Covent Garden Hotel Deals – Strand Palace Hotel’s offer is genuinely surprising value
Recently we had another tick on our ‘Child-Free New Stuff’ short break excursions list – this time we were heading into London for my very first ballet. Thanks to lovely C, my Christmas present was tickets for A Winter’s Tale at the Royal Opera House; we can’t see an evening show in London and still make it to Waterloo for the last train home to Dorset, so we had a hunt for Covent Garden hotel deals.
My first choice was the Strand Palace Hotel – to be honest for two main reasons; it’s walking distance from the Opera House, and also there’s the matter of The Gin Palace.
I mean, come on – I *needed* to enjoy elegant post-show drinks in The Gin Palace, right?
But it’s right on The Strand; with that location obviously the rooms weren’t absolutely the cheapest around at £174 for B&B basis. Yes we could get a £150 rate without breakfast, but that means leaving the hotel to go hunting for a decent breakfast at less than £12 each; we like to keep it simple in the UK (though in France and Italy we’ll always opt to go out for breakfast), so we kept looking.
But I kept coming back (it really is the perfect location)… and then I noticed the Strand Palace’s ‘Wine & Dine’ offer on the pricing page. Curious, I clicked through to have a look – and re-read it. Twice. For £35 extra, we could have unlimited food and drink during our stay?
I double-checked the details, and yes, it really did seem to mean it. We could arrive early afternoon and enjoy afternoon tea, a pre- or post-theatre dinner in the restaurant, after-theatre drinks in the Gin Palace, and breakfast the following day. The chances of us simply finding a 3-course dinner for £35 each would be a bit of a task; add in the extras and we realised that spending a little more up front would actually save us a lot.
Still dubious, but confident we’d at least got dinner sorted for the night, we checked in (with that giddy excitement every parent feels at being let loose for the night without the kids) and double-checked the details with the lovely reception staff. The limitations were very straightforward – and very small. To be honest we presumed we’d have a very narrow choice on the ‘unlimited food and drink’… but food was pretty much all open, and alcoholic drinks were limited to beer, prosecco, house wine, house cocktails, house spirits. Um… no hardship there then. Oh, and you couldn’t use room service.
Our room was fine – not luxurious, but very generously proportioned and absolutely spotless. And bonus marks for a window that actually fully opens, too! We were on the 3rd floor, and though we were overlooking the Strand we were rarely bothered by traffic noise at all.
Our view was brilliant – literally dead opposite the Savoy, we had a grandstand view of historic London on The Strand.
And so after a quick freshen up and a check in with the kids on Skype, we headed back downstairs for Afternoon Tea – and frankly began to enjoy ourselves. This is the first time we’ve ever stayed anywhere on a pretty much all-inclusive basis, and the freedom was liberating.
The way it works is that you are given a card on check-in which you simply show the bar or restaurant staff. At the end of your meal you are asked to sign your tab – which clearly shows the cost you would have incurred – and that’s it, you’re free to go.
I’ll be honest here – once we got the idea, we were away. Afternoon tea? Lovely thanks (£30 each). Pre-theatre meal, with a bottle of wine? £150. Post-theatre snack and drinks – £50. And then to the Gin Palace… And here was my only dismay. We were allowed to pick any cocktails from the Classic Cocktail menu, which was broad – Margarita, Mojito, Bloody Mary, Pina Colada… but not a gin cocktail on there. Bah. So I had a mojito, and then opted for a couple of G&T’s. Our bar bill was £90 for 3 whiskies, one cocktail and two G&T’s. In all our hotel food and drink bill came to just under £300 – and we’d paid £70.
Undoubtedly we ate and drank far more than we would have if we had been watching every penny. But we ended up having such a great night away – and apart from the five minute stroll around to the Royal Opera House, we didn’t leave the hotel until it was time to check out. Having the freedom within the hotel meant we relaxed fully and properly enjoyed it – the staff were unfailingly cheerful and helpful, the restaurant was a little tired in decor but the food was good, and obviously the Gin Palace was a perfect place to finish the evening (we eventually wandered back to our room around half one in the morning, and it was still lively). Even without the dining offer we would definitely stay there again, we genuinely loved our stay.
Honestly – if you’re looking for Covent Garden hotel deals we can’t tell you how strongly we recommend the Wine & Dine offer at the Strand Palace Hotel. It’s only available for bookings until the 9th April, so you’ll need to be quick, but it’s definitely worth it!