Staying at the Marriott County Hall brought out our inner James Bond. We took a side step off the tourist-filled Westminster Bridge and found a secret set of colonnades that led down to the hotel’s entrance. We were torn as to whether to check right in, or sample the hotel’s infamous Martini in the light and airy continental style restaurant and bar, Gillray’s. Martini supped (yes, we weren’t that torn) we made ourselves at home from home in what is the ultimate London bachelor pad, the hotel’s Westminster suite – complete with stellar views of the historical Houses of Parliament standing majestically over the mighty Thames. For those who look for a more contemporary London icon, there’s also an up close and personal view of the London Eye. All this is a very far cry from the somewhat dull functionality of the building in its previous incarnation – it was home to the now defunct Greater London Council that once governed the city – but thanks to the building’s architecture, the hotel’s designers had plenty of fabulous period features to play with, restore and showcase. The result is a tasteful, grand, characterful, five-star bolthole that is unmistakably ‘London’.

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