Hotel Review: JW Marriott Grosvenor House - London
Now that Marriott has taken over the majority of hotel brands on the market, it is hard not to stay at any of these brands ranging from low budget to upper upscale such as Bulgari and The Ritz Carlton. Also on the upper end is JW Marriott - a brand I never stayed with and therefore was excited to finally see how this hotel concept works. I have to admit that I had the same thoughts that you may have now as you are looking for reviews about a JW Marriott property. I was a bit biased about Marriott in general, is known for a more business traveler oriented brand, and I thought the JW in front doesn‘t make much of a difference. I couldn't have been more wrong. After I did my research it was clear, prices at JW Marriott Grosvenor House are absolutely higher than for any Marriott property in London so I was further looking for the difference and booked a room finally. Being situated on Park Lane in the posh area of Mayfair, this hotel looks like a massive luxury hotel you would expect it from a city like London. When our Uber drove into the arrival gate I was a bit speechless as it looked fabulous to see such a grand entrance.
Then I entered the recently refurbished lobby and was stunned even more - why didn’t someone tell me this is one of London‘s most photogenic hotel living rooms? A friendly lady whisked me over to her to do the check-in. Turns out Mariana was working in a higher position and she, therefore, took the special care I was actually looking for at my very first JW Marriott property. Instead of an impersonal ID check in exchange for room keys and instructions on how to find the elevators, I was greeted with my last name and immediately the small talk began. I mean I came from Austria that day so I wasn‘t tired at all and totally in for such a great welcome. She was very engaging and proactive which I am missing most of the time when checking in at luxury hotels. It‘s what makes the difference when the Front Desk Manager spends five to six minutes you actually seek to genuinely feel a welcome guest and they don‘t try to get a new check-in time record. Still impressed by the lobby and service, I politely declined the attendant to accompany me to my room. Actually, the indication of the floors above elevators is the only sign that you are standing in one of London‘s very first hotels. Thanks to the architecture, Grosvenor House comes with long hallways - especially when your room is at the total end of the house.
First world problems aside, I already felt sorry to be blaming about the hallways because when I opened the door of my so-called „room“ I had to look twice. They actually upgraded me to one of their highest categories they have: a Premier Park View Suite which I couldn’t believe at all. Well, you know that London is famous for tiny hotel rooms so it was an absolute highlight for me to be staying in one of their biggest rooms. A long hallway with fresh flowers was the first impression I got after opening the door. To the right was the bathroom that had a beautiful white marble floor and walk-in shower in addition to a single vanity desk plus Japanese electronic toilet seat. There were two bath towels per person (very much appreciated) along with a set of bath amenities and best of all: Bulgari toiletries! When I continued the suite tour, I found the lovely spacious bedroom with king bed, wardrobe, armchair, make-up table with stool as well as a television and windows onto the street leading to Hyde Park. The highlight of the suite was the vast living room with gorgeous views of the already green Hyde Park.
There was a writing desk with two chairs, two big sofas, a sideboard with Nespresso coffee machine and tea making facilities as well as minibar plus a television above what used to be a fireplace in the good old days. Of course, I received a handwritten welcome letter along with a bag with their signature hotel scent and a plate of fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate. I totally loved the personalized amenities (especially to find Bulgari products in the bathroom) and felt that this JW Marriott property actually goes beyond the expected brand promise. In general, I was also pleasantly surprised by housekeeping which did an amazing job and always managed to come whenever I just left the suite. While all the minibar items are at an additional charge, all Suite guests enjoy complimentary access to the Executive Lounge which is located on the ground floor right next to the elevators. Although I thought that the space could be a bit too small especially at happy hour (after having seen a few hotel lounges over the world), even at the busiest hour of the day there was always an empty and clean table plus I liked the one big community desk where one can just sit and join other guests if they stay in the lounge is scheduled to be a very short one - such as my five minutes beer pitstops.
