Our summer holidays are pretty typical as far as expat experiences go. For four or five weeks we drag our little cherubs from pillar to post visiting relatives and friends in our homeland. This means, however, that we are lucky enough to find willing babysitters. So when we can we take the opportunity to escape to an adult-only bolthole that demands we sit nicely at the table and where it is almost compulsory to have a lie-in because the beds are so comfortable.
The Eccleston Square Hotel in London was the perfect medicine to our parental ailments. Standing on the pavement of the imposing Georgian terrace, the door magically opened before us beckoning us to step inside.
We could have stepped into a black and white movie, or I might have been mistaken for wondering if I’d become colour blind. The hotel interior’s monochrome palette is funky rather than bland though, with theatrical black Murano glass chandeliers and sweeping banisters. Attention has been paid to detail from the fluffy bathrobe and slippers to the multinational plug sockets for the international traveller.
If you’re a gadgetry geek and like technology you'll enjoy the 103" custom-made television in the Media Room, although each bedroom has a 3D plasma television, and there are even six televisions in the lift if you get bored on your way up. The buttons to operate the curtains and lights are non-touch; the glass walls in the bathroom turn opaque at a wave; the in-room iPad acts as a concierge; the main feature of the room is the Hästens electrically adjustable massaging bed. There is filtered fresh air and mood music and lighting; the list goes on. In fact there are so many buttons to press I’m not sure that I was able to get to grips with it all in one night, but it rather captured my husband’s imagination. This hotel is the only suitable for big kids though – no children are allowed.
Eccleston Square has exactly what you might expect in terms of attentive service, but this extends further than most city hotels. Hi-tech services come with a price tag, but the owners have a fair price policy that means visitors do get value. There is free Wi-Fi, free local calls, complimentary coffee, water and DVD library, but the hotel doesn’t take the opportunity to slap a heavy price tag in other areas. The fair price mini bar in your room, for example, means you can have a drink without worrying whether you’re drinking liquid gold rather than beer.
And although small, the hotel also offers room service and has a modern European menu at the Bistro on the Square. If you can, grab the window seat to enjoy your meal overlooking the toing and froings of the square. Or if you want something a little different, the staff will even prepare a private dining table for you in the pretty landscaped Square garden.
It really is a hidden gem, and a perfect excuse to give the grandparents quality time with their grandchildren. Doesn’t everyone win?!
The practical bit:
Location: Belgavia, London. Just around the corner from Victoria train and coach stations, this hotel is in a super, easy to get to, location. Set in a peaceful square with private gardens, a short walk away from shops and restaurants it's worth considering for business or holiday.
Eating: The bistro is small but neatly appointed. The best seat in the house in at the window.
A bit of trivia: This grade II listed late Georgian townhouse has hosted many famous visitors over two centuries including Princess Victoria and Lord Louis Mountbatten. Churchill lived in a neighbouring house.
Need more information? www.ecclestonsquarehotel.com
And what about an escape to the countryside? Here's our insight into a parents' weekend away from the kids in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.