Whilst attending the Britmums Live Conference, My husband, two of our children and I, stayed in the luxurious five star Montcalm Hotel. The conference was being held at The Brewery Conference rooms, which are part of the same building, so nothing could beat it in terms of proximity.
Check in at The Montcalm was smooth and welcoming. I was greeted with a hot towel and a member of management came down to greet me personally, before the bell boy took our luggage and escorted us to our room.
The building is very old, steeped in history and fascinating architecture. This holds the drawback of lots of corridors and many steps, however I found this to be a rather charming quirk. I was concerned about accessibility with a double side-by-side pushchair. I needn’t have been. We were led through The Jugged Hare pub and into the lift. One floor up and two doors along, was our room. I would recommend though, that wheelchair or pushchair users, state their accessibility needs at the time of booking, after hearing of a friend who could not access her room due to the amount of steps.
Our room was very modern and exceptionally clean. Having worked in all aspects of the hotel industry myself, I know how difficult it is to get mirrors so clean that they look as though they’ve never been touched. This was the case here. I did a bit of Alex Polizzi and couldn’t find any dust or dirt anywhere!
The room was a reasonable size, although my inner snob was disappointed that the bed was only a double. I’d recently stayed in a four star London hotel, which offered Super King sized beds as standard. For the price at The Montcalm, I was surprised there wasn’t at least a King. However, the bed was exceptionally comfortable and there were plenty of pillows.
The room contained a few WOW factors:
There was free unlimited WIFI in the hotel and a range of technology in the room, including an ipod dock and a large flatscreen TV.
I’m pretty sure the floor tiles in the bathroom were heated. If not – they were constantly very warm, which was lovely. There was also a rainfall shower.
The biggest WOW factor for me had to be the bathroom though. There was a remote control next to the bath. If you pressed it, the wall disappeared. That’s right… the wall… moved! It would retract up into the ceiling, leaving a spotlessly clean, full length window in it’s place. What for? Well the main idea is so you can watch the bedroom television, from the bath! I also found it great though for being able to see the twins asleep in their cots. If they woke up, I’d be able to see them and know they were alright. But what about hearing the sound from the TV? Well there was another dial next to the bath… one for the bathroom speakers! You could turn them off (for example when your husband puts Top Gear on for the millionth time this year), or you can turn them up (when Eastenders comes on)!
Or if you are my husband, you can stand in the bath and press the remote control so that the wall moves up to show just his legs. Then on entertaining us in the bedroom for a few moments with strange leg antics… he proceeded to do a mime act across the window. I’m not sure that was it’s main design feature though!
Two baby cots were put in our room for the twins. Fully made up and with REAL mattresses. proper, thick, supportive mattresses. That’s a hotel first for us. Most hotels just offer the usual flimsy travel cot mattress. I was impressed, and so were the twins, who enjoyed a lay in both mornings.
The range of toiletries were great, as were the tea & coffee making facilities; and no… I’m not the kind of girl that fills my suitcase with them! I left what I didn’t use, for the next guest! There were warm white fluffy bathrobes and slippers, as well as decent sized towels, an ironing board and iron, hairdryer, shoe shine products etc.
The room also contains a fragrancer – which you can turn on or off or change the fragrance of your bedroom! What a funky novelty.
Being in a Club Room, we had 24 hour access to the club lounge, although we didn’t really make use of this. It was a grand room with a giant wall art and beautiful chandeliers. A very pretty and inspiring room, I should imagine, if you are trying to work or even just relax with a brandy in the evening.
I loved the ambience of the hotel. I loved the design, the quirks, the feel of luxury. The location was a winning factor for me too and I popped back to my room numerous times during the two day Britmums Live event.
Spa / Wellness Centre
The only let down for me, was the Wellness Centre. I had gotten quite excited about it, especially as it is open 24/7. It’s down in the basement, but there is only one male and one female changing room and the lock was broken on the female one. So whilst the changing room was lovely, I wouldn’t be showering in there and I had to get changed inside my towel. I enjoyed the Sauna and Steam room, although the lights weren’t working in either so I had to sit in the dark. I reported this to reception an hour later and they reassured me they would send maintenance down immediately. I spoke to a man who had used the spa only an hour before me, and it had all been working fine then, so I doubt this is a usual problem. I didn’t book a treatment, so I cannot comment on this. There was a small state of the art gym, which was great, and I’d have used, if I’d had more time.
The breakfast… OH the breakfast. Just brilliant! There’s a decent time window which covers the late risers as well as the early birds, which is a good start. Breakfast consisted of a hot buffet, as well as a menu to order from if you fancied something a little more special. There was a cold buffet too, of cereals, fresh fruit, yoghurts, croissants and pastries and even a granola, yoghurt and coulis type medley arranged all pretty in a glass. There were fresh fruit juices, smoothies in tall shot glasses and tea and coffee a plenty. We thoroughly enjoyed breakfast both mornings.
The Jugged Hare
We also went down to The Jugged Hare in the evening for Dinner. We both ordered a traditional pie and mash. It was utterly delicious. I also sampled one of their desserts and my husband and I shared a bottle of wine. We found the menu to be rather pricey, but then again, we were in central London, and we’d only had to go down in the lift to get there! What’s more, we felt that we were perfectly welcome in there with our twins in their pushchair, even in the late evening. We also had drinks and snacks at the bar, which was lively and friendly.
The main thing that struck me as five star throughout the hotel, the bar and the restaurant, was the service. There are a LOT of staff around to help you. Service in everything is polite, professional and not just fast, but instantaneous. Literally second to none.
Would I stay again?
The Montcalm wasn’t faultless, but it was very good and we have already booked to stay there again for the same conference next year!