Strand Palace Hotel review
Do you know what the nicest sight in the world is? It's walking over Waterloo Bridge bent over double, wind biting into you as it whips along the river, rain tipping down on your head, and the Strand Palace Hotel coming into view as you walk around the corner. They've even got a bowler-hatted gentleman on the door to hold it open for you.
I've actually stayed here a few times now, but this is the first time I've bothered to review it. Luckily I already like the place or I would have moaned about the room. This is probably the smallest one I've ever had, but all the others have been pretty decent so I'll let them off. It's got all the normal stuff in it -- TV with Freeview, telephone, desk, a little safe, hair dryer and free WIFI. It's also got a bin, window, carpet, walls and a door (I like to be thorough).
But here comes a moan... and it's about the tea. You don't mess around with a British blokes cup of tea. Don't you find it annoying when a hotel gives you five sugars, four tea-bags and three coffees, but only two milks? What happens if you dont like black coffee. It seems a little stingy to me. You drink two cups of tea and you're screwed. You may as well chuck the rest away. But at least you get a biscuit too. You only get one cup though, which means you have to wash it up every time you want a drink. And I'm a lazy bloke, so that is a big no-no. I'm marking them down for that.
One thing that is quite handy is the vending machines on each floor. If you're posh then you probably think that's a bit common, having crisp and coke machines right outside your door, but who wants to dress up and go downstairs for a can of coke? It's a bit of a rip-off though -- £1 for a can and £1 for a piddly little Wispa.
Sitting in the little bar now and it's not too bad. Its only a little place full of businessmen and old ladies squinting at the menu trying to work out what to eat. It's the kind of place that sells bottles of red and white for 20 quid. There's a nice bottle of champers too, if you've got 55 pounds burning a hole in your pocket. I don't have anything to celebrate that's worth 55 quid, so I settle for a glass of Pepsi. That is more my level. I have a little read of the menu and -- jesus christ! -- even the coffee will set you back £4. A cup of tea is £3. I'd want it served up in a 2-litre bottle for that price!
Breakfast is a self-serve, all-you-can-eat type of affair in the Strand Carvary. They've got baked beans, sausages, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, hash browns, black pudding, a load of cheeses, cereal, and fruit salad too. And then there's your fruit juice, tea and coffee. I had dinner in there as well which is £16 for two courses. It's a bit annoying that they don't let you sit wherever you want though. The restaurant was half empty and she kept leading me to a crappy seat by the door. I don't suppose she would have minded if I'd asked to be moved, but she sounded Russian and I'm scared of Russians.
One of the best things about the Strand Palace Hotel is its location. It's down the Strand (obviously), right at the end of Waterloo Bridge. Covent Garden is right around the corner, and Trafalgar Square is a five-minute stroll down the road. You can easily walk to Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus. St. Paul's is probably a bit too far though. There are a bazillion buses right outside the door, and you'll have to walk five minutes for the tube.
So, to sum up... would I stay there again? Yup. I've been to quite a few London hotels and this is by far my favourite.
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