By Salma Ilyas
My husband and I decided that we needed a short break away from everyday stresses; this time we thought why not try staying in London, where the place is buzzing with people and excitement all day and night.
Our stay was at the Strand Palace Hotel, situated in Covent Garden- heart of the West End, or the infamous ‘Theatre Land’. It was close proximity to Charring Cross and Trafalgar Square, which was great as it was in the perfect location for visitors to go sight-seeing, eating, shopping, and much more.
On the way to the hotel we came across many great iconic architectural buildings and cultural landmarks as London is full of culture all waiting to be explored. As we approached the hotel the building itself again was very iconic dated back to 1909. It was very grand in size and was situated on the main high street. It was very busy as different types of people i.e. business men / women, tourists were seen coming in and out of the hotel.
As the hotel was situated on the main road, it didn’t have any on site car parking facilities for guests which were a great shame but there were close car parking sites available nearby and also London is known for its great transport links as everyone pretty much travelled on the underground tubes.
As we approached the steps of the hotel, we were greeted by the lovely door attendees who instantly welcomed us with a warm and friendly smile. We walked into the entrance of the hotel, we were quite taken back at how grand the hotel was and how it was beautifully decorated; it was modern yet still embedded its cultural roots. The entrance was open plan with main seating areas for guests placed in the centre of the room.
As part of our complimentary stay we were given a king size Executive Bedroom, dinner at the Dawaat restaurant in the evening and also the breakfast option for the following day. Mohammed, the guest relations manager gave us a very quick tour of the hotel and also explained to us the many facilities available to us as part of our stay.
Our room was located on the ninth floor. The executive room was very spacious and clean; it had a king-size bed, en-suite bathroom, dressing table and a cosy sofa. Furthermore, with its lightly coloured walls and carpets it had the perfect ambiance for not only relaxing and getting comfortable but more importantly enjoying your overnight stay. This room was fully equipped with all the modern fixtures and fittings, which ranged from a mini-bar, Espresso machine and a flat screen TV, with the essential, free Wi-Fi.
The view from the room however was not so great as all could you see was the opposite rooms of the building- this was quite disappointing as we expected to see great scenic views of London.
In the evening our table was booked for 7pm at the Dawaat restaurant; the restaurant was set away from the hotel which was good as it had its very own private area. The restaurant was very clean; the walls were covered with famous landmark paintings of the Taj mahal, there was soft Indian Kerala music being played in the background; all of which created a relaxed and enjoyable dining experience, it was reminiscent of being in India.
We were presented with the menu from which we had ordered a sample of dishes to try out. For the starters we ordered Chaapli kebab and Dhaahi Bala and for the mains I ordered Tandoori Salmon, Dawaat Chicken Tikka and my husband ordered Chicken Biryani and Kheema Matter with Naan. For dessert we ordered Chocolate Filled Samosa and Anjeer Falooda. All of the food was cooked to absolute perfection, the spices and chillies were right, the meat was very juicy and succulent, the chicken biryani was sealed with a pastry which we had to pierce and all the food was piping hot and cooked within 10 -15 mins. The main highlight of our night was the desserts; we have never come across a chocolate filled samosa or Anjeer falooda before. It was an absolute delight to eat, as it wasn’t too sickly or sweet. I would personally say this restaurant is the best that we have so far been to; it had great food and exceptional service.
The next day as part of our stay, we also had access to free executive breakfast buffet, this had all the breakfast options that you can possibly think of from juices, to cereals, bread and other delicacies. We thoroughly enjoyed trying out the breakfast menu in the nicely presented private restaurant.
All in all, we loved our stay and had a pleasurable experience. We would definitely recommend to anyone who is planning to visit London, to book yourselves into one of the Strand Palace Hotels.