I love birthdays. LOVE them! My birthday, a family member’s birthday, a friend’s birthday…I always love making a fuss! I usually try to do something special for my birthday and the past few years have been no exception. Last year was my 30th birthday and I decided that if I absolutely *must* turn 30, that I wanted to do it in Paris so Mum and I flitted off to Europe for 3 weeks and it was wonderful. This year, I’d planned to do the same but ended up accepting a job in Norwich in Eastern England so decided to go into London for my birthday weekend and book myself into a 5* hotel as a treat!
My friend Milla and I decided to book an afternoon tea and we settled on The Royal Horseguards hotel, a 5 star luxury hotel just near Embankment in London. I checked out their website and discovered there was a special going on for rooms and promptly booked myself in for 2 nights over my birthday weekend in early February. Planning this weekend helped me get through finishing my job in Norwich and made me so excited!
Friday night I finished work, grabbed my luggage and hopped on the train to London. Upon entering the hotel, a doorman jumped to my aid and took my luggage off me so I could check in easier. The entry lobby is stunning! The gorgeous chandeliers are beautiful and there’s a massive wooden fireplace mantel with a lovely fire crackling away. The check in process was easy and the gentleman who checked me in was friendly and polite. I quite liked the fact that each staff member had a flag (or flags) on their name tags indicating which languages they speak for their international guests.
Through Twitter, I’d been able to connect with Joanne Todd, the head pastry chef at the hotel and she’d informed me I’d been allocated a river room view for my stay! I was even more excited to stay and this was confirmed on check in for me. Walking into my room, my reaction was “oooooh”. Lovely warm and welcoming colours and nice lighting.
A massive bed, gorgeous thick wooden desk, flat screen tv, windows that take up one whole wall and, wait for it, free wifi!!! Too many luxury hotels still bloody charge for wifi–ridiculous! The best surprise of the room: a lovely plate of chocolates with “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate on the edge! It’s the little things that count and that certainly did! When I thanked her, Joanne said it’s “all part of the service…welcome to the VIP list”.
The bathroom was gorgeous, with taupe and blue colours and a lovely selection of Elemis products. According to the guest information book, the bathrobes used to be commonly stolen because they were so comfortable but personally, I didn’t rate them that much. Plus, I’m only 5’3″ so I was practically swimming in them.
I had a lovely view from my room, however, because it was only the 3rd floor, I had trees obscuring my view a bit. Still, I could see the London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral all lit up at night and it was gorgeous. I was starving from my long day so ordered some lovely tomato and basil soup with bread, which hit the spot perfectly. Room service is definitely something that makes you realize you’re in a nice hotel! After a lovely sleep in, I woke up on my birthday and ordered more room service. I figured on one’s birthday, breakfast in bed is a must!
After breakfast I decided to take advantage of the flatscreen over the tv and have a bath while watching tv-the ultimate in luxury haha. I only wish I’d figured out earlier how to turn on the volume for the tv as I didn’t see any instructions for that anywhere, or simply missed them. For future reference, they are by the ipod dock.
I then got ready for afternoon tea down in The Lounge and headed down to meet my friends. There are little buttons by the door that allow you to turn on “Do Not Disturb” or “Make Up Room” lights outside the door (much better than a sign to hang on the handle) so I was able to get my room made up while I was out.
Afternoon tea was lovely. We had a little enclave table so I felt like my seat was a throne! We had the Laurent Perrier Afternoon Tea, which came with a lovely glass of rosé champagne. I got the Lovers Bloom tea, which is a lovely flowering jasmine green tea and it was fun to watch the blossoms open-so pretty!
Overall we had a great couple of hours sitting having afternoon tea and a good chat. Thank you Milla, Oneika and Cassie for a great afternoon and helping me celebrate my birthday. After that, we headed towards Piccadilly and had a glass of wine in the lovely Bar Americain, just off Piccadilly Circus. After that, I headed back to the hotel and walked along the river to see the area at night. The hotel is in a ridiculously good location, with Embankment Tube Station about 30 seconds away, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Westminister/Big Ben about 5-10 minutes walk away.
The next morning, I enjoyed the room as long as I could and headed down for check out at noon. I quite liked the late check out time that seems to be standard for this hotel! Given it was a Sunday, there was a line of people to check out but the process was quick and efficient and the desk clerks friendly. I was able to leave my bags with the concierge even though I’d checked out but wasn’t leaving right away. A friend came to meet me at the hotel for lunch and, though we’d planned for The Lounge, were told it was fully booked and offered the One Twenty One Two Restaurant instead. After a few minutes wait, we were brought into the dining room and seated at a table with a glass of bubbly. We had the 3 course menu and, although the portions seemed small, they were more than enough when combined all together and we very much enjoyed our lunch there.
After my friend left, the doorman got me settled in a cab with my luggage and I was off home with my Horseguards weekend over. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend; the service and attention I got was first class and I will definitely be back! A bonus: when I booked the hotel, I signed up for their rewards program and was given a voucher for a free Sunday lunch and a free Sunday night stay. I used my lunch that weekend and plan to use the Sunday night if I can organize it!
My mum is coming to London in August and we were for sure be visiting the Horseguards for a stay! I can’t wait!