London is one of Singaporean’s favourite travel destinations due to the similarity of the city compared to Singapore. While being culturally different, many Singaporeans can still find familiarity in the British high street fashion brands, British restaurants as well as comforting Chinese food in the famous London Chinatown. To begin your London adventure, here is my recommended hotel to stay.
The Amba Hotel is located right on the main Oxford street and 2 mins walk from Marble Arch Underground station. Once you get to Marble Arch station, pass the gantry and take the exit to the right. Once you reach the street level, you can turn left and you will see the hotel sign. Take the first left and walk pass the sports bar and casino and take the right and walk straight down and you will see the entrance of this photo above. The hotel itself is on Oxford West street but the entrance is at the street behind. This is great while it is literally a stone throw away from the busiest shopping street in London but the main entrance is away from the crazy crowd.
Safety is definitely not an issue as there is a doorman on duty almost 24 hours. He will be available for any guests who needs directions or help with luggage or taxi booking. Once you enter the hotel, you will also see the concierge counter as well as a small store selling souvenirs and beverages. Do note that the water sold here is at £3 per 1 litre, in fact all the other stores along Oxford street is also sold at this price ( especially those candy stores). I will give instructions at the end on how to get water and other stuff from Tesco.
The reception is located on the 2nd floor with 6 counters to serve customers. The lobby has a couple of seats located at the far side of the reception with the lobby lounge and the breakfast lounge at the right. The overall décor is quite modern and bright and quite well maintained. The check-in process is quite fast but the service was quite cold and there were hardly any smiles. As I arrived with some delays, I tried asking the lady at the counter for help to call the restaurant where I had a booking to inform them I was late but her reply to me was : “Yes, you can call them if there is a number and you can call them with your number.” So I asked her again if there was a local call charge if I called from my room and she replied “Yes” quite flatly. I am absolutely not impressed as I have stayed in many global hotels and all hotels with good service would help their guests make that call especially when your guests just touched down and checked in to your hotel.
There are a total of 8 floors in the hotel and many rooms per floor. The guest rooms are served by only 4 lifts and can be quite a wait when the lobby is crowded. The corridors are quite dimly lit and the farthest room is about 100m walk from the lift.
The room we booked was a standard twin and it was very spacious for a hotel in such a prime location. The twin beds were of standard size with soft duvet and good support however the pillows were slightly too soft and flat. There is a armchair and a separate desk with a desk armchair for guests to work. The drinks and snacks in the mini bar were also complimentary and replenished daily and included 1 diet coke 1 regular coke, 1 bar of chocolate and snack bar. The only complain about the room was the air conditioning which automatically turns to heater mode in the middle of the night even though we left the temperature at 22 degree. We had to constantly get up and adjust the thermostat as it got too warm under the duvet.
The bathroom is quite standard in size but it was pretty inconvenient to keep climbing in and out of the bath tub to get a shower. Basic amenities were provided and replenished daily. One main issue with the bath room was the water pressure. The pressure was quite small and cannot be adjusted even after giving feedback to the staff. The heater was also over heated even when we had the knob turned 3/4 towards the cold side and I am someone who can bath with 40 degree water in all major hotels. Somehow this one was too hot even for me.
Overall, the location of the hotel is the top star for me being just 2 mins away to all shopping stores and with a giant Primark right opposite the hotel. The few misses for the hotel is the service lapse from the front counter and house keeping where some days, the trash was not thrown out, some days, the glass was not washed and it took them 2 days to fix the minibar causing the milk we bought to go bad. We were not provided a solution for the broken mini bar and had to ask for buckets of ice to keep our stuff. Despite the lapse, my stay was generally still good and the convenience of dropping your shopping in your room is one big winner.
For those who need to purchase water ( 50 pence for 2 litres ) , milk or other food items for breakfast, you can reach Tesco Express from the hotel in 2 mins. From the entrance, you can cross the street and walk down from Double tree hotel and turn left at George street.
Rooms start from : SGD 308
Address: Bryanston St, Marylebone, London W1H 7EH, UK