An evening arrival at London City Airport provided an excuse for my wife and I to stay at this hotel. If, like us, you only stay at Holiday Express hotels when there are no other options as they're
usually a bit too, ummm... budget orientated... you'll be really impressed with this. It's nothing at all like most of the others in the brand in the UK and if this is the strategic direction that Holiday Inn Express are heading then we'll be happy to stay in more.
The very stylish lobby/restaurant/ bar area and well designed bedrooms convey an impression of a far more upmarket brand and in our humble opinion far more impressive than many Holiday Inns and some Crowne Plazas - and maybe some Intercontinentals - that we've stayed at.
We were delighted with our bedroom. I'd like think that this was one of the better ones on account of my Spire status in the IHG Rewards Programme which sadly many other IHG properties elsewhere have overlooked on recent stays when allocating the bedrooms. It had a wonderful view of one of the original Victorian warehouse buildings, floodlit at night, to remind us of the area's history when it was part of the world's greatest port. It also had splendid views of the airport runway so we spent an enjoyable few hours watching the planes take off and land. Unusually for the HiEx brand, it had a king sized bed, though upon closer inspection it was really two single beds pushed together but so well done that we didn't notice the join at first. The bedding was good quality and the bathroom was stylish both of which are important to us and made us glad we'd booked this hotel to wind down after our flight.
It was a wet and stormy evening so we had dinner at the hotel rather than venture out in pursuit of eating establishments which are few and far between in the immediate locality. The menu was limited but the food was tasty and well presented. What made the meal a truly pleasant experience was the service from the two English ladies whose natural warm personalities and friendly banter provided an excellent insight into the local culture. It was they who tipped us off that there was no bacon at the breakfast the following morning - no problem for us - because of the high demand from the kids staying there over the Easter break and that the sausages were sourced from a local butcher. And the sausages were delicious, far superior to the sawdust tasting ones found elsewhere, but the rest of breakfast conformed with the usual HiEx formula.
Finally, the icing on cake for us was that the hotel's car park (from memory it cost £10 per night) was a very short stroll from lobby and had plenty of empty spaces. It took us 5 minutes to drive from airport's short stay car park and was just what we, laden with suitcases, want after a flight. For those wanting to walk from the terminal building, it should take about 20 minutes but part of the route is a bit quiet and might feel intimidating to some especially after dark.
Concluding, we'll strongly recommend this hotel for those looking for stylish surroundings at value for money rates often considerably less than hotels in the centre of London. Visitors to London who are not familiar with the geography are warned that, although there's a Dockland's Light Railway stop within a very short walk which connects to the London underground system, it can take up to an hour to get to some of the iconic sights. [Less]