Honestly, the staff in the Executive Lounge did an enormously good job (especially for breakfast service where everyone continues taking new plates and glasses) and keep the lounge clean and in perfect condition. It was a real joy to go there and enjoy the design and ambiance - the architects did a good job to make it cozy as well with places such as the fireplace or sofa corners. I sometimes just sat down, enjoyed my British Lager (which was the best I ever tried) and started looking at the interesting culture mix: guests from the Middle East, India, South America and of course North America all sit back for a few moments to enjoy their glass of Sauvignon or Merlot. After all, London is just the most international city in Europe - with or without Brexit. Thanks to my three days stay I was able to have breakfast once in the lounge and once in their Steakhouse. While the steakhouse was serving freshly prepared egg dishes and sweets a la carte with a good sized buffet, I preferred the lounge just because it felt more upscale in terms of ambiance thanks to the fireplace and small size of the various living rooms. The smaller size of the buffet made it look a bit more unique and in general, there was something to eat all day until 9 pm. Still, from then onwards, there were nuts and crisps that I could enjoy next to another pre-dinner Freedom Four.
Location is key at JW Marriott Grosvenor House. You leave through the main entrance and you reach the heart of Mayfair or Piccadilly Circus in about 10 minutes walking or you take the back door (not sure you can call it that way) and you are literally in Hyde Park. Even though I am not at all fan of Hop-on Hop-off buses (because I think it is not in line with the travel experience we try to show and teach our readers), they can be a good way to start your very first London experience and directly depart right next to the Grosvenor House Hyde Park exit. If you would ask for my advice, I would recommend you to stay a few days at JW Marriott Grosvenor House and experience Mayfair with its lively pub life during weekdays and check out Bond & Regent Street on weekends for shopping and theater on Picadilly Circus. Have dinner at one of the wonderful places around the hotel or enjoy one of London‘s most wonderful steaks at JW Steakhouse and bill them directly to your room check. Huge Plus: there is even a stunning selection of Bourbon - most probably the biggest in any London hotel - so just get your steak paired with bourbon if you are as crazy as me in terms of openness.
Now at that point I have to make a confession. Even though I self declare myself as a lover of the city of London, I never ever had the time and chance to try the authentic British Afternoon Tea. Thanks to the JW Marriott Grosvenor House, I was giving this afternoon exercise a try and now have another problem: I totally love to sit on the huge windows, overlooking the red busses passing by and enjoying every sip of my Perrier-Jouet Blason Rosé Champagne while being served finest sandwiches along a selection of scones, cream and jams as well as finest pasties to round off this wonderful afternoon tea. One thing that was most remarkable about afternoon tea at the Park Room was the service. Even though the food was absolutely fabulous and the desserts couldn’t have been better, the service was outstanding. I never experienced such a flawless and personal attention as I received during my afternoon tea at the Park Room. Considering the great interior design, unique views for London and the perfect rest, this is absolutely an experience not to be missed. Even if I don’t have the chance to stay at JW Marriott Grosvenor House again due to work reasons, I will for sure pass by and reserve a spot for their wonderful afternoon tea on Hyde Park.
While I would have never expected to say that (just because I expected JW Marriott to be a solid and perfect five-star-hotel chain like Conrad), the JW Marriott Grosvenor House exceeded my expectations - and not only once. It is really hard to still impress a guest like me but when they take so much care of a guest (and they still have 400 other guests at a time) that I feel like their only customer, they really deserved the title of „best hotel experience in London“. From my point of view, the price is absolutely fair considering their amazing location, generous size of entry-level rooms and perfect service. Some guests may enjoy the luxury of a lounge so I would definitely go for Executive Lounge access in case you enjoy a post-work beer at the fire with just a handful of guests instead of everyone seeing you. I even had to honestly say wow once I entered the room and I can only warmly recommend this special property. The entire hotel has now been totally refurbished so that‘s just one additional reason to give it a try. If you can, try one of their Top Signature Suites as they come with personalized full-sized toiletries by Bulgari, Rituals or Aromatherapy Associates - just the brand you like plus a walk-in wardrobe with daylight and a few other perks like absolutely stunning interior design, impeccable park views, and a kitchen for a private chef. What are you waiting for? London Calling!