The Embankment, extending along London's River Thames between Westminster to Blackfriars Bridge, resulted from a 19th-century marsh reclamation and road-building project. Among the dozens of hotels close to this masterpiece of engineering, a handful stand out for their historical associations, architectural features, generous amenities or trendy, bold style.
The Royal Horseguards
The Royal Horseguards, the Automobile Association's (AA) 2010-2011 London Hotel of the Year, began as the private National Liberals Club for upper-class gentlemen. Steps away from Downing Street and the prime minister's residence, the 281-room French chateau-style hotel overlooks the River Thames. Standard amenities include robes, slippers, Egyptian cotton bed linens, mini-bars, designer toiletries, Wi-Fi and use of the fitness center. King suites have kitchenettes, dining rooms, fax machines and umbrellas. Hotel staff members arrange restaurant reservations and theater tickets on request. Boasting an AA rosette for culinary excellence, the One Twenty One Two Restaurant serves modern British cuisine. The Lounge offers light meals and traditional afternoon tea.
Steps from central London's Charing Cross Hotel is the Eleanor Cross, a monument establishing the point from which mileage distances from London were once measured. Like the monument, the Railway Hotel dates to 1865. It combines original Victorian features with contemporary amenities. All 293 accommodations have flat-screen television with Freeview channels, Egyptian bed linens, designer toiletries and Open Zone Wi-Fi (fees apply). Upgraded amenities include robes, slippers and fitness center access. Many rooms have Trafalgar Square or Strand views. The AA-rosette-winning Terrace on the Strand Restaurant, with floor-to-ceiling windows and an original Victorian mosaic floor, serves seasonal, classic British and international cuisine. The Terrace on the Strand Bar has live Friday night music, as does the Strand Lounge, where guests can enjoy afternoon tea.
Park Plaza County Hall
The 398-room Park Plaza County Hall stands on the Thames' South Bank, across Westminster Bridge from the Embankment. All accommodations have plasma televisions, free Wi-Fi (download restrictions apply), microwaves, mini-refrigerators and designer toiletries. Studio rooms have kitchenettes; penthouses have balconies with sweeping London views. Guests have access to the fitness center’s weight training and cardio equipment, steam room and sauna. The on-site spa provides massage and beauty treatments. A 14-story glass atrium soars above the mezzanine-level Spectrum restaurant, where locally sourced ingredients find their way into seasonal dishes like pecorino and wild mushroom risotto with white truffle oil and crispy sage. The Specturm Bar offers breakfast, lunch and evening cocktails.
Radisson Edwardian Leicester Square
Floor-to-ceiling windows, contemporary furniture, black-and-white abstract art and white walls and floors greet guests entering the Radisson Edwardian Leicester Square. Its 60 boutique rooms feature leather upholstery, luxury cotton bed linens, state-of-the-art plasma televisions, complimentary Wi-Fi and marble-and-glass baths. The luxury suite has a walk-in dressing room and black slate bathroom with double sinks and free-standing tub. Guests can request in-room massage, reflexology and beauty treatments. The on-site gym has a range of cardio equipment and free weights. The Leicester Square Bar and Restaurant highlights fresh seafood in modern British cuisine.
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