When lockdown number 2 ended a long weekend away was needed to get back to normality. Having a look around the UK for low tier areas London was high on the list. Naturally, it was never going to be in tier 3 as that’s where Boris lives and it would be too much of an inconvenience…
With an offer recently saved to my AmEx Gold card “Spend £150 at Radisson get £50 back”, I booked the Radisson Blu Edwardian Kenilworth through Hotels.com. At £184 for 2 nights it was the cheapest Radisson in London. An hour after booking I received an email saying the hotel is closed and that we would be moved to The Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street. To put that into context, Radisson has 18 properties in London, Mercer street is their second most expensive hotel, only being outdone by The May Fair.
If you’re into central London vibes, Mercer Street is perfect. In the centre point of Seven Dials, Covent Garden, you’re in the thick of it. Head offices for Red Bull and Google are on adjoining streets and for foodies, places like Hawksmoor, Wahaca and Cafe Pacifico are all within 4-5 mins walking distance.
As you’d expect, driving in by car is a bit of a slog with our average speed being 8 miles per hour… You can just pull up right outside the hotel though to unload your bags. Make sure you park at one of NCP’s, there are a few around within walking distance and they “ONLY” charge £30 per 24 hours. Other none NCP’s charge £60-100 per 24 hours so that £30 a day is made to look like a bargain.
If you’re wanting to save a bit of cash and give the environment a bit of a break, travelling by train is your best bet. Whichever way you’re coming from you’ll need to change at least once at Leicester Square.
Checking in was a complete and utter ball-ache. I had to fight on with security to let me up the road to even get to the hotel so I could unload. I then had to take the trolley out and load it myself and then lug it all the way through the hotel up to my room. Not very inviting at all given how thick the carpets are and the fact the baggage probably weighed 80KG. I may as well have been pulling a weighted sled along treacle. All of this was after a 7-hour drive and the not so smooth check-in process where they may as well have asked for my genome to be sequenced.
The first room we were checked into was a standard king room and christ was it small! The ceiling was only probably 2.1 meters and if you were to swing a cat, it wouldn’t take long before its head was bashed in. This wasn’t even their entry room, this was a free upgrade because I’m gold with Hotels.com. Despite being on the top floor and having an almost decent view of London it is certainly not worth the £120 a night they charge. Regrettably no photo due to not wanting to be in the room one moment longer than needed to be.
After complaining we were upgraded to an Executive room this time on the 5th floor with no view. Not too large, not too small, a perfect sized room. It is worth mentioning though, based solely on the other Radisson Blu Edwardian properties in London I’ve stayed at, I’d consider the room a standard king room and should be priced accordingly, not an executive room.
If you’re used to a super king, the king-size bed is a bit of a downgrade on. Having said that boy is it comfy. The soft sheets are nice on your skin and it doesn’t take long to get some heat into the rather heavy duvet. It is rather difficult to force yourself to get out of in the morning, being how snug you are. My only gripe is the pillows of which there are only 2. They’re nice and everything but there not quite supportive enough on their own and 2 is overkill.
As a side note, I had to request for 2 more pillows a total of 3 times before I actually received them.
The bathroom is fine, nothing to write home about really. The low slung bath is fairly small and realistically only big enough for 1. A random issue I found which may pop up, when the door is open (say when you have some music on in the room) you cant get in or out of the shower. I do like the large full-length mirror on the back of the door.
Speaking of the shower, it isn’t a standalone one so you’re stood in the bath. Who in their right mind installs a plug like the above? Holy F@#K!!! I wouldn’t be surprised if an X-Ray showed my Talus bone smashed into 20 pieces. Just going about my day with a standard shower when I turn round and bam!!! At least when you stand on a plug or lego block you’re not surprised, in a shower though!!
Glossing over that whole debacle though, the shower is very good, simple to use and very powerful even at high temps. The toiletries are provided by REN, coming as a surprise to me the REN shower gel was actually nice for once and the shampoo leaves your hair squeaky clean.
