Posts Tagged ‘London’

Apple Apartments Greenwich O2, 1 Providence Place (27 Blackwall Lane) London, England

One of the great joys in my life is my family. I have two beautiful daughters of whom I am unfailingly proud. It is, therefore, a great delight that they agree the three of us should have a ‘girls’ weekend’ once a year.Apple apts livingroom diningroom

This year we spent our special weekend in London, at Apple Apartments Greenwich O2, 1 Providence Place (27 Blackwall Lane) London, England . It was a lovely weekend and the apartment was very spacious.Apple apts livingroom kitchen

We had three double bedrooms an en-suite shower room and a family bathroom upstairs with a large living/dining/kitchen and small wc downstairs. The concierge was helpful, the accommodation was spotlessly clean and the beds were comfortable, so the most important boxes were ticked. Apple apts main bedroom

Little things brought the apartment from excellent to good. The third bedroom had no bedside light, so I moved one from the main bedroom, only to find it had no bulb, so I needed to move a bulb from the sidelight in the living area. There was a dishwasher, but no tablets to allow us to use it. There was washing up liquid but no cloth or brush to give it effect. There were no dish towels to allow us to dry dishes, so we ended up using a hand towel.Apple apts bed 2

Having said all this there were sufficient mugs, glasses, plates and cutlery for the three of us to enjoy meals in the apartment. There was a tea bag and three sachets of sugar. Happily, we came prepared and the predilection of the British to drink tea continued unabated!Apple Apts bed 3

The bathroom facilities were exceptional. I was pleasantly surprised to have a  downstairs wc as well as the two bathrooms upstairs. It was a very useful and welcome addition to the accommodation. There were plenty of hand towels and bath towels.Apple Apts family bathroom

The beds were all comfortable with crisp white sheets, however, the stairs leading upstairs were quite steep and I was surprised that there was only a bannister on one side of them. Nevertheless this did not detract from our comfort during our stay. Apple Apts ensuite

My daughters treated me to a visit to the Duchess Theatre in Catherine Street where we saw the hilarious show, The Play that went Wrong. Public transport to and from the Apple Apartments Greenwich O2 to the theatre district was good. There is only one underground line from the nearest station at North Greenwich, but trains run regularly.Apple Duchess Theatre

All in all, we had a lovely weekend and I can recommend Apple Apartments Greenwich O2. It offered excellent value for money. We enjoyed our stay and with very small tweaks, this would be truly exceptional accommodation.

Valerie Penny

 

Jamie’s Italian, 5 More London Place, London, England

We went to London, England to visit family and managed to arrange that everybody was free to join us for a meal on the same evening. We played safe and booked an Italian Jamie OliverRestaurant, Jamie’s Italian, 5 More London Place, London, England  that we could enter from our hotel, Hilton London Tower Bridge Hotel, 5 More London Place, Tooley Street London SE1 2BY, England. The hotel is reviewed at https://hotelandrestaurantreviews.com/2015/03/02/hilton-london-tower-bridge-hotel-5-more-london-place-tooley-street-london-se1-2by-england/.

Jamie’s Italian bears the name of celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver. We had been to another branch of Jamie’s Italian a few months previously. It is reviewed at https://hotelandrestaurantreviews.com/2016/01/04/jamies-italian-ground-floor-38-threadneedle-st-london-ec2r-8ay/. I was not overly impressed with the food, but other members of the family had enjoyed it so I was willing to give Jamie’s Italian, 5 More London Place, London, England a try. I am very glad I did.

The ambience of this Jamie’s Italian is relaxed and friendly. The service from the moment we arrived to the moment we left was very good, but not quite as good as the service par excellence that I experienced at Jamie’s Italian Threadneedle Street, London. This is not a criticism, just a comparison.

Jamie's Italian insideWe were seated in a large booth and started our meal with olives and a delicious variety of breads. My husband and son-in-law sampled the beers while my daughters and I indulged by following a gin and tonic with a bottle of Prosecco. We chose a variety of main courses. My husband had a turkey milanese. This was a turkey steak stuffed with prosciutto and fontal cheese, breadcrumbed and topped with a fried egg and black truffle with a side of fries. He enjoyed it very much.

