Thursday 7 December 2017

Review: Novotel London Excel

It’s very rare that I stay overnight in a hotel in London as it’s where I work and I live just on the outskirts. In fact I can’t actually remember the last time I stayed in a hotel in the city or indeed if I ever actually have!

Recently I was put up overnight in a hotel near the Excel centre for an event I was attending there - the Novotel London Excel. It was going to finish at 11.30 which was too late for me to be able to get a train home –Excel is out to the east –and a taxi would probably have been nearly as expensive as the room, considering I’m fairly sure the event organisers would have got a block booking discount.
The Novotel London Excel is right next to the Excel centre – literally a five minute walk which is great if you are attending an event there. Unsurprisingly there are several hotels in the area, many of them along a little row that also has a couple of restaurants and convenience stores – the Ibis next door, the Crowne Plaza a bit further up, and even a fancy yacht that’s actually a floating hotel.

Check in and check out were both as quick and efficient as you might imagine at a hotel next to a big conference centre – they must have times when there are huge numbers of people wanting to check out at the same time! The lobby looked very modern and nicer than I was expecting for a chain hotel, complete with Christmas decorations. The room was also bigger than I expected, with a cool London design on the wall above the bed, though the toilet was separate to the bathroom and in such a tiny room it was hard to squeeze in with my baby bump!

I didn’t spend a huge amount of time in the hotel itself but I did have breakfast there. Again as speed and efficiency is probably quite important, it was a buffet breakfast, with various hot and cold options. I’m not a big fan of cooked breakfasts so went to make myself a sausage sandwich, but when I cut into the sausages they were completely pink and undercooked inside. I wouldn’t have been keen on eating them that way normally but as I’m pregnant there was no way I was eating them, so went back to the buffet and picked two more sausages that looked better cooked. They were equally pink inside so I gave up, told a member of staff and had a croissant instead, which was a bit disappointing!

It also took me until about half way through breakfast, after all the faffing around with the sausages, before I was able to find someone to ask for a cup of tea – there was nowhere to help yourself and they didn’t come to my table, which again was a bit disappointing. It seemed a pretty good hotel otherwise so it was a shame that I felt a bit let down by the breakfast. Having said that I was lucky not to be evacuated at 2.30 am by a fire alarm that went off in one of the nearby hotels so I did at least get a good night’s sleep!

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