Montcalm Royal House London Review

This post is going to be a lot different to what you’re used to on here. Last month when my stress had reached its peak, I decided that I needed my own Mumcation! A nice kid-free inner London break where I could really unwind. So, after sifting through a few spa hotels I landed on Montcalm Royal London House.

COVID Restrictions

As with everywhere else, certain restrictions have been implemented to align with Government advice on social distancing – all of which can be found here

There are plenty of sanitising stations dotted around an you’re required to have your temperature checked before you check in and during activities such as making use of the spa and dining facilities.

The mini fridges are no longer being stocked (and are no longer in the rooms) but there’s a M&S down the road if you need to stock up on nibbles. You can still find your miniature toiletries (including slippers, Elemis minis, a shower cap and soaps) but bath robes have to be requested at the reception.

There’s also a one-way system in place; lifts to the far end of the corridor are down only and to the right are up only. You’re required to wear a mask in the lifts – don’t worry if you don’t have one as they provide disposable ones at the reception desk.

Booking

Hotel

Booking the hotel was a little bit confusing because the hotel chain has multiple hotels with very similar names, so be sure to check the postcodes match up for every reservation.

I went for the ‘Deluxe Double’ room with complimentary internet access, Elemis toiletries, Nespresso machine 55” TV, and iPod docking station. The room also had a few additional extras that I was pretty fascinated by. Of course, you could order your usual flowers, champagne and wine to your room but what intrigued me was the pillow menu, which allows you to tailor your pillow type to meet your comfort needs, and a fragrance selector to personalise the smell of your room to your acquired sense of smell.



Booking was a hell of a lot cheaper via their website as they had discount codes (at the bottom of your screen). You can book your stay here

There’s parking outside of the hotel in an NCP car park which is £15 for 24hours.


Spa

One of the main perks of the hotel is the spa which boasts an eight-metre pool, Jacuzzi and various treatments which can be found in the brochureBooking is pretty easy, just call the number in the brochure and one of their friendly staff will happily assist.

You know me, I love a bargain and it just so happens that Groupon are running a deal for a spa day with two hours spa access, a 50-minute treatment and a glass of bubbly (from £64 for one and £125 for two). Again, make sure you watch the location and make sure you book the right one – I ended up paying for the Shoreditch location and having to request a refund through Groupon as a credit voucher so I could re-book at the right location. It was easy enough to sort out via the Groupon live chat but nobody needs that hassle.


Dining

There are two onsite options for drinks and dining. As with everything nowadays it’s best to book ahead to guarantee your spot.

The Aviary is a rooftop restaurant and bar with a stunning south-facing terrace serving modern international dishes. If the weather is perky, I’d suggest booking an igloo or a table on the outdoor deck. Currently, bookings are subject to a £20pp deposit which is taken off of the bill.

Burdock is a luxe but laid-back bar and all-day eatery in the lobby of the Montcalm Royal London House, Burdock is just the spot for fresh smoothies and juices in the morning, small plates and sharing dishes perfect for lunch or dinner, and cocktails or tank-fresh beers in the evening. The Burdock is cashless so be sure to bring your card. It’s also home to a shuffleboard game which is £10 per half hour (minimum of two players).

 

My Verdict

The Hotel

The hotel was pretty easy to locate – it was a five-minute walk from Moorgate Station. Make use of the shops on the way to the hotel because as I discovered there’s no minibar in the rooms and room service is an additional £5 a pop (plus 12.5% tip if you’re feeling generous) and some of the room service items are pretty pricey. Check in was swift, I was greeted at the reception by a lovely staff member who took my temperature and gave me my key and allowed me to check in an hour early (result!).

 

The Pros:

Décor and comfort: The ‘double deluxe’ room had more than enough room so that I didn’t feel cramped in. It was lovely and I can’t complain about the décor. It was subtle and simplistic and had everything you’d need (minus the mini fridge, but I never really use those anyway). The TV was huge – it was almost the width of the double bed, great for snuggling up with a movie. The bed itself was ridiculously comfy! You can request a specific type of pillow you want before checking in – I opted for the ‘Ladies Dainty’ and it was perfect (think one of those pillows you sink into). And the mattress *swoons* all I can say is I had one of the bet night’s sleep I’ve ever had in my life. 10/10 for comfort.

