Now is the time to visit London, that’s my view based on taking semi-regular trips to the big smoke for the last 8 years. The reason being, everything is open, the weather is great and there are barely any people there. Wanting to try somewhere new I booked Leonardo Royal London St Paul’s as I’ve wanted to stay here for some years now.
As the hotel name suggest, you’ll be staying opposite St Pauls Cathederal. That means parking for the day will run you a swift £49 at somewhere like Baynard House Car Park. If your traveling by train, you’ll want the Central Line (Red) to St Pauls followed by an easy 5 min walk.
For places to grab a bite to eat you have places like Five Guys, Wagamama, The Ivy Asia, et al all within a couple of minutes walk or if you’re after a little retail therapy there’s One New Change shopping centre.
Executive Twin Deluxe
As this booking was part of a spur of the moment trip with a family member, I chose to go for a twin room. Specifically, a Deluxe Twin Executive which is the best room the hotel has to offer with 2 beds. The room pictured above was actually the 3rd room I settled on. The first 2 rooms were facing into the atrium and with floor to ceiling windows, there felt like zero privacy from anyone in the hotel. So third time lucky and about 30 mins of time wasted, we settled on room 324. A nice room, decent enough size that they didn’t have to shoehorn the beds in and a view of the street which was much more private than the other side of the hotel. If you’re wanting a decent view, you won’t be getting one with a twin room. I’m told that all the views of St Pauls Cathedral are all king-bed rooms or suites.
There’s not much to the Deluxe Twin Executive room, a couple of nightstands, 2 chairs, a desk. The 2 Queen sized beds were perfect in my opinion, fairly firm with a heavy duvet. Something I didn’t expect was that all 4 cushions were rather firm, it’s commonplace for hotels to have 2 soft and 2 firm pillows to choose from. As I’m partial to a firm pillow it was a great nights sleep but I guess for others the option of pillow would be nice.
The bathroom was an average size but they used the space well managing to even have a shower seperate to the bath, some of the top 5 star hotels in London don’t even have that. Granted, you will hit your elbows on the side but with the water preassure being comparable to standing under niagra falls, it takes the edge off it some what. I never got chance to use the bath but I’d imagine it wouldn’t take long to fill, not because it’s small quite the opposite actually, it’s just the flow rate is that high.
Something which baffled me was how low down the sink is. I guess with it being a twin room some families with small kids will use it, thnk hobit size.
Toileteries are provided by Ghilchrist and Soames which you’ll never hear of as they’re basically a white lable hotel and spa supplier. In all fairness though, it’s some of the best shampoo ive used which i wasn’t expecting.
It’s a nice touch to see your name on the TV, a fair sized good quality TV none the less with free Sky Sports through out your stay. What takes away from that is when you go to use said TV and someone has stolen 1 of the 2 tripple A batteries out of the remote. For years I’ve seen hotels screw the backs of the remotes closed and always thought “Who in their right mind steals batteries out of TV remotes at a hotel”. Turns out, it is a thing…
That obviously means I can’t tell you what the TV was like, what chanells you have access to etc. Not sure how the cleaners never piced up on the fact there was only 1 battery in.
The office desk was okay if a little shallow. The office chair was extremely comfortable, not the most ergonomic which i don’t mind if I’m comfy. Whilst were on the chair, you know when youve got a wheeled chair and you go to move on carpet and it’s like wading through treacle, somehow it just glided over the carpet shoul you be the fidgety type.
Practicaly speaking the room was perfectly wired up. A socket on either side of the beds, each with built in USB chargers should you have forgotten your plug. The desk has a double socket, again with a USB port. I never got to test out the ethernet as I wasn’t uploding anything large but the options appreciated. In terms of light switches, there were a good few but all could be turned off with 1 switch at either side of the beds.
