DIPLOMATIC CONCIERGE: Westminster Suite at London Marriott County Hall
Venetia van Kuffeler experiences life as a VIP in the Westminster Suite at the London Marriott County Hall
With an unrivalled position at the foot of Westminster Bridge overlooking the River Thames, the newly refurbished London Marriott Hotel County Hall echoes the building’s incredible history. RPW Design, one of the globe’s leading hospitality interior design practices, has led the project to reposition the luxury five-star property for the global market. The studio is behind the design of some of the world’s most prestigious hotels, including the award-winning Royal Suite at London’s Mandarin Oriental and the recent re-launch of the Marriott Hotel Park Lane.
Opening in 1922 as the headquarters of the former London County Council before first becoming a hotel in 1998, certain components of the ‘Edwardian Baroque’ style property designed by British architect, Ralph Knott, have been highlighted. Creating a quintessentially British feel, the composition includes some quirky nods to its London location. Corridors are wallpapered with a bowler hat and umbrella design, with pocket watch print curtains. Lift walls are decorated with book covers from publisher Penguin Books, while artworks by local London artists adorn corridor and guestroom walls.
Gillray’s Restaurant & Bar is the most English of dining destinations, offering a tantalising beef menu, and the bar specialises in English gins, serving over 100 different varieties.
London Marriott Hotel County Hall houses 206 guest rooms, including 14 suites, all set over six floors. Guestrooms were originally London County Council members’ offices, so the sizes compare favourably to most London hotel rooms.
This is certainly the case with the 1,453 square foot Westminster Suite (the hotel’s largest). Next to a comfortable sitting area, the suite’s huge windows grant spectacular views across the River Thames to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. One side has a large desk and office area, with a vast flat screen television and L-shaped sofa on the other. A large dining table has space to seat 12, also suitable for board meetings. The spaces are comfortable, but also deeply practical. Walls are clad in soft tweed fabric, and bespoke London map wallpaper – created especially for the hotel. A selection of artworks narrates a history of the property, including hand-sketched architectural imagery of the building and references to the Coade stone Lions of the Southbank. There’s also a fully-equipped kitchen within the suite, meaning that guests can easily host receptions or dinners. After all, these are impressive surroundings to be shown off!
Private and luxurious, the Westminster Suite is beautiful but not over the top. It’s not hard to imagine why it has become the popular choice for visiting heads of state and VIPs.
London Marriott Hotel County Hall, London County Hall,
Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB