|The Rafayel spa|
My friend Beverlie Summers is a woman of many talents, including writing, and being the mum of four. She is also the first person to guest post on our blog, and her post is about a wonderful sounding hotel which would be just perfect for a few days without the kids in tow! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it seemed a good time to run her piece.
Over to Beverlie:
“Iqbal Latif – polymath, weaver of stories, social scientist, owner of one of the world’s first environmentally-conscious luxury hotels…. I am just a little bit in love with him! What he has created at Falcon Wharf, Battersea is nothing short of incredible. From the second you walk into the lobby you know that this is going to be an amazing experience.
The Rafayel is one of the world’s first environmentally-conscious luxury hotels, managing to minimize its environmental impact without comprising on 5-star luxury, quality or comfort. Personally I really like having the choice of just having the bed remade or having all the bed linen changed every single day – similarly with the towels. I always find it somewhat wasteful to throw perfectly usable towels on the floor each day to be replaced.
The bedrooms themselves have MediaHub panels to connect mp3 players, laptops and digital cameras to the TV and audio system. The beds are really comfortable and the linen is luxurious. The bathrooms are spacious and full of top spec equipment – gorgeous power shower and a separate bath (complete with TV).
The Rafayel is in Battersea close to The London Heliport and with views of the Thames. There is a free Shuttle Service running every 30 minutes to and from nearest transport links. (Clapham Junction & Clapham Common) or if you prefer, there is car parking in the hotel car park for £15 per day. I chose to drive in as it gave me the freedom to travel the next day, but actually the hotel is so central I could easily have relied on public transport.
There are lovely riverside walks, charming cafes, markets and shops all on the doorstep and easy access to a host of activities and outings via the bus and tube. The Westfield Shopping Centre is nearby and Kings Road is just a 20 minute stroll along the river.
As well as the 65 luxurious guest rooms, there are also 23 serviced apartments which are ideal for families.
I stayed with a friend – we had decided to have a “girlie night away” – and we were both really impressed with the spa. The treatments were professional and reasonably priced. I had an urban cleanse facial, which took an hour and cost a special offer price of £60 (it’s usually £120). It was very relaxing, deep cleansing and my skin looked much fresher and clearer afterwards. I also found my therapist to be very gentle and friendly
Best of all though was the relaxation room which you can see above, where we hunkered down, sipping champagne and watching the sun set over the Thames. We sat there chatting and unwinding until it was so dark outside and then marvelled at all the lights twinkling on the river.
Helicopters swooped in onto the helicopter landing pad just beyond the roof terrace – even I was excited by that, but I could imagine it being the highlight of a child’s stay to watch them at such close range!
|The view from the roof terrace|
The spa area boasts a Jacuzzi, a power pool and well equipped gym. Children are allowed in the Jacuzzi only under strict parental guidance – which I think is fair for everyone.
Dotted around on each of the four floors are little lounge areas and specially commissioned art and sculpture throughout. There is even a library, all of which add to the very intimate, quirky feel of this hotel.
Residents get a 50 percent discount in the Banyan Restaurant and once again, we were impressed. There was enough choice to suit even the fussiest of eaters – adult and child alike – and the staff were friendly, attentive and very helpful.
A special treat for the children (and adults!) is the 17th Floor 360 degree view of London. Although there is so much to see and do outside of the hotel, my friend and I managed to spend our whole time inside and found plenty to keep us occupied.
I would highly recommend The Rafayel on the Left Bank to families or couples (there are lovely Spa deals – ideal for Valentine’s Day) or for a “girlie” night away and would definitely stay there again….maybe next time I would even venture outside at some point!
Beverlie stayed in the Amazon Suite, which cost £139 per night at the Hotel Rafayel. you can find out more details of room rates here.