortable enough and despite the price of the extras, the room was very good value and incredibly comfortable. If you are looking for a Hotel to explore London or for a theatre break I can certainly recommend the Novotel in Southwark. If you don't mind paying a little bit more than Holiday Inn Express or Travel Inn it certainly is worth the small amount more you will pay, if you can guarantee your trip will go ahead. I'll certainly be going back.
An AA 4 star New Generation Novotel located minutes from The London Eye, Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, Shakespeares Globe Theatre, Vinopolis and St Pauls Cathedral. Waterloo Eurostar Station, West End shopping, nightlife and theatreland are all a short tube ride away. Opened in 2003 this hotel offers 182 stylish and contemporary Novation bedrooms, WiFi wireless internet access, a Garden Brasserie restaurant, Clinks Bar and a rooftop Leisure and Fitness Suite with gym, sauna and steam room.