Craig’s review… If you want to impress somebody then show them a photo of the Royal Horseguards Hotel from the outside. Book a weekend away, and then show them a photo of where they’re staying – I guarantee that they will be impressed. If you look at the hotel from across the river then it’s all turrets and spires and golden lamplights in the leafy trees. It really is a beauty.
My bedroom is good, but not great. And the only reason I say that is because it doesn’t have a bath. I don’t understand how a 5-star hotel can have a bathroom bigger than a bedroom, and still not find room for a tub. It’s huge! You can probably fit about six people in it, so why not rip it out and stick a bath in there instead? It’s supposed to be a 5-star hotel for chrissakes. I am sure that this is the real reason why rock stars smash up their hotel room – just ask Jimmy Page. Ask Led Zeppelin why they wrecked their bedrooms. It’s because they didn’t have a bath.
Now that I’ve got all of that off my chest let me assure you that everything else is absolutely fantastic. This is the kind of hotel that I’d happily like to live in forever. I’m even tempted to die here, if they’ll let me. When it’s time to check out, I’m actually going to check out for real (permanently). I’ll stick a tenner on the table as a tip for the cleaner, and leave a suicide note complaining that there was no bath.
As recompense they provide you with a TV in the shower. I’m being serious! There is an actual TV screen inside the shower cubicle. When was the last time you wanted to watch Coronation Street in the shower? And the marble bathroom floor must have under-floor heating because it’s like walking on a piece of warm carpet. It’s a very nice bathroom (apart from the bath – did I tell you that there’s no bath?).
There’s no bath!
The room has all the usual goodies inside it: a bed, a desk, a chair, another chair, a big armchair, lots of drawers with nothing in them, a very posh box of tissues, an ice cooler with no ice in it, a pair of slipper flip-flops, a dressing gown, an ironing board, an iron, a safe, a shoe horn that is about a foot long, some padded coat hangers and three telephones… but no bath. And you get free Wi-Fi as well, which isn’t always the case with 5-star hotels.
They have been pretty generous with the teabags. You get a little wooden casket full of Twinings tea, plenty of coffees, sugars and milks, plus a few biscuits. They actually give you more tea than I can drink in a day – and I can drink a lot of tea. The minibar is full of booze and crisps and nuts, but I think you’d actually have to be nuts to eat them because the prices are totally crazy (as they always are in hotel minibars). Everything is triple the price it is in the shops.
The restaurant is very nice. It’s all white china and marble columns, marble floors, polished tables and portraits of old soldiers on the walls. The bookcases are filled with leathery old tomes too old to open, and all the staff look like they’ve stepped off a Parisian cat-walk. They all have red ties and waistcoats and are walking around with silver trays balanced on upturned fingers. It’s far too posh for cornflakes, of course, but you could practically have a four-course meal if you want. You could start with fruit and yoghurt, follow it up with a plate of sausages, eggs, boiled potatoes and a bowl of olives, and finish it off with a croissant and five triangles of toast.
The customers who frequent this place all have very important things they need to do today. The old toadies next to me are currently discussing the market’s reaction to their new portfolio share options, and every other sentence contains a phrase like ‘forcing audience direction’ or ‘company communication channels’. I’m just sitting here thinking, Come on, guys. At least wait until 9 o’clock before you start talking about work – you’re not getting paid for this, you know! Eat your damn cornflakes and talk about the football. They are probably the kind of guys who make proper use of that TV in the shower, catching up on the Bloomberg news. Other people are sitting here in starched trousers, unable to move. One guy is studiously adjusting his floppy fringe in the mirror.
The bar is nice and dark and gloomy (I like dark and gloomy). It’s the kind of place where you can think dark and gloomy thoughts over a ten quid thimble of coffee. It’s so dark and gloomy that I’m actually wondering whether all the lightbulbs are broken. It’s not the kind of place where you’d want to have a party, that’s for sure. They’ve decorated it with lamps and candles and golden horse heads, and the staff are all shaved and well behaved. They say things like “Yes, sir” and “You’re welcome, sir”, and let me be honest: there’s no way that anybody can truly mistake me for a sir. I’m not even a mister. I’m barely even a guv. I should be calling them sir. But that’s part of the fun of staying in a posh hotel, isn’t it? – you can pretend that you’re somebody worth knowing; and for all they know, maybe you are. As long as you keep paying then they’ll carry on playing the game.
As for the hotel’s location… it’s pretty much perfect. It’s on a very grand road that runs parallel with Whitehall. Horse Guards is just across the street. Trafalgar Square is four minutes down the road. You can walk to Downing Street in about three minutes. I might give the Prime Minister a ring and ask her if I can borrow her bath. If she starts running the taps now I reckon I can be round her house before the tub fills up.
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