When we’re invited to review London’s newly opened four-star Amba Hotel Marble Arch, my kids aren’t interested in coming along. The hotel looks great, but we’ve been away quite a bit recently, and they just want to stay at home. My husband and I decide to go without them. A kind friend agrees to come and stay at our house to keep an eye on things.
Amba Hotel Marble Arch
Amba Hotel Marble Arch is in a brilliant, central location with excellent transport links. It’s just around the corner from Marble Arch, the monumental archway which stands at one end of Oxford Street, one of London’s leading shopping streets. Close by is 350-acre Hyde Park, one of the capital’s eight Royal Parks. The entrance to the hotel is on Bryanston Street which runs parallel to Oxford Street. The hotel has around 700 rooms and is in a vast Art Deco building which takes up a whole block of Oxford Street. The hotel starts from the first floor as the ground floor is taken up with retail spaces.
From the hotel entrance on the ground floor an escalator takes you up to the first floor to check in. When we arrive it’s busy, there are only two members of staff checking people in and there’s no queueing system. If all of the guests had been British this wouldn’t have been a problem as we’d have formed a queue without thinking about it. As it is there’s a lot of milling about, randomness and irritation.
Once we’ve managed to check in we make our way to our very comfortable and well-provisioned Executive King Room, number 576. It’s great. The hotel is newly renovated and there was apparently much input from guests as to what the rooms should offer. So the rooms boast tablets, blackout curtains, Nespresso machines, free snacks and drinks, fast, free wifi, piles of towels, waffle bathrobes, usb charging points and international plug sockets.
There’s a sofa bed as well as a huge double bed in our spacious room, which could work well for younger children sharing a room with their parents. There are also some interconnecting rooms at the hotel. Here’s a video that I made of our room when we first arrived:
Because we’re staying in an Executive Room we’re told when we check-in that we have access to the Executive Lounge. We leave our stuff in our room and go to the lounge to check it out. This is a good move as there’s champagne on offer – exactly what I want, although I hadn’t even realised it. Along one side of the lounge is a buffet with drinks and snacks which you can help yourself to. There are comfortable chairs and sofas around the room and it’s all very civilised and relaxing.
We go to look at the hotel Grill restaurant menu for dinner, but there are only a couple of people in there so we decide to go out of the hotel instead. We walk around the corner to Oxford Street and buy a couple of gifts for our son (it’s his birthday soon). It’s around 8pm and the shops are still open but they aren’t too busy. The street is prettily decorated with Christmas lights, and we stroll along to see the famous Selfridges Christmas window displays.
By this point we’re getting hungry. We drop off our shopping with the helpful Amba Hotel doorman and head for a nearby Italian restaurant called Bernardi’s, of which my husband has heard great things. Bernardi’s is packed, but they find us a table after a pleasant half-hour wait at the bar. The food is fantastic and we really enjoy eating there.
Back at the hotel I investigate the in-room tablet. You can use it to go online to browse the internet, but it also contains detailed information about the hotel and the local area. You can use it to order food and drinks to have in your room and you can send requests for things which you need. I decide that I should test out this system. I request some decaf coffee for the Nespresso machine. An hour later no decaf has arrived so my husband presses the button to activate the ‘Do not disturb’ light outside our room and we go to sleep.
The next morning at 7am I’m woken from a bizarre dream, in which I’m doing the washing-up at a friend’s party, by someone knocking at our door. I blearily open the door and am handed an envelope containing three decaf Nespresso pods.
We have the option of eating breakfast in the hotel’s Grill restaurant or in the Executive Lounge. We head for the Grill. It’s busy and we wait for a few minutes to be shown to a table. All of the usual hotel breakfast buffet fare is on offer and I opt for fruit salad followed by scrambled eggs and mushrooms accompanied by decaf coffee. It’s all good. We then go to the Executive Lounge to check out the breakfast there. It’s similar to the Grill but quieter and slightly nicer – for example there are jugs of freshly squeezed orange juice and smoothie which I don’t think were on offer at the Grill.
Checking out is much quicker than checking in, and we’re on our way home soon after breakfast.
My husband says: ‘The hotel is very lively and is in a fantastic central location. Our room was really nice. It was very quiet, even though it’s right on Oxford Street. Breakfast was good and the lounge felt cosy.’
I like the Amba Hotel Marble Arch. It’s in a brilliant location and has a modern, luxurious feel. All of the staff that we met were polite and helpful but some aspects of the service felt a little disorganised – I’m sure that this will improve once the hotel has been open for longer.
Rooms at the Amba Hotel Marble Arch cost from £169 per room, per night, including breakfast.
More on London…
If you’d like to see more of my reviews of places to stay in London you can read about Four Seasons Canary Wharf here, Hilton London Metropole here, Go Native Apartments here, Royal Garden Hotel here, and there are more reviews in the Where to stay category.
If you’d like some inspiration for great things to do in London with kids, I publish a monthly round-up of what’s on offer – you can find my latest London round-up here.
Over to you
Is the Amba Hotel Marble Arch the kind of place that you’d like to stay? Can you recommend any places to stay in London?
Disclosure: We were guests at Amba Hotel Marble Arch for the purposes of this review. This post contains some affiliate links, which means that if you clicked through and booked I may receive a small commission. All opinions, images, video and words are my own, as ever.