Occasionally a review opportunity comes up that is impossible to turn down, and a night in the 4* Cavendish Hotel in London was one of those. The Cavendish has been established as a hotel for well over a hundred years, and it is already known and loved as a high-end place, perfect for a couple or a business trip. However, our task was to test out how friendly it was for a family to stay in.
So on Good Friday, DorkyDad, DorkySon and I headed into the big city.
Over the last four years we have stayed in a variety of hotels as a family, and have found that the standard varies hugely. Sometimes deluxe hotels don’t make children feel welcome. Sometimes family-friendly hotels lack the comfort that an adult seeks.
The Cavendish definitely falls into the category of luxury hotel, but I can say quite honestly that we have never been made to feel as welcome as we were there. The staff – from the reception to the bar to the restaurant – were all exceptional. They were friendly and attentive without being fussy, and they all had time for a few kind words with DorkySon. You really can’t fake that kind of genuine good service.
We arrived mid-afternoon. Check in was very quick and easy, and DorkySon was presented with a box of chocolate Easter eggs, which he was delighted with.
Our Executive Room was on the eighth floor, and had some lovely touches – a Nespresso machine for a decent coffee in the morning, a miniature bathrobe for DorkySon, along with a special duck-shaped bubble bath and an activity pack containing a colouring book and crayons. It was very clean, which is probably my number one consideration when choosing a hotel – especially now that I have a little boy who likes to sit or lie on the floor to play and read books.
We had a King Size bed, which I found very comfortable, and DorkySon slept on a fold out sofa bed. Without the sofa bed, the room would have been extremely spacious, especially for London, but with it folded out, it was a bit of a tight squeeze to move around. We were offered a turndown service, and although we didn’t take up the offer, I wonder if it might be possible for future family visits to leave the sofa bed folded up during the day, and only make it up at evening turndown time.
The star of the show was really the view, which was lovely. DorkySon and DorkyDad spend a good hour standing and looking out the window – pointing out landmarks like Big Ben, the London Eye and the Shard. It was impressive during the daytime, and even more impressive at night with all the buildings lit up.
The hotel is in a great location, so we went out for a half hour walk to show DorkySon the lights of Piccadilly, before coming back to the hotel and having a pre-dinner drink in the bar. We didn’t feel out of place in the slightest, and DorkySon’s request for a hot chocolate was happily met. He stayed away from the little dish of wasabi peas that arrived with my G&T, but we’d only been sat down for a few minutes when the bartender came across with a little Easter cookie for him.
Because DorkySon was quite tired, we decided to have dinner early – around six. We were given a great table by the window, which meant that he could stand up between courses and watch what was happening on the street below. There was a dedicated children’s menu with all dishes you’d expect – burger, fish fingers, pasta etc – and DorkySon chose sausage and mash, which was really delicious. The dessert options on the children’s menu were ice cream or fruit salad, but he went for the chocolate mousse from the a la carte menu, and again it was really lovely (and rich enough for the three of us to share). I’d encourage the Cavendish to be slightly more adventurous with their children’s menu options, or perhaps to offer half portions of the dishes on the main menus, but the food itself was excellent and we were all very happy.
By the time we’d finished dinner, DorkySon was starting to flag slightly, so DorkyDad and I decided to have coffees upstairs in the room. I ordered them at the bar, and they arrived less than five minutes later. This provided another great example of how good the staff were – after the waiter had brought our coffees and seen that we had DorkySon in the room with us, he popped back five minutes later with a cup of warm milk for him, and a bowl of chocolate buttons.
After a good night’s sleep, we were all ready for a hearty breakfast in the morning, and we weren’t disappointed. There was a huge cold buffet selection – cereals, fruit, cheese and meats, yoghurts – and a wide selection of hot foods – everything from eggs Benedict to black pudding – cooked to order. DorkySon decided to keep it simple with a bowl of Coco Pops and a glass of watermelon juice (!), but after seeing me and DorkyDad tuck into our choices, he relented, and filled a plate with bacon and sausage too. There were several other families in the dining room for breakfast, and we felt very much at home amid the lively chatter.
We had time for another good walk before checkout, so we went in the direction of St James’ Palace, which was only about five or ten minutes away. We had a good wander in the park, chatted to some policemen, watched some Guardsmen marching up and down, and saw several Duck Boats drive past on their tour. The hotel is also very well placed for shopping if that’s your thing, with Fortnum and Mason’s literally thirty seconds away across the street.
DorkySon declared the Cavendish Hotel his favourite ever, which says a huge amount about how welcome we were made to feel. Any concerns we’d had – about feeling out of place with a four year old in a deluxe hotel – vanished as soon as we were greeted at reception.
I think it’s fair to say that the hotel wasn’t originally designed with children in mind, but that any small inconveniences – such as DorkySon needing assistance to reach the sink – are more than compensated for by the brilliant attitude of the staff, and their flexibility in dealing with small children.
The Cavendish would be a very comfortable place for a family to stay in London for a few days, especially as it’s so well located for a lot of activities and attractions. If your budget will stretch to a high-end hotel, then I have no hesitation in recommending it.
You can visit The Cavendish Hotel website here.
Disclosure: We received free accommodation, dinner and breakfast from The Cavendish for the purposes of this review. I received no other payment for the post, and all opinions are my own.