Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Marriott London Kensington

1 Jan 2007 by business traveller

WHAT'S IT LIKE? Previously a Swallow hotel (and still marked as such on some maps), the Marriott London Kensington was renovated in 2003 to include a glass atrium stretching from floor to ceiling of this seven-storey hotel. This gives the hotel a modern look, particularly at night when light from the building shines out on to the busy Cromwell Road.

WHERE IS IT? If you've ever travelled by car from central London to Heathrow airport, chances are you will have passed the Marriott London Kensington (follow Cromwell Road west and it becomes the A4). The hotel is also within walking distance of both Gloucester Road tube (served by the Piccadilly line for Heathrow, and the Circle and District lines) and Earls Court (Piccadilly and District lines).

HOW MANY ROOMS? 216 rooms – a mixture of standard, executive and superior, with four junior suites and one suite.

ROOM FACILITIES Rooms have a mixture of views, from side streets to atrium aspects – my executive room on the seventh floor looked out on to the atrium and beyond to Cromwell Road. Having a floor-to-ceiling glass atrium (apparently the tallest of its kind in Europe) means that those rooms looking out on to it still get plenty of light and have the added sound barrier of another wall of glass between themselves and the busy main road.

I found it a little strange that the large Marriott logo was attached to the top of the atrium outside my bedroom window, meaning my view was partially obscured by a bright red reversed "t", although black-out curtains prevented this from giving me nightmares.

Standard rooms have queen-size beds (all bedding is Marriott's comfortable Revive brand), while executive and superior rooms have either a king-size or two queens, with superior rooms being larger in size and also enjoying a separate bath and shower. Executive and superior rooms include access to the lounge on the lower ground floor, with complimentary Healthy Start breakfast.

All rooms have air conditioning, satellite TV, wired and wifi internet access at £15 per day, tea and coffee-making facilities, iron and ironing board, minibar, safe and hairdryer.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS Fratelli is an Italian open-kitchen restaurant at the front of the hotel, serving pasta (penne with fresh basil pesto, garlic and pine nuts, £11), meats and fish (wild Pacific halibut fillet with red pepper vinaigrette, £16) and pizzas from £11. Breakfast is also served here from 6.30am, and there is a circular booth in the middle of the restaurant for small meetings. Nabuco Bar is located just off the lobby area, and serves light tapas snacks. There is also a Costa Coffee outlet on the ground floor, open 6.30am to midnight.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The hotel has nine meeting spaces, from the Veneto suite, which holds 220 theatre-style and is divisible into four smaller rooms, down to the Lugana room, holding eight boardroom-style. Facilities include wired internet access, AV equipment, overhead projectors and video-conferencing. There is also a business centre, as well as wifi internet access in all public areas.

LEISURE FACILITIES The Marriott Leisure Club includes a 12-metre indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, spa bath and gym.

VERDICT A convenient stop for those arriving or departing from Heathrow but wanting to stay in town, the Marriott London Kensington has all the facilities you would expect of a four-star business hotel.

PRICES Fully flexible internet rates for a midweek stay in early February started at £199, room only.

CONTACT Marriott London Kensington, 147 Cromwell Road, London, +44 (0)870 400 7266, marriott.co.uk/lonlm

Mark Caswell

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