As a first for me, I’ll have a quick bit on security, and the fact I’m having to do so should be somewhat of a concern. Neither the elevators nor stairs require a room key to access and use which means you can walk in from the street and have access to the whole hotel. What makes this even more alarming is when you expect your door to your room to close on its own and come back after an hour to see that it hadn’t. To be clear, they are self-closing doors, it’s just room 324 needs its door rehung as it jams before fully closing as you can see above.
SABINE Rooftop Bar
What a mixed bag, I think before you book your stay at the hotel, you have to make a reservation for an outside table at Sabine. Otherwise, when you check into the hotel, you’ll be told “It’s fully booked for the next week or so”.
A rare phenomenon in that it’s perhaps the only rooftop bar in London where you don’t need to be dressed to the hilt to get in, smart casual is enough. There’s a decent vibe despite the pandemic however that is soon brought down by the unmannerly pleb that is the manager Davido. I have no idea how he became manager but after a brief encounter with him, I immediately left. A shame really as whoever the woman was greeting guest when they arrived was amazing, polite, and all-around a nice person. Talk about the wrong person for the job.
If you do have the great fortune not to bump into Davido, it’s a nice place to be. As it’s somewhat of a gin bar, a lot of the cocktails are gin-based. I’d imagine in a few months when everything blows over, being sat around the bar on a summers day with the roof open would be ?.
Outside is realistically where you want to be though and with a view like the above you can see why the tables are booked so far in advance.
As the sun goes down the evening starts to come alive, by this point you’ll have waxed a good chunk of money on drinks. It isn’t about the money though, like I say, if you can avoid Davido, you’ll have an amazing experience.
It’s a good job there’s plenty of nice seats in the hotel lobby as you’ll be queueing for some time when you go to check-in. There’s one woman working flat out to check people in and another guy just at a computer doing what looks like very little. There’s a few TV’s kicking around to pass the time a little easier but no water fountain or anything.
The main atrium area is stunning! A vast open space with a plethora of natural light smashing through the glass ceiling and walls. Despite how much light there is, I think the glass blocks out the thermals as it always seems to be at a nice temperature and there’s no air conditioning.
The atrium also serves as a bar and mini restraunt serving drinks, cocktails and lunch. You can if you want just head down with your laptop and type away rattling work off as you sip a cocktail or 2.
The Spa and Gym
I never got the chance to take a look or use the gym as it was only a short stay. Just like the spa though it’s open from 06:30 through to 22:00 daily (With the spa, the last entry is 21:30). Both are free to use for guest’s
Unfortunately for the purposes of the blog, they don’t allow any photos to be taken inside whatsoever. I can say though that the spa facilities are very nice and well worth setting an alarm for 07:00. Think country house changing rooms into a nice pool, plunge Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room (Though there are restrictions of 2 people at a time currently). The pool is an okay water temperature should you want to get your pre-work laps in. If that is you then get in early as once you hit 08:00 the kids are starting to enter and there’s no chance your doing lengths.
Served from 06:30 until 10:30 you have to book your slot when checking in. 08:00 was a good shout as it was extremely quiet until we were leaving at 08:50 where things started to get extremely busy with people queueing to get in. Breakfast will run you £18 per person which I don’t think it’s worth. If you can get it for £12 a head or less when you book your room I’d add it.
Can I say how refreshing it was to have a buffet breakfast? Yes, when you get to the buffet, you are asked what you would like and they will plate it up, but there’s no judgement about having 4 sausages, beans and toast then going back for another plate of beans, sausage, eggs, bacon and hash browns… If a full English isn’t for you, there was plenty of continental stuff which looked pretty good, along with a whole load of pastries and cereal.
The lack of security is a massive concern and should be addressed immediately given that people are getting chopped up not too far away in parks during broad daylight! Once that’s sorted though, I would recommend a stay even if you don’t really want to be in that area. Starting at £120 a night for a 4-star hotel in London is a good deal and yes it’s 4 star, but I honestly think it wouldn’t take much for them to upgrade it to a 5 star.