The sink is plenty large enough, it would be nice if the tap was longer though as when it’s on low it only just clears the edge. The large mirror is welcomed even if only one of the sidelights work. The beauty mirror is a bit of a joke only sliding up and down, panning left to right. It would be nice to have had it on a telescopic arm so you weren’t impersonating an escapologist when using it.
The TV is BIG, probably 65″ which is perfect when sitting on the sofa and still pretty good when lying in bed. The smart features have been disabled so Netflix and the likes are out of the window. You can screen mirror providing you’re on Android but that’s inconvenient at times.
As I always comment on, the power sockets were as they should be, in useful locations and easy to access. 1 double socket at either side of the bed including 2 USB charger ports. 1 double socket at the table and 1 next to the entrance of the bathroom. It would be sweet if they had a double socket at either end of the sofa in the floor but I was happy enough.
There’s no in-room office desk, instead, it’s more of a generic glass table and seats. There’s still ethernet ports, power, HDMI, etc, but it isn’t a desk with a comfy office chair so don’t be expecting to be typing out the works of Chaucer in any sort of comfort.
The large sofa was very deep and comfy should you be inclined to binge out on a box set or movie. Oh, and if you think there’s an earthquake every 15 mins or so, don’t worry I’m pretty sure the Picadilly Line runs directly under the hotel.
Obviously, with the whole WuFlu situation, the minibar was empty and you had to request items so we didn’t bother with that. The complimentary umbrella is a nice touch though given that it is London.
To mention “The 19” again, the restaurant and bar were only open for the first night of our stay. If I had known that I would have made use of it as it sounded like a good vibe when walking past.
Having a look around it’s a nice venue and a well-stocked bar. We were able to order room service, but drinks in the room aren’t drinks at the bar, are they?
A nice aspect was the length of the restaurant coupled with the full glass frontage looking out onto the idyllic Mercer Street. It just gives it a quaint vibe which is a rarity in central London.
Comfy sofas and seats, a mellow beat in the background and nice lighting meant it was a nice place to hang out. I would have spent a good bit more time here if I didn’t have large ears making wearing a mask uncomfortable.
Interestingly there was no TV, no drinks machine, no magazines or books or anything for that matter. Just a place to chill.
If you’ve got your laptop though, it’s a good place to type up a review and edit the associated images. While we’re on that note…
If you are without a laptop and need to get some quick work done or order some tickets that need to be printed, the semi-private office has a kitted out iMac and comfy office chair which should be more than sufficient.
Located in the basement the gym was actually fairly impressive, Requiring a room key to get in it had pretty much everything you’d want from cardio machines to resistance weights. It’s open 24/7 but make sure you’re dressed for the occasion as there are no changing rooms (towels and water on entry).
Once again another faff. We were asked what time we would like breakfast as it is served from 07:00 through to 11:00. We asked for 10:30 so we could have a lie in. As we stroll out of the lift and into the retaurant at 10:28 were told that the kitchen closes at 10:30…
We did manage to get a cooked breakfast although it’s the first time I’ve ever felt like I was being rushed eating breakfast. There was a decent selection however I didn’t really get the opportunity to try everything out. The above image is their English Breakfast, again to be expected in London. It was very nice, I’d struggle to justify spending £26 per person on it though so try and get it included in your stay when you book.
If you’re wanting to be in the heart of London, it’s a very convenient hotel. The staff are a mixed bag, some are extremely helpful and nice, others will consider you to be an inconvenience. I think if there’s a decent deal on an executive room or better it may be worth it. The fact I started out in an upgraded room and that was abysmal as it was, I’d hate to see their entry-level rooms.
From what i’ve been told, the corner suites on the 6th and 7th floor have incredible views and I believe them, That’s probably the only reason i’d visit the hotel again. There are better Radisson’s in london, with Radisson Blu Edwardian, Mercer Street you are paying solely on the location.