We thought our last trip to London would be the final trip before baby. Then we received a lovely invitation from The London Marriott County Hall Hotel offering to host us for our Baby Moon which we, of course, couldn’t turn down. Not only is the Hotel steeped in history as the original County Hall, but it also holds personal relevance as my Great Grandfather Colonel Sir Joseph Haygarth worked in the building as Deputy Chairman of the Greater London Council in the 60’s. I thought it was a really poignant moment to be walking the same hallways, about to welcome a new generation, in the same building my Great Grandfather had potentially made so much change in. Who knows, the room we were staying in could even have been his office at some point!
Speaking of which, our room for the duration of our stay was in a Big Ben and Thames View Balcony Suite. An elegant room at the very top of the hotel, with a huge dressing area, marble bathroom, King Bed and the most incredible balcony overlooking the river and Houses of Parliament. We unpacked our cases, before we heard a knock at the door accompanied by two non-alcoholic cocktails which we happily sipped on our balcony, waving to tourists on the London Eye.
With afternoon tea waiting for us, we made our way down to The Library. We were surprised to find it empty, with seats set up only for us. The team had very kindly arranged for us to have a private afternoon tea in one of the most historic rooms in the building. The Library, although refurbished in March 2020, still holds the original collection of books from its County Hall days and the original feature decor. Stunning wood panelling, marble fireplaces and Resin Bust statues line the impressive room. With a secret wooden staircase and gallery at one end. Again, I could just picture my Great Grandfather in this room. Flicking through a book by the fireplace smoking a cigar.
We settled down to choose our tea from the incredible selection, nestled under the window, looking out over the river. I chose the Bora Bora (an exceptionally fruity, dark berry decaf tea) while Ben went for the house blend. What followed was a delicious selection of sandwiches. Scones served with clotted cream, jam and home made lemon curd. As well as delicious cakes.
Defeated after the sandwiches and cakes. The team very kindly made us some more sandwiches to take back to the room alongside our cakes.
Tired after a day of food and travel, we headed back to the room to enjoy a cosy evening in our dressing gowns. Nibbling sandwiches and watching the sunset from our balcony.
The morning started with a knock at the door and the most decadent room service breakfast wheeled in. Ben kindly set it all up on the balcony as I dragged myself out of bed to the smell of fresh pancakes. We had a veggie breakfast, omelette, pancakes and pastries all to share between us, topped off with juice and hot drinks. Not quite the French Riviera as our view. But not a bad alternative with the sun just poking out from behind the clouds!
We whiled away a lazy morning on our balcony. Before changing into swim clothes ready for a float in the pool. Ben managed a couple of lengths. I thoroughly enjoyed just lying next to the water watching baby girl rolling around in my tummy. When our time slot was up, we made our way back to the room to change. Ready for lunch with friends.
Feeling fully revived, it was time for an activity. The London Marriott County Hall had very kindly booked us onto a private pod on The London Eye. In all my years living in London, The London Eye is something I had never done before. Slightly nerve wracking on the way up. Ben got intense Vertigo which subsided when we made it to the top (I revelled in this and found it hilarious, as you can imagine). The views really are unrivalled. The private pod meant that we had fast-track boarding (although there wasn’t much of a queue) and the pod entirely to ourselves. A real treat during Covid as it meant that we didn’t need to have our masks on. Which made the entire experience a lot more enjoyable (especially while heavily pregnant!)
Back at the hotel, it was time to change for dinner and drinks at Gillrays Steakhouse and Bar. We had timed it perfectly with the Euros Semi-Final, so there was a real buzz in the bar and a big screen had been set up for guests to watch together. The bar and the restaurant are separate enough however that the noise didn’t disturb our dinner. Although, a blessing for me, a potential curse for Ben! The bar boasts over 100 types of gin, so Ben tried one he’d never had before and loved it. I had a non-alcoholic sparkling elderflower instead.
Knowing we would be dining in a steak restaurant, we both decided beforehand that we would be eating meat. A rare occurrence for us due to ethical reasons. Knowing the food is all sourced within 150 miles with the meat coming from family run O’Shea’s Butchers, we decided to make an exception. The steaks, as you can imagine are unbelievable. Cooked to perfection with the most delicious sides to accompany.
We started with the Spiced Tahini and Chickpea Bon Bons – a little dry for my taste. As well as the Cheddar and Apple Chelsea Bun which was absolutely delicious.
Feeling completely exhausted by the day’s activities, our lovely waitress agreed to help us take our pudding up to the room to enjoy on the terrace. Sticky Toffee for me and Cheese Board for Ben. We watched the sun go down while the football carried on in the background. We heard the win erupt over Southbank. An iconic moment that neither of us will be able to forget, hearing cheers and chants across the river. It was the perfect last night of our lovely Baby Moon at The London Marriott County Hall.