“Flowers are as common in the country as people are in London.” (Oscar Wilde)
London attracts over 30 million visitors each year so you would be forgiven for assuming that there are no quiet spots left in the city, however, it is still possible to find that bubble of peace within the famous square mile.
Devoid of brightly coloured neon lights that are strategically placed to lure tourists through the front door, London Wall and the area around Bank tube station provides a blissfully quiet weekend alternative to the vibrant, bustling West End.
Now I have mentioned weekends! During the week I can imagine that this particular area of the city is awash with corporate types, all rushing into the offices that grace this area. Even the hotel in which we stayed would probably have a very different feel to it; full of suits looking for a spot to relax after a tedious day in the boardroom. In fact, when we arrived early on a Friday evening, the bar area was bursting at the seams with those seeking a cold beer or large glass of wine after a heavy week; revisit it on a Saturday evening however, and you would assume you have walked into the wrong bar – peace and tranquillity reigns with only a subtle mumble of background music adding to the restful environment.
So where are we? The Apex Hotel London Wall
Described as a 4 Star Luxury, Boutique Hotel with stylish rooms it immediately stood out to us. We wanted somewhere within the heart of the city but far enough removed so that we didn’t feel like we were having to fight for space with the 1,000’s of other tourists that hit the city each weekend.
I won’t lie to you and say that this is for the party-types out there – this is a hotel to visit if you want to enjoy the delights of the city whilst relaxing in a calming setting.
On arrival, we were greeted with not only a smile but a glass of champagne each – what a wonderful way to start our weekend. Whilst enjoying the cooling glass of bubbles we glanced around at our surroundings. Modern, jet black lacquered surfaces mixed in with bright cream walls and mirrors creating an inviting yet expensive looking foyer and bar area.
The theme continued in the lift and in each of the corridors we explored; warm colours and lighting tastefully added to accentuate certain features.
We had booked into a city double room, which in some hotels translates as a box room hardly big enough to swing a cat in, but on this occasion, I was more than impressed by the space allocated. Leading off the small entrance area there is a large wardrobe equipped with all the essentials for your stay – iron and ironing board, minibar and fridge, safe and a few added extras including a sewing kit, something that is often missing in many hotels now. Whilst the drinks in the mini bar were extra we appreciated the fact that the tub of Pringles and various other snacks were included in the room rate along with several bottles of water.
Wandering around the rather large, sumptuous king sized bed, I dropped into the comfy, over-sized, fashionable turquoise arm chair, complete with foot stool. This, very soon became a favourite for both of us; a chair to really relax in whilst enjoying a glass of wine before heading back out into the madness of Covent Garden.
If you needed to work, there was also good-sized desk placed next to the window, and wifi was provided free as standard.
Head into the bathroom and you are faced with the choice of a large, double-sized rain shower, or one of the deepest bath tubs I have even seen. The only dilemma – which to use first. No expense has been spared here, even the toiletries are top-quality Elemis products, which are topped up throughout your stay so you never run out. Add to this the fluffy pure white towels, the bathrobes and the slippers and you have to question whether you are going to return to the outside world or whether it would be better to treat yourself to a night in with a bubble bath.
The Local Area
If you choose to stay at the Apex London Wall during the week you will have an abundance of wine bars, pubs and restaurants to visit, whereas at the weekend this district closes down – perhaps something to be mindful of. You will need to wander down towards The Tower of London or get a tube into the centre of the city.
If you visit on a Friday night, make sure you explore what is on your doorstep. Just a short walk away you will find the London Royal Exchange, open until 11pm and full of restaurants and bars. Built in the 16th century, this grand building is an iconic reminder that you are in the heart of business district. Inside, the opulence continues. Large chandeliers swing from the ceiling, whilst each corner has its own sweeping staircase to take you up to the first floor and numerous it’s numerous cocktail bars. The focal point of the building however, is the large bar area set out in the centre of the ground floor. Here you can relax in oversized leather sofas, enjoy a glass of fine wine or indulge in a meal. Staff are attentive but not intrusive making it the perfect setting for those who wish to chat in luxurious surroundings.
If you would prefer a bar with music, The Phoenix, just around the corner, offers an extensive range of wines and real ales to try. Unlike the Royal Exchange, this is a traditional looking pub retaining a quintessential London-pub look from the outside.
Wander around this area on a Saturday night and it will seem like a ghost-town in comparison. These establishments close their doors on a Friday and don’t reopen until Monday so head back to the hotel and enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the Off The Wall bar area. The bar staff are happy to offer suggestions, mix any cocktail you could name or simply pour you a nice cold beer. For the peckish, there is also the onsite restaurant or room service to choose from, both offering a wide selection of foods to tempt even the pickiest of eaters.
The extensive menu cries out for people to over eat. First up is the continental; a mixture of cereals, pastries, cheese and ham, fruits and yoghurts will keep you going until the main event is delivered. A freshly cooked breakfast of your choice, made to order is brought directly to your table. Whether you fancy a Full-English, an omelette or kippers – the menu is extensive. Don’t see something you like – ask. They are happy to alter, change or add according to your personal preferences, so don’t be shy, this is one of the few places I have visited where anything and everything seems to be available. Add to all of this as much fruit juice, tea or coffee as you can possibly drink and you will indeed be set up for the day.
The staff are exceptional, the rooms impeccable and the location is ideal for those looking for a quiet break in the heart of the city. For those that are visiting London for the sights, all tubes, trains and buses are easily accessible and you can be in the heart of the West End within about 15 minutes.
Would we stay here again? Definitely and we would happily recommend it to others as well.