A touchscreen enables you to control the rooms functions (such as the AC, under floor heating and lights), a nice touch. The lighting was customisable too using panels beside the bed; you could choose the brightness, colour and pop on the desk light from the comfort of your bed. I loved the ‘night light’ feature with dimly lit floor lighting (perfect for travelling with kids or if you’re like me and can’t sleep in complete darkness). There were also plenty of USB and plug sockets dotted around – perfect if you don’t fancy battling over the sockets.  

The bathroom was lit perfectly for makeup application and the two-person shower (is that a thing?) had a choice of overhead sprinkler or handheld shower head. Personally, I thought this was a nice touch as I don’t always want to get my hair wet and it saves me having to fish around for a plastic bag to pop on it. Which brings me to my next point, the freebies! Your room comes complete with slippers and Elemis miniatures for your stay and even a little shower cap.

Room service: Although it sets you back £5 plus 12.5% tip, the service was prompt and tasted delicious. I even cheekily asked for a few items that were from the restaurant menu and the hotel managed to accommodate them. After having it at The Aviary I re-ordered the Sticky Toffee Sundae (which I’ll describe later on in this post), ‘Spiced and chargrilled pineapple, rum sponge, coconut crumble and passionfruit sorbet’ along with a hot chocolate (after all it was bedtime). The hot chocolate could have been a bit warmer in my opinion but I’m just fussy and like my hot drinks piping hot.

The staff: every member of staff I encountered throughout my stay was friendly and welcoming. They really couldn’t do enough. It didn’t feel forced either, as if they genuinely enjoyed their jobs.

 

The Cons:

Customisations: Before checking in I was given the option to pick the scent of the room – I chose ‘ironed cotton’ (like the Mum I am) but I didn’t actually smell anything… The underfloor heating also didn’t seem to work. In all fairness I didn’t really need it as the weather was nice but it would have been nice as an option. And before you ask, yes, I knew how to turn it on it just wasn’t working.

Cleanliness: There was dried blood on the hand towel rack which I steered clear of (because ew!). Overall though the room was spotless.

Entertainment: The TV had a basic sky package meaning some of the channels were locked with a pin. There was no Netflix or Now TV app that I could log into (if I remember correctly there was only YouTube and normal channel apps like BBC iPlayer etc) and it also wouldn’t screen mirror with iOS, only Android, so I was stuffed in terms of what I wanted to watch. I had brought my Chromecast with me but the TV itself was encased in a frame which blocked off access to the cables.

I think overall the room was lovely but I was annoyed that some of the room’s features were not working! And it’s 2020, I don’t understand how the TV wasn’t pre-loaded with streaming apps? This was the one thing that put a dampener on the room stay.

 

The Spa

I’ll start by saying I’ve never had any spa treatments before so this is a first for me. It felt weird having to head down to the Spa from my room in my underwear and a bath robe (because of the new COVID rules which don’t actually make sense because the changing rooms were open?). My temperature was checked by the spa reception team and I sat in the waiting area until it was my time for a massage. In terms of cleaning in between clients it was clear that all towels were changed and the masseuses were big on hand washing and anti-bacing.

When it was time, I was led into the cute little dimly lit massage room where calming music played and was asked to unrobe and lay on the massage table under the towel as the masseuse left the room. The massage was as you’d expect – very relaxing, I lost track of time and it seemed to be over in the blink of an eye because I was so relaxed. My only qualm is that my massage finished a few minutes early and started 5 minutes late because the clients before me took long to vacate the room (which was fine, I was okay with the wait) but instead of making up the time it was deducted from my time?

After my massage I made my way to the pool and jacuzzi for a dip. The spa staggers entry so it was very easy to maintain social distancing and the deck chairs were spaced apart. Everyone was also kind enough to ask before entering the jacuzzi if someone else was using it.

One thing I will say is that you’re supposed to shower in between having a massage and visiting the pool area but I didn’t (sorry!) because the foot of the showers looked a bit moggy because they’d just been used. Oh, and the spa is supposed to be a no phone zone but nobody batted an eyelid that many of the guests took were using them.

