BACKGROUND Originally a townhouse before becoming a hotel, the five-star London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square is one of the brand's flagship properties in the UK. Not to be confused with the nearby Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel on Park Lane, nor with Guoman's The Grosvenor Hotel in Victoria, the luxury property has been managed by Marriott for 30 years. The hotel was renovated a few years ago. The £3.5 million project was completed in 2011, with the last phase seeing the refurbishment of 130 guestrooms (see news, May 2011). WHAT'S IT LIKE? The six-storey red brick property is ideally located for those wanting to visit central London, being just a minute's walk from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street. The smart lobby has a marble floor and contains a long reception desk to the left. The staff at four computer consoles ensured a swift check-in. Opposite reception sits a selection of sofas and armchairs. The entrance to Gordon Ramsay's Maze and Maze Grill restaurants are at one end of the lobby, while a staircase heads downstairs to a business centre, lounge, fitness centre and meeting facilities. WHERE IS IT? In the centre of Mayfair on the north-east corner of Grosvenor Square, a two-minute walk from Bond Street underground station, and a few minutes from Park Lane. ROOM FACILITIES There are 237 guestrooms, including eight Balcony Suites and 12 One-Bedroom Corner Suites. I was staying in a Balcony Suite on the first floor. All eight rooms of this type are situated around a garden courtyard that only Balcony Suite guests can access. Each has a private terrace with direct access, via a small wooden gate, to the garden. Balcony Suite On entering the room from the corridor, the bathroom was on the left, with a large floor-to-ceiling wardrobe on the right. This contained a safe, minibar, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, and a kettle with tea bags and coffee sachets. The room had a wooden floor with a rug in the centre, on which sat a mirrored glass table in front of a brown leather sofa. This was at the foot of a modern four-poster bed and facing a flatscreen television tucked into a wall neatly above a fake, but effective, fireplace feature. In one corner was a glass-topped desk with a lamp and telephone on top – an ideal place to work, although the desk was erred to the small size. The king-size bed was very comfortable, with two large glass-topped tables on each side. Both had a lamp, one also had a telephone on top and the other a digital alarm clock/iPhone docking station. The room was near silent, although the manually-controlled air conditioning made quite a bit of noise. There was one double-glazed window and a double-glazed door going out to the private courtyard. Balcony Private garden for Balcony Suites As my stay was in mid-January, I didn't spend much time in the astro-turfed garden, other than to take a quick look. With a ball-shaped water feature in the centre, it is surely a relaxing environment in the summer months. The balcony features chairs, a table and another fake fireplace feature. The marble-floored bathroom contained a short but deep bathtub, a shower with both traditional showerhead and a rain shower, and L'Occitone products. A sliding partition between the bedroom and the bathroom can be moved to either bring the bathtub "into" the bedroom or to leave a frosted-glass effect wall behind which is the shower. Without being able to use the balcony during my January stay (it was freezing outside), the suite was perhaps a little on the disappointing side for a five-star hotel. However, both the bedroom and bathroom were very comfortable. RESTAURANTS AND BARS The Michelin-starred Maze restaurant is located a few steps up from reception on the ground floor, and can be accessed either via the lobby or via an external entrance for non-guests. As you’d expect, the predominantly French food is delicious and the service excellent. The adjacent, and less formal, Maze Grill steakhouse is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Elsewhere, the prohibition-themed Luggage Bar can be found a few steps downstairs from reception, below the Maze Grill restaurant. It has its own separate entrance for the public, to the left of the main hotel entrance. BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES A business centre with two PCs, a printer and stationery is on the lower ground floor, next to the Business Lounge with buffet food, a large television, a selection of magazines and newspapers and plenty of easy chairs. There are 14 meeting rooms with 1,324 sqm of total meeting space. LEISURE FACILITIES A fitness centre on the lower ground floor contains Technogym and Lifeline equipment. VERDICT London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square has much to recommend it, particularly its location and the Maze restaurant. Although mildly underwhelming for a five-star hotel, the suite was comfortable — its private balcony and garden would be ideal in the summer — and the service warm and friendly. FACT FILE
- HOW MANY ROOMS? 237 – 126 Deluxe Guest rooms; 50 Grosvenor Square rooms; 41 Executive rooms; eight Balcony Suites and 12 One-Bedroom Corner Suites.
- HIGHLIGHTS Gordon Ramsay's Maze restaurant, the location and friendly staff.
- PRICE A midweek stay in a Balcony Suite in late February starts at £409.
- CONTACT London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 6JP; tel +44 (0)20 7493 1232; marriottgrosvenorsquare.com