Y’all know I love a staycation – I tried to find somewhere for my 4th anniversary of moving to London but I couldn’t find anything that was quite luxurious enough for me that still wouldn’t break the budget but while I was looking I found an offer that seemed too good to be true for the Friday night that was my 31st birthday. Before we get in to it though, let me tell you a story.
Back in October of 2010 I took my very first leap into solo travel thanks to a “101 things in 1001 days” list I’d written. (Which coincidentally is what got me started in blogging!) A short flight from Aberdeen to London might not seem like the most exciting of trips but for me a visit to the capital was an adventure! One that of course later led to me making the leap and moving here 4 years ago. Also on that list was to stay at a five-star hotel and I combined the two with a stay at The Grange St Pauls thanks to a Secret Hotels deal.
This time I booked direct with the hotel for an even cheaper price than I’d paid back then and in my opinion it was a complete steal. Walking in through the tall glass atrium flooded with light I was 24 again and brought right back to that moment. Still too early to check in I headed to the Ajala spa for some relaxation time which is included in the cost of your stay even if you haven’t checked in (or indeed have already checked out that day) as long as you provide some form of identification that they can check against the system – I’ll review this in a separate post.
Finally, it was time to check in and see my room but when I got there the electronic lock was completely dead and I couldn’t get in! Luckily, I spotted a porter returning from helping another guest with their luggage and he hunted down a handyman to replace the battery. Ten minutes later I was told that it wasn’t fixable and to pop back to reception for another room. Not off to a great start but back down to reception I ambled where I was very kindly upgraded to an Executive room with a view of St Pauls!
It was obvious that the room was a disability adapted one but this didn’t bother me in the slightest and I relished in all the space I had. Especially in the bathroom which housed both a bath and a shower, had complimentary Ajala spa toiletries for me to use and monogrammed dressing gowns for me to lounge about it later in the evening.
Amenities are what you would expect from a 5 star hotel – air conditioning, in room safe, mini bar, tea & coffee station, iPod docking stations (I bet they’re mad at apple for changing their charging cable!), television, free WiFi and laundry service.
The huge king-size bed was incredibly inviting (although the mattress was harder than I would have personally liked) but I was disappointed that there was no empty plug socket near the bed for me to charge my phone and as mine has the new lightning cable connection rather than 30 pin I couldn’t use the dock so I ended up unplugging it – apologies housekeeping staff who probably had to reset the time on it after I left!
About 20 minutes after I arrived there was a knock on the door and a staff member presented me with two adorable birthday cupcakes to mark the occasion so I plonked myself on one of the chairs by the window and nibbled on one without really thinking about much else. Before I knew it it was time to head out and meet my friend Jasmin for some birthday drinks. We didn’t stay out too late though so I still had time for a bubble bath in the evening before slipping into bed.
A continental breakfast was included in the cost of my stay so I loaded up on cheese, ham and pastries the following morning before I discovered the wonder that was the pancake machine! At the touch of a button you can have a freshly made pancake land on your plate within 60 seconds – I topped mine with fruit compote and Greek yogurt (only cos there wasn’t any chocolate spread – whats that about Grange Hotels?) all washed down with never ending cups of tea. I didn’t want to leave.
Sadly all good things must come to an end so I spent my last hour sitting by the window trying to do some blogging before sneaking off back to the spa for another couple of hours. If you can’t indulge on your birthday when can you?
Speaking of, I put my new theme live on my birthday. What do you think? I still need to do so much more work on it behind the scenes but it feels cleaner to me and I have a better sense of direction as to what I want to do.