As many of you know I went down to London recently for the (cancelled) British Plus Size Awards as I had been nominated for Best Plus Size Blog. I had saved up all year and had really pushed the boat out when it came to the hotel I had chosen.
Booking several months in advance, I had taken advantage of an amazing deal on Booking.Com for a two night stay at the Montcalm London City Suites, situated near to The Barbican.
This fabulous hotel is located in what used to be the former site of Whitbread & Co, Britain’s first purpose-built mass production brewery. Samuel Whitbread moved his brewing operations to Chiswell Street in the mid-eighteenth Century and made beer here until the late 1970’s.
Now a unique hotel, it literally is a wonderfully restored building with luxury features.
I arrived with my massive suitcase at around 2 o’clock on the Friday afternoon and was greeted at the door by a friendly gentleman who immediately took charge of my suitcase and escorted me into the building.
Immediately I was impressed by the reception area. Warm, luxurious and beautifully appointed I made my way to the Reception Desk to be greeted almost like an old friend.
Check in was simple and easy and within a few minutes I was checked in and given my electronic room keys. One of the dapper dressed gentlemen escorted me to the lift to show me to my room.
As I rounded the corner, there was a lovely lady on a desk in front of the lifts. She stopped me to compliment me on my outfit and style. And that was my first introduction to Alice.
Going up to the second floor, I was shown to Room 218, which had it’s own set of stairs to the front door.
There was even a panel to the side of the room with a doorbell, Do Not Disturb button and a housekeeping button. Very Technological.
Being taken into the room, I was given a fully detailed description of the facilities and items that I had in my room. These included many of the standard things you expect, including a hairdryer, iron and board, and toiletries. However there was also a wonderfully velvety dressing gown, slippers, umbrella, and a smart phone.
Yes, I said it. A Smart Phone that I could use out and about in London. Loaded with lots of apps including maps and things to do in the City, it also gave me free telephone calls to the UK and five other countries, and lots of minutes of data. How impressive was that?
Bottles of water and a fruit bowl were also complimentary and there was a fully stocked mini-bar too. I literally was in heaven.
Unpacking my suitcase, I then explored all the little extras in the room before heading out to Oxford Street to do a bit of shopping. I didn’t take the smartphone as I was worried I would lose it!
On my return to the hotel already found out about the cancellation of the Awards and literally went to my room feeling pretty wretched. I decided to have a couple of drinks and watch television on the large flatscreen whilst sat in my robe and slippers. Before too long it was time to sleep.
This is where the problem (for me) began. I actually need a pretty hard pillow due to a long existing neck problem, and the pillows I had were as soft as fluffy clouds. My head sunk into them, and if it wasn’t for my injury I would have been in my element.
I lay deliberating until the early hours if it was acceptable to call reception to see if they had any harder pillows, and I am sure they would have been more than accommodating. I just didn’t want to be a nuisance.
The following morning I got up and had a fantastic shower under their rainfall shower, using their lovely Elemis toiletries, before getting dressed and off out to a pre-arranged hair appointment.
The lovely Alice was again at her desk, and again complimented me on my style and my colourful dress. I enquired if it was possible to get some harder pillows and she said she would organise it straight away.
I spent the whole day out in Town, going to various appointments before returning to the hotel. This is when it became a bit tough for me.
The Awards were due to be taking place. I had the perfect gown, shoes, accessories and vintage fur. My hair and make-up were done. Yet I was not going out.
I sat in my room for about an hour. I chewed over the fact that I had all the clothing and style, yet I would never see it all come together. Or would I?
I decided to ring the Concierge and see if he could help. I explained my situation and asked if anyone would be available to take one or two photographs of me if I came downstairs in my Awards Outfit.
The Concierge could not have been more helpful; he told me to come down any time and they would be happy to assist in any way they could.
I got ready, put on my gown and high heels and headed for the lifts. As I exited I had several of the male staff come over to offer their services. The concierge appointed one of them to take the photographs of me, and I could have cried.
He really couldn’t do enough to assist me and after many photographs later, it was time to go and get out of my gown. Then Alice appeared.
She had heard the awards had been cancelled and was so sympathetic. We talked about my gown and what had gone wrong with the ceremony, which I still had no answers for. I bade her goodnight and went back to my room.
No sooner had I set foot in the room, the telephone rang. Alice was on the other end and she told me how sorry she was that my evening had been cancelled, she offered to send up some wine as a small consolation! How lovely, I thought.
The doorbell went a few seconds later and there was a lady with a bottle of Chianti and a box of truffle chocolates. Now that is some kind of service!
Later that evening the delightful Lottie L’amour visited my hotel room for pre-drinks before meeting up with lots of plus size and blogger friends. Again the staff were more than happy to take a photograph or two for us.
I returned back to the hotel at around 2.30am. True to her word, there were two wonderfully hard pillows waiting on my bed. Absolute Bliss.
I needed to check out by 12 noon, and had previously asked if I could store my suitcase at the hotel as my train didn’t leave until 8 o’clock. Alice was again at her desk, and we had another friendly chat.
I was wearing a rather bright turquoise dress and we talked about how long I was wearing this style of clothing and how I was blogging about all my adventures. We even had other guests in the reception area involved in the chat. It started the day off well.
Checking out was as easy as checking in. The bill was already settled, and I was given a small ticket for my suitcase to collect it later that day. And off I went.
On my return to the Hotel at around 4 o’clock I had got myself quite hot and flustered. Ushered into the hotel by the doorman, they brought out my suitcase and offered to arrange transportation.
I had already arranged an Uber, so opted to sit in the reception for awhile to catch my breath. I was very kindly offered complimentary refreshments, so after indulging in a bottle of sparkling water, I went to leave the Hotel for the last time.
As I was leaving, Alice was arriving. She explained that she had been telling the Manager all about me and my attitude to life and that she was going to take a leaf out of my book as I was a true inspiration. Literally she almost reduced me to tears.
Walking outside together we chatted for a few minutes more before my Uber arrived. As I went to go to the car, she gave me a great big hug and hoped the Hotel would see me again soon.
My answer? Without a doubt!
The Hotel didn’t treat me as a guest, but more like family. They could not have been more welcoming or given any more assistance than what they offered to me.
The whole weekend could have been a total disaster but because of an amazing hotel with superior staff, it was actually wonderfully enjoyable.
The Montcalm London City at the Brewery has got to be the best hotel I have ever stayed at in London. And over the years I have stayed at a lot.
The decor, facilities and technology are fantastic. But the crowning glory are the staff. Every member of the hotel from housekeeping upwards do an amazing job, and I am looking forward to when I can return again.
Thank you to everyone I met at the Hotel over my weekend. You really did yourself and me proud!