A definite perk of reviewing luxury hotels is that ‘wow!’ feeling when you walk into a hotel bedroom for the first time and find something completely unexpected. Unlocking the door to my suite at The Marylebone in central London was one of those moments.
It wasn’t sparked by the private staircase to my door off the main corridor, the wacky green circular coffee table or even the huge mirror which I later discovered was actually a television screen, but by discovering that I had my very own roof terrace.
Now it’s rare enough to find a room with a balcony in London but this was a proper terrace, decked out in the style of a ski chalet with wooden walls, cosy sofas with lots of cushions and a roaring (electric) fire, over which was another vast TV screen. A retractable roof and sides meant you could enjoy sun-bathing in a heatwave or stay warm in the winter, and while a view over the rooftops of central London are never going to match the Alps or rolling Tuscan hills, it was great fun seeing London from a totally new angle.
It took some time to tear myself away from the novelty of sitting outside in my little window on the world but the suite itself was worth a closer look. There was a kitchen area with coffee maker, minibar and two dozen glasses, and a lounge with the 1950s coffee table, a huge sofa, writing desk and the TV/mirror.
The bed was just round the corner and just next to that was a smart tiled bathroom with a separate bath and walk-in shower, bathroom scales and umpteen white fluffy towels.
What with a smaller TV by the bed and a TV at the end of the bath, I counted four televisions in all. However there was no time to watch any of them – guests at The Marylebone get free entry to the Third Space gym and pool which is in the basement of the same building.
Even though it was just downstairs, I found it incredibly hard to find, with no signs pointing the way from reception and staff directing me to a non-working (or marked) lift. Twice I ended up walking all the way through the hotel to the street on the other side of the block. However once there I enjoyed a pleasant swim and sauna and at least I’d discovered the hotel restaurant on my search.
Unlike many hotels, the bar and brasserie at The Marylebone – called 108 Brasserie – have their own separate street entrance – and actually look more welcoming than the main entrance which is more functional than ornate. This meant that they both both nicely buzzing on a late summer’s evening as people stopped by for a post-work or pre-dinner cocktail.
The cocktails at 108 Bar were excellent, being expertly made by bartender Engji Shala , and while it was busy the staff looked efficient and unruffled.
After trying both a Rhubarb Sour and a Salty Melon cocktail in rapid succession – both delicious – I was in need of some food. Thankfully the 108 Brasserie was just a few paces away and I promptly dived into the bread selection of sourdough, soda bread and a slightly sweet Guinness bread.
Then it was some beautifully-presented Isle of Skye scallops followed by fillet of sea trout with artichokes and samphire. The food was excellent and so speedily served that I took the rest of my wine upstairs to enjoy the luxury of watching TV outdoors in my private roof terrace.
For breakfast the next day I chose one of my Doyle Collection favourites (having sampled it first at The Marylebone’s sister hotel The Kensington) – a superfood egg white omelette with edamame, chia seeds, spinach and chili flakes, although I did lower the health-rating somewhat by adding some crispy bacon.
To restore the balance I had a large green juice (although I confess that coffee is much more my thing) and then reluctantly bid farewell to my roof terrace. At £2,500 a night it’s not a budget option – but made for a memorable stay.
Superior rooms at The Marylebone start from £225 inc VAT, Terrace Suite from £2,500 a night.