The gym was also open too but I didn’t make use of that because LOL I checked in to relax not work my ass off!

 

The Restaurant

This had to be my favourite part of my stay because surprise, surprise, I’m a foodie! All of the tables are socially distanced and I’d recommend not waiting until the last minute to book your table (in fact, book it as soon as you make your hotel reservation) as it was super busy during dinnertime (but still socially distanced). Before I was seated my temperature was checked and that’s when I noticed that when others left their tables a member of staff was on hand to clean the seats and not just the tables like a lot of places are doing. The dress code for the Aviary is smart casual (think more smart than casual). Instead of paper menus you scan the little QR codes on the table for the mobile version. 

If you're not a fan of stuffed animals (I don't have a clue if they're real or not) then this place probably isn't for you. Whilst there i spotted a flock of pigeons, raccoon and a giant peacock nestled into the surroundings. The space lets in a lot of natural light which is always a plus. 

 

I ended up having two ‘Raspberry Rise’ drinks because they were the perfect cocktail for me – sweet without that overpowering alcohol taste. For my mains I had the ‘Duck breast, grilled duck hearts (which I was sceptical to eat because it looked like a d*ck but tasted great), carrot, ginger puree, bok choi (which, after a quick Google search turned out to be Cabbage) and soy duck sauce (you cant go wrong with a bit of soy sauce!) and a side of potatoes. Yes, yes, yes. 10/10 for the flavour and presentation! I could have done with another dick duck heart but that’s just me nit picking. That ginger sauce though… *swoons in fat*. If someone could replicate the exact recipe of the sauce and bottle it up for me that would be great.

Next up for dessert has to be the weirdest thing I’ve ever out into my mouth; the ‘Sticky toffee sundae, salt caramel foam, crystallised pecans, sherry cream and granny smith sorbet’. All I can do is describe it layer by layer so you share my confusion. So, first you’re hit with some pecans (not really my thing but its not the main thing that drew me to this dessert) and a weirdly frothy foamy caramel that kind of melts in your mouth. At this point I didn’t know what to expect because all I read on the menu was ‘sticky toffee pudding’ and I thought ‘yeah, that’s a bit of me!’ without reading the whole description. So, I dig into the next layer and spoon a thicker green layer into my mouth and WOW. Disclaimer: I’m not an ice cream person (ice lollies all the way) but WOW. Apple sorbet is now my thing. Imagine a cold apple explosion in your mouth. The flavour was spot on and tasted like the nice (*cough* expensive) apples in the supermarket. As I get deeper into the sorbet it gets warm which confused the hell out of me because the sorbet is still fully frozen. Then BAM, delightful little squares of sticky toffee pudding heaven mixed in with sauce or foam (I can’t remember because I was so focused on the sorbet). The concoction of hot and cold was weirdly wonderful and I loved it so much (mainly the apple sorbet) that I ordered it later on in the evening via room service because just one wasn’t enough.

I returned the next morning for the breakfast that I’d pre-paid for at the start of my trip. The vibe was a lot more relaxing and casual, the complete opposite to the night before (there was even a bloke in a Manchester united football jersey).

 
There were three choices for the inclusive breakfast: a full English breakfast, a vegetarian full English and a continental breakfast. There was also a choice of self-serve juices, teas and coffees. Of course, I went for the full English and again, I can’t complain. It wasn’t greasy, over/under cooked and the portion size was decent. If anything, I’d have gone with less bread and another tomato and sausage.

My only regret was not bringing a book with me for the duration of my stay because after I’d finished my breakfast, I headed to the rooftop seating area (which luckily was empty) and relaxed with a coffee and my headphones and basked in the sunshine. It really was the perfect setting and the perfect way to start the day. I’d recommend getting to The Aviary for your breakfast before 9.30 because that’s when it started to get busier.

Suddenly, my stay was over (kudos to the 12pm checkout by the way) so I headed to the reception, settled my bill for the room service and checked out. I was even given two individually packed face masks for my journey. Would I go back? Of course, provided the TV was pre-loaded with streaming apps and the customisable room features were all working.

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