Hotel Review: Novotel London ExCeL
The Novotel London ExCel is 4* central London hotel which may seem a little outside of most people’s price range, however, late booking websites have meant that it is now possible to enjoy the capital in luxury, whilst still sticking to a budget. Mariah Feria was able to book a room on lastminute.com via the ‘secret hotel’ option, only £66, for a ‘superior queen bed room with pull-out sofa-bed’, last month. Here she reviews the hotel and her stay.
Getting to the Novotel
Getting to the Novotel is fairly straightforward; the Custom House for ExCeL tube station is a mere 30 second walk from the front entrance. Just follow the signs for the ExCeL Arena from the station and you’ll spot it almost immediately. Whilst it is a little out of the way, in terms of being on the less common ‘DLR’ tube line of London, you are still able to reach many of the city’s central tourist attractions within around 20 minutes. Just a couple of tube stops away from the hotel is the O2 Arena – perfect if you have a concert booked, or are looking for somewhere close by to eat. Whilst there are restaurants around the hotel and ExCeL, venturing a little further will give you more choice.
The hotel itself has good first appearances. The reception area is clean, relaxing and refreshing. A spacious lounge and internet area also feature here, and the hotel does offer you free wifi for 24 hours. Check-in is actually earlier than most chain hotels; you can enter your room from 2pm, and can stay until 12pm the following day. Definitely enough time to make full use of the room and the hotel’s facilities.
Types of Rooms
Whilst the hotel offers three different types of room, our deal included the ‘superior queen bed’ room, the cheapest option. The ‘sofa-bed’ description was actually another whole double bed, meaning that if you are staying with friends or for business, the issue of sharing beds need not be worried about. The beds are extremely comfortable, although perhaps have a few too many pillows for the average person. Nevertheless, they certainly provided a pleasant night’s sleep.
The room’s 4* status is clearly shown through the bathroom facilities. A modern and stylish bathroom with separate toilet actually stand out compared to the rest of the bedroom. A deep bath, large sink area, and individual spacious shower make it the perfect environment in which to freshen up after a day in the city. Different sized towels and necessities (soap, shower gel, shampoo) are provided, and bath mats are available upon request from the reception.
The room we occupied did not have an incredible view, however as we were using this as a base in which to explore London for a day, it didn’t really matter. Although, rooms on the other side of the hotel would have a view of river, if you are interested in requesting that.
Food & Room Service
Most bookings on deal finder websites tend not to include breakfast, but we were informed by reception that for £16 each we could add a breakfast for the following morning. This does seem a little steep, especially if you are on a budget and considering there are plenty of places to grab food nearby, most likely for a cheaper price. However, for those eager to make the most out of their stay and extend their luxury visit, this would be ideal.
Furthermore, those wishing to take advantage of the room service the hotel offers will find a detailed menu in the room. Again, these are over-priced (much like the majority of room service) but would make a perfect addition whilst snuggled up in bed, watching your favourite programme on the large flat-screen television that the rooms have.
Overall, a stay at the Novotel London ExCeL is definitely recommended. However, do check deal-finder and last minute booking websites for the best rates. As most of us are budget travellers, we can sometimes be put off of the idea in staying in a 4*, popular hotel. Lastminute.com offered this hotel as a ‘secret hotel’, meaning they tell you pretty much everything about the accommodation apart from the name and exact location – you find this out upon booking completion. Small risks like these are certainly worth it though – luxury travel for the money savvy traveller is now possible, and sometimes, much needed.
By Mariah Feria