My son-in-law chose the Gennaro’s chargrilled & butterflied chicken breast which was served with peas, beans and courgette with a hazelnut and lovage pesto. He also had a side portion of fries. My elder daughter chose a JI superfoods salad with chicken. The salad comprised fresh avocado, roasted beets, pulses & grains, sprouting broccoli, pomegranate & spicy seeds with harissa dressing & cottage cheese. She really enjoyed it. My younger daughter and I both chose veggie tagliatellie bolognese. It was a lovely recipe with an agù of porcini mushrooms, tomatoes, pulses, herbs & garlic with Bella Lodi & herby breadcrumbs: very tasty indeed.Jamie's Italian 5.jpg

Only my husband made it to desert. He had the Tiramisu which he said was the best he had tasted. We rounded off the meal with a variety of teas and coffees. We had a delicious meal in relaxing surroundings. I recommend Jamie’s Italian, 5 More London Place, London, England and would use this restaurant again.

Valerie Penny

 

citizenM Hotel, 20 Lavington St, London, SE1 0NZ, UK

It may sound ridiculous, but last week my husband and I travelled to London, England for dinner. It gave us an citizenm-london-outsideopportunity to catch up with our daughters and son-in-law before Christmas and also to catch up with a friend I was at high school with and his husband. We needed to stay somewhere convenient and central. We chose the citizenM Hotel.

It is a hip, trendy hotel with a modern, glass facade. The citizenM Hotel is on a commercial street in central London’s South Bank. It is near London Bridge, the Shard, the Borough Market, the Tate Modern museum, Shakespeare’s Globe and Menier Chocolate Factory theatres. 

citizenmcompsWe did not really know what to expect: certainly the citizenM Hotel was not like anywhere we had stayed before. Check-in was speedy, courteous and highly computerised. The hotel has minimalist, mood-lit rooms where my husband had a lot of fun changing the colour if the lighting. Free WiFi is provided throughout the hotel, including in the rooms and a tablet was provided in the room too. Our room also had a flat-screen TVs with complimentary movies, and the room controls were operated by the touch-screen tablet. Integrated bathrooms feature rainfall showerheads. It is the best shower I have ever had in a hotel room. It is fabulous. citizenm-hotel-room2

As might be expected from a city centre hotel, the rooms are relatively small and are dominated by the enormous, comfortable, king-sized bed. There room had storage space and bottled water is supplied. There was a small desk, a stool, a chair and a safe in the room. Our room faced into the internal court yard, making it very peaceful and quiet. The only thing that would prevent me from using this hotel for a longer stay is that no tea or coffee making facilities are supplied.

citizenmloungeThe citizenM Hotel has a trendy lounge bar and lobby work space on the ground floor. There is also a 24/7 canteen for light meals where the varied buffet breakfast is between 6.30am-11am.   The staff were all extremely helpful and courteous and this hotel is eminently suitable for disabled guests. We would use the citizenM Hotel again, but not for a lengthy visit to London.citizenmshard

Valerie Penny

The Southwark Tavern, 22 Southwark Street, Borough Market, London, England

On a recent visit to London, England during the Rugby World Cup, my husband and I met relatives for dinner at The Southwark outsideSouthwark Tavern. We had a lot of catching up to do, so perhaps we should have thought this through and gone somewhere that was not showing matches. It was very busy and extremely noisy. The Southwark Tavern is a traditional pub with an oak-floored bar and exposed-brick basement dining room with vaulted alcoves. It is situated on Southwark Street near the Borough Market in London and is very easy to find.

We were impressed with the menu which played on the rugby by alluding to the game in the names given to the dishes offered. Every taste was catered for at The Southwark Tavern and there was a wide variety of beers southwark inside 2that the guys in our group enjoyed sampling.  Our table was downstairs, right under the stairs! Not the best table, but we could not be fussy: it was a Saturday night in the middle of the Rugby World Cup. The city was exceptionally busy. The Southwark Tavern has a multitude of nooks and crannies to discover, it’s easy to get lost in the inimitable charm of this 150-year-old pub. We really enjoyed he atmosphere.

We whiled away the evening over good meals from the seasonal pub food menu in our cosy candle-lit corner southwark downstairsdownstairs. The only thing that caused us grief was that we had to order each of our meals and drinks from the bar and then we had to bring the drinks, even water for the table, downstairs ourselves. The stairs are steep and curved, so this was not easy. I would not recommend The Southwark Tavern to those who are disabled or have mobility issues.

However, this is a true South London institution and I will certainly use The Southwark Tavern again.

Hotel Mercure, London Bridge, 71-79 Southwark St, London, England SE1 0JA

mercure hotelEarlier in my life, I only seemed to go to London, England for conferences, interviews and to travel to other places. Now both my daughters live in London, at different parts of the city. So, when I go there it is usually to visit them. My husband and I usually choose a central hotel that is mutually inconvenient for them. On a recent visit this resulted in us choosing the Hotel Mercure, London Bridge, 71-79 Southwark St, London, England. We use public transport to get around the city, however prking is available at this hotel for an additional charge above the room rates.

Mercure Hotel is set in London’s arty South Bank district. This modern hotel is an 8-minute walk from Southwark Menier_Chocolate_Factorytube station and about 12 minutes walk from London Bridge tube station. It is also only 5 minutes walk from the Menier Chocolate Factory. This is a 180 seat off-West End theatre, which comprises a restaurant, bar and rehearsal rooms located in a former 1870s Menier Chocolate Company factory, close to the Tate Modern Gallery and only 1.3 miles from the medieval Tower of London.

The Mercure Hotel offers courteous service and contemporary rooms. We received a free upgrade to a premier room on the 7th floor of the hotel. It was very spacious and had complimentary Wi-Fi, 2 flat-screen TVs and work desks, a bathroom, hotel mercure insideadditional shower room well as tea and coffeemaking facilities and a Nespresso machines but the fridge did not contain the advertised complimentary drinks and these were not added throughout our stay. In this chain, children aged 11 and under stay for free with a parent. The king sized bed was very comfortable and we enjoyed the spacious sitting area.

We chose the Hotel Mercure  primarily on its location. However, we enjoyed the amenities too. They include a chic bar and a restaurant. At the Mercure Hotel London Bridge the restaurant is being up-graded to incorporate a kitchen and dining room under the auspices of mercure roomMarco Pierre White. A 24-hour room service is offered. There is also an exercise room, a business centre and 3 meeting rooms, although we did not have cause to use these. 

My husband and I very much enjoyed our stay at Hotel Mercure, London Bridge and we would use it again.

Valerie Penny

Blue Rainbow Aparthotel, Manchester Central, 8 Commercial Street Manchester, England, M15 4PZ UK

blue outMy daughters now both live in London, England. They are in different parts of London, but London nevertheless. I do not. So a while ago we decided to have a girls weekend, just the 3 of us, somewhere different. The girls chose Manchester, England, UK. We wanted to have time to catch up properly, chat, gossip and relax so I suggested that, instead of booking into a hotel with separate rooms, we book accommodation in an apartment. This meant we had our own shared, private space as well as bedrooms. So I booked Blue Rainbow Aparthotel at Manchester Central. I blue room 2had used apartments before in London, England and San Francisco, California, USA. However, I had not used these particular apartments before.

There are two sites of Blue Rainbow Aparthotel in Manchester, we stayed at the one in Commercial Street. It is not far from Manchester Piccadilly, Train Station and is quite central. It would provide a terrific base to relax between an afternoon sightseeing and a night on the town. We chose a two bedroomed Saver apartment. It was spotlessly clean and well appointed. It gave us a real feeling of luxury at a great value price. We were all very impressed.

blue kitThe staff at the apartments were very helpful and courteous they go above and beyond the call of duty. We were pleased with the customer service levels and standards, which include 24 hour-staffed reception desks, resident gym facilities and laundries. The fully equipped kitchen included a washing machine, dish washer and fridge freezer.  This Blue Rainbow choice was perfect for our needs. blue internal

 

The accommodation gave us a small but fully equipped kitchen with good quality appliances. We also had a large, bright living dining room with 4 comfortable chairs, a comfy sofa and a large, flat-screen TV serviced by sky satellite. In addition to this we had 2 double bedrooms. One had an en-suite bathroom. There was also an additional bathroom with a lovely deep bath. The beds were comfortable, the sheets and towels were good quality and the furnishings were to a high standard. The serviced apartments are built around their own tranquil indoor Japanese Garden allowing guests to wind down in style. Set up for longer-term stays, but with no restrictions, Blue Rainbow ApartHotels accepts stays from one night to one year, or even longer if the need is there.

blue live 2We decided to spend a lot of time in our apartment as it was so pleasant and the gathering was specifically to relax and spend time together, although we were at the hub of everything in Manchester, even though the nine-floor, 79-ApartHotel building is located in a quiet corner of town, just off Deansgate. Secure underground parking for guests that pre-book was available, but we did not need that facility. We were not far from the buzzing Locks area and Manchester Central conference and music venue.

With so many of Manchester’s central tourist attractions just a short walk or tram ride away, I would highly recommend  Blue Rainbow Aparthotel. We felt we were staying somewhere extra special and would certainly stay there again.

Valerie Penny

Brew Wharf,14-16 Stoney Street, Borough Market, London, SE1 9AD, England

On a recent visit to London, England my husband and I were able to have dinner with our daughter and her boyfriend. They chose, Brew Wharf,14-16 Stoney Street, Borough Market, London and as it seemed to be central and very close to our hotel, we decided to walk. We must have taken a wrong turning. We got thoroughly lost. Having brew wharfgone round and round and becoming quite agitated we took a cab from where we were. It was central and so close the fare was under £5.00 but we would never have found it without the cab driver’s help! Stoney Street is little more than a narrow lane. Brew Wharf  is an interesting building, an  exposed brick railway arch bar and terrace with lengthy beer menu and pub type cuisine.

It has a wide selection of beers and the men sampled one or two. I can attest to the fact that they make a mean gin and tonic! Access is good for those with mobility issues and, although it was Saturday evening, the restaurant was very empty. The bar area was busier. However, as a vegetarian, I cannot recommend the venue for a meal. There was not a single starters or main course meal offered on the restaurant menu was suitable for vegetarians. I was surprised. It is a long time since that has happened to me in the UK. I was offered a pasta with a tomato sauce, but really, that is so unimaginative that we decided just to have a drink and go elsewhere to eat. I was disappointed.

After a some time, and to members of staff asking if we were ready to order, the duty manager came over and offered me a mezze from the bar menu. All the dips were vegetarian and the real import of the evening was to get together b w outwith the family, not to wander around London, so we stayed. It was good of the manager to arrange this. The amount of the dips, made me think the dish was meant as a sharing starter. The amount of pitta bread with it made me think the meal was for an anorexic dwarf.

My dips included babganoush, hoummous, guacamole, a tomato dip and a couple of others. It was fine but I would not write home about it. My husband chose the fish and chips and enjoyed it. My daughter had chicken. It seemed to be a very small portion, but she said it was good. Her boyfriend chose pork belly and said that was tasty too. However, bearing in mind that the restaurant only had three other customers, the service was very slow. There was no interaction with the staff. They seemed to be more interested in speaking to each other than waiting tables. Even our second round of drinks took a long time to come.

We finished our meals with tea and coffee. I was really disappointed by the lack of atmosphere in this restaurant because the building is really quaint and I thought it would be fun. It was not. I was looking forward to a nice meal. That was not to be. I also feel that the Brew Wharf is overpriced. I would not eat there again.

bw map

 

Valerie Penny

 

 

Azzuro, 35 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2QJ, England

Azzuro is an Italian restaurant near London Bridge Station in London, England is on the main road and is easy to azzurrafind. Azzurro  is located on Tooley Street, opposite the entrance to the London Dungeon. It is a modern restaurant is open from midday until late seven days a week, serving top quality, freshly prepared, great value, Italian food. The downstairs bar comes to life in the evening and has a daily happy hour in the bar between 5pm and 8pm. It is a veritable tardis.  Azzuro looks tiny from the street, but it seems quite roomy when you get inside. My husband and I joined our daughter and son-in-law for dinner there when we were visiting the big smoke recently. It is always good to see them.

The restaurant was warm and the tables are not too close together.  Also, the restaurant was not too noisy. We could have a conversation. However, it was busy and I would recommend booking a table. The lavatories are downstairs where there was a bar with music and lots of atmosphere. There are also stairs to get to different parts of the restaurant, so I would not recommend Azzuro to those with physical disabilities or mobility problems.

restaurantImgThe staff in the restaurant were very polite and efficient and the menu is large and varied. Drinks arrived quickly and we did not have to wait too long for our meals. We started with a selection of black and green olives and breads to share. They really were delicious and the breads included onion bread, tomato bread, garlic bread and whole grain varieties too.  My husband is not that fond of olives, so he chose the bean soup. It was very thick and hearty with a wide variety of vegetables and beans in it. He really did enjoy it.

Our main courses were all different. My daughter chose a pasta dish, while my son-in-law had a pizza. They had had busy days at work and I was glad to see them both tucking into their dinner. My husband chose a steak. He was mapLondonBridge2delighted because it was cooked exactly the way he likes it and it was very tender. I was not so keen on my vegetarian rissotto. It sounded much more interesting than it was. Even black pepper and parmesan cheese could not save it. Still, three out of four ain’t bad!

We finished up with a selection of teas and coffees. There is a wide variety of tea and the coffee is a delicious blend. The restaurant offers good food, a friendly ambiance and excellent value for money. I would certainly visit Azzurro again, but I will not have the vegetarian risotto.

Valerie Penny

Hilton London Tower Bridge Hotel, 5 More London Place, Tooley Street London SE1 2BY, England

London, England is one of the most vibrant, exciting cities in the world and now that both of our daughters are based in the city my Welcome to the Hilton London Tower Bridgehusband and I try to visit them, and the city, regularly. We try to stay centrally so that both our daughters can visit us quite conveniently. On our most recent trip we stayed near London Bridge at the Hilton London Tower Bridge Hotel. The hotel is situated near one of London’s most renown historical landmark bridges, London Tower Bridge. It is ideally located on the doorstep of the city’s financial and shopping districts.

This contemporary hotel is a fantastic sightseeing location from which to explore London’s many tourist attractions. This London hotel is just five minutes away from the London Bridge City Pier for the Thames Clipper and a five-minute walk to The Borough Market, The Shard and HMS Belfast. Hilton London Tower Bridge is also opposite London Bridge Station for underground (Jubilee and Northern lines) and national rail services. Excellent rail links provide easy access to London’s gateway stations and all major London Airports via the Heathrow and Gatwick Express network.

Double Guest RoomThe Hotel is a modern Hilton Hotel in a fantastic city centre situation. The rooms are stylish, spotlessly clean and elegantly furnished. There is a 24-hour reception at the hotel. The fully equipped fitness suite is bright and modern. This hotel in London is the perfect base for corporate as well as leisure guests. The upper floors command stunning views of The Shard.

We enjoyed breakfast, although the usual dining room was being refurbished, the full usual Hilton hot and cold buffet was available. Service, as would be expected at the Hilton, was discrete and efficient. However, it was not friendly. We also experienced the fashionable destination bar TwoRuba for a drink before dinner. It is a perfect place to unwind with a vibrant atmosphere and polished service. I was not surprised to learn that this London landmark hotel has received a number of prominent Hilton service awards, including the coveted Brand of Excellence award.hilton bar

Hilton London Tower Bridge Hotel has high speed internet access in every guest room and wireless broadband internet access throughout so it offers something different and whether you are on business or pleasure. In the rooms the subtle touches of colour did enhance our stay.  The contemporary rooms are decorated in cool, calm tones and have large opening windows. There is also watch on-demand movies on the 25-inch plasma TV, a desk and an easy chair.

My husband and I both enjoyed our stay a this hotel and its position is so convenient that I am sure we will stay here again.

Valerie Penny

Champagne Charlie’s, The Arches, 17 Villiers Street, London, England, WC2N 6NG

Champagne Charlie’s, in London, England, is a lovely atmospheric and cosy cellar style bar.  It is part of the Davy’s group, offering wine by the glass, carafe or bottle on the ground floor. There is a wide variety of gins and whiskies too. The lovely restaurant with a wide menu is down stairs. It is a bit of a tardis and seems to go on for ever. The venue has easy access to many parts of London by tube, train and bus. It is near both Embankment and Charing Champagne-Charlies-ICross underground stations and a nine minute stroll from Waterloo across the Jubilee Bridge, tucked away at the Arches. It is unique amongst the dozens of eateries in the area. The exposed brick walls with no windows in the restaurant, as you are underground, does create an interesting atmosphere. However, it is not claustrophic. The clever use of aches and mirrors avoids that.

My daughter recommended this to the family. She and her husband use it when dining with friends. The staff were polite and helpful. I am vegetarian and there were various choices available to me as well as to the omnivore members of our group. The pub area of the venue was busy and quite noisy, but we were there on a Friday evening. I would have been surprised if it had been otherwise. It is possible to reserve a table and my daughter had booked a table for our meal. The restaurant was not nearly as busy, or as noisy as the pub.Champagne-Charlies-IV

We had a delicious meal in lovely surroundings. Two of us had the risotto, which is delicious and the other had the burger: this is her firm favourite. We each had a gin and tonic, but apart from that, stuck to soft drinks. I had planned to have cheese and crackers afterwards. The menu boasts a wide variety of cheeses and the crackers are picked to match them. This all sounded marvelous, but there was no way that I could have eaten that much. I was too full of risotto! I ordered a brownie, because I am a chocoholic and could not resist. It was absolutely lovely, but, even sharing it with my younger daughter, we could not finish it. The portions are generous. We finished our meals with a cappuccino and two Earl Grey teas. It was a terrific meal and the price was very competitive for central London too.  It was good value.

The only real negative I found was that , if you are disabled or have mobility issues, access is difficult. Champagne Charlie’s is tucked away under the arches beneath Charing Cross station this is an unusual place full of character. I certainly enjoyed my meal and my evening and would recommend Champagne Charlie’s. I plan to visit it again.

Valerie Penny