Time of year: Early December, 2016
Purpose of trip: Nigel had two days of business meetings in London; Jane had a couple of free days and a chance to meet up with some friends….so we decided to book an overnight stay in one of our favourite corners of London–and tie it in with a bit of Christmas shopping.
Why we chose this place: Greenwich is a favourite spot for both of us. We love the combination of London’s city buzz, and the village feel that Greenwich has. Add to that a festive market, great shopping, the Thames and its river buses nearby, and a wealth of maritime history and culture here, and it was an obvious choice: Devonport House is slap bang in the middle of all of that–but offers a stylish, classy escape from it. Jane also has fond memories of visiting the area while her daughter studied at Greenwich University.
How long we stayed: One night.
Our accommodation: We booked a double room but found we’d been upgraded to a more spacious superior double. The room was bright and comfortable, with a great view over gardens and the busy road beyond. The decor was a tasteful blend of autumn browns, burnt ochre and contemporary stripes, and the comfortable king sized bed had quality, crisp white linens. There was a good sized console table and a desk big enough to work at, and to store the kettle and beverage sachets. There were two large, beautiful sash windows that looked old enough to be original, but without the drafts you often get with older window designs. The bathroom was a fresh looking chrome and white with a bath and shower over it….but a screen rather than a shower curtain might have looked better.
Service: Jane arrived to a warm, friendly and informative welcome and was immediately given the room keys, even though she was almost an hour before check-in time.
Location: Right between the River Thames and beautiful Greenwich Park in the east of London. Devonport House is set in a quiet street just round the corner from the busiest part of this London ‘village’. As well as the river buses nearby, there are the more traditional red, double decker variety to get you into central London .The Cutty Sark Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station nearby links to the rest of the London Underground system, and Greenwich overground train station is under 10 minutes’ walk away. There is some paid parking available at the hotel on a first come, first served basis.
Food: Devonport House has its own Greenwich Galley restaurant with regularly refreshed lunch and dinner menus–boasting dishes such as crispy skin sea bass, braised leeks, saffron potatoes with sauce Vierge, and a popular hot breakfast buffet. Work and pre-booked social arrangements meant we didn’t have a chance to sample these, but Jane popped into the Officers’ Mess bar at lunchtime and chose a delicious, made to order ham and cheese sandwich with salad and crisps and a bottle of sparkling water for under a tenner.
What we paid: We booked a double room via hotels.com for £101 (online prices suggest some dates would cost considerably more–£189 for test dates we researched in January for example) and found we had been ungraded to a more spacious superior double, which probably would have sold for over £200. But prices do vary considerably in all hotels depending on dates and demand, so do your research!
Activities close by : Greenwich is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Greenwich Park houses the Royal Observatory and the official Greenwich Meridian line.The National Maritime Museum, the Queen’s House art gallery, the Old Royal Naval College and Greenwich University are all very close. The hotel is moments from the iconic historic sailing ship, Cutty Sark. Greenwich Market has a great range of excellent stalls including high quality crafts and clothes, and a delicious variety of street food options, as well as confectionery, bread and cakes. There is a good selection of restaurants, bars and cafes, and independent shops, within a few steps of the hotel. At Greenwich Pier, just a few minutes away, you can find both guided river trips, or Thames Clipper river buses which can whisk you up the Thames as a (slightly more expensive) alternative to the bus or tube–but there are drinks, snacks and toilet facilities on board the Clippers…and a fantastic view of many of the capital’s iconic buildings.
What empty nesters might really like about this place: This hotel is a classy, elegant oasis from the hustle and bustle of this corner of London. Some rooms have garden views, and while the traffic is rushing past nearby; it feels very quiet and calm. Greenwich itself boasts some of the most important cultural attractions in the UK; nestling in a quirky, colourful village setting with great links to central London all around.
What empty nesters might not be so keen on: While our room was comfortable and spacious, it felt almost too warm on what was an uncharacteristically mild December day and we resorted to a fan to cool it down. We didn’t check, but if the age and style of the hotel prevents it from having air conditioning in some rooms, this might be an issue in the summer. It is an impressive building in a fantastic setting, but we felt that some carpeted corridors (along with the shower curtain in our bathroom) were starting to feel a bit tired.