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The London Marriott Canary Wharf has only gone by