Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Landmark Hotel - A Review



With its central location The Landmark makes for a perfect destination whether you intend to visit for business or leisure purposes. I was there to revel in the hotel’s ample luxurious qualities when winding down from a day of indulging in tourist behavior ( with Madame Tussauds a short walk away and London Zoo just one stop on the tube).

As soon as you arrive at The Landmark you are impressed by the majestic red brick building standing proud amongst its rivals. The architect Robert William Edis was applauded for his buildings which showcased the gothic-revival style, but this particular masterpiece was aimed to reflect the wealth and power or the Victorian era. Aside from Edis’ gawp inducing main structure, the ornate awning housing the dapper uniformed doorman works as the perfect initial reminder of the hotels superior status.

The interior has an undeniable 'wow factor' with its vast central courtyard/atrium which features the Winter Garden dining area. It’s taken the term 'bringing the outside in' to a whole new level. Set amongst the rattan furniture and vases in bloom, the exotic palms transport you to far more glamorous continent - a cream colonial dream. This central area has a chilled vibe, the feeling of a people-watching holiday eating area which has incredible light thanks to the glass roof that stands atop of the multiple stories that encase the space. Other areas within the hotel feel grand and rich, with marble columns, expensive carpets, elaborate gold framed oil paintings and mahogany upholstered furniture.


I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times -  the staff are what makes a hotel. I have stayed in some fantastic looking establishments, but have had a mediocre time overall due to the cold or disingenuous staff ‘looking after me.’ At the reception I was immediately greeted with a warm smile and promptly offered a tour of the hotel while my luggage was taken to my room. I noticed that the perfectly groomed girl guiding me round was wearing a trainee badge, not that her knowledge and manner gave that detail away. She had a natural charm that no amount of training can shape, something which was consistent throughout the staff during my stay - all thankfully avoiding the trap of being cold and stiff with their professionalism.


During the tour I was taken to view the Spa area which features a very visually pleasing 15 metre pool, lit magically by a large overhead ceiling light and flanking spotlights. This is welcome feature for those wanting to vent work frustrations through vigorous water strokes, or for those needing a wakening plunge in the morning. The chlorine-free heated pool means pregnant guests can also take a dip without worrying about any nasty side effects. The area also offers steam rooms, a multi-sensory sanarium, monsoon showers and a vast amount of treatments utilizing the healing and soothing powers of ESPA and VOYA. As I was visiting to the hotel for just one night, for purposes all pointing to fun and 'treating yourself', I would not be using the gym which overlooks the pool. It looked compact but appeared to feature all equipment a fitness fanatic could need, including up to date Star-Trac cardiovascular and resistance equipment.


Dressed in our relative finery we headed to the Mirror Mirror Bar for pre-dinner cocktails. For such a large hotel this is a comfortingly intimate space, but given the illusion of space thanks to decadent collection of mirrors that decorate the walls.  Despite being a difficult customer with my  inconvenient allergies to alcohol and citrus, the new Head Mixologist, the characterful Salvatore - an eccentric scientist of drink - created the most delicious combination ever to grace my fragile tongue. His knowledge of the history of liquor, his flamboyant flair and obvious love for creating cocktails made the whole experience extremely entertaining as well as delicious. His unique presence alone is draw enough to return to the cosy bar in my opinion. Incidentally Mr Maggio runs a class that offers a fun and informal couple of hours in which guests can learn how to shake, mix and muddle cocktails whilst enjoying delectable canap├ęs. The Master classes cost £45 per person and are available Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday.


With taste buds awakened and zinging we headed to the Twenty Twenty Two Restaurant and attempted to pick our course choices from the extensive modern European menu. There is a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere despite its stately paneled wooden walls and opulent chandeliers, perhaps in part thanks to the rowdy bunch of businessmen enjoy their post conference festivities near the bar area. The waiting staff did all they could (with a genuine smile) to make my guest and I feel special and looked after, which included helping our indecisive selves pick from the many glorious options. Despite feeling the need for a post food gorge lie down after my faultless starter and main, I could not resist the allure of the Chocolate Fondant. Thank goodness I succumbed to my lifelong chocolate addiction - the creation almost caused a happy weep with it’s rich and gooey brilliance.

 
Beaming and suitably full we wanted to make the most of the many comforts of our spacious suite. Although positioned slightly oddly there is a large flat screen TV (complete with keyboard and various viewing options) which we made the most of swathed in the luxury of the matching hotel robes. The decor is classic with a twist - striped wallpaper, glass tables, gold framed mirrors with quirky pictures clustered around the head of the Queen-sized bed. With the marbled twin sink area, bath/shower and toilet split into three separate areas you are once again reminded of the five star status. It also gifts you with the ability to groom and preen in mystery - perfect for new couples. There is even a third phone by the toilet. Now what makes you feel more like an A-Lister than a phone in the loo?!


We had sufficient proof of the high quality of service in the communal dining areas of the hotel so we opted for breakfast courtesy of room service. It was punctual, hot and extremely tasty albeit it quite expensive by my usual standards (£29.00 for English Breakfast options). If I’m honest I think we really opted for breakfast in bed to make the most of  the remaining time in our homely suite. Lying on the bed that was so comfy that Mr Sandman promptly arrived last night despite our mutual resistance to sleep, we soaked up a few more minutes in our matching hotel robes and slippers. We also enjoyed a final few minutes with the knowledge that if we wanted our shoes shined we could!


I can’t remember feeling more sad when completing check-out than when I had to mark the end of my stay at The Landmark. I’d be in line for nit-picker of the year if I was to find fault with my stay, and I don’t wish to tarnish this glowing review with a trivial observation just because I feel it necessary to be critical in my role of reviewer. When the hotel Porter wished me goodbye and said' it was lovely having you stay with us Ms Eggleton', I almost had to stop myself from saying,'Well if it really has been lovely to have stay, can I stay a bit longer please?!

I will conclude my gushing by saying that the only negative part was having to leave The Landmark. 

I stayed in the Executive Room £380 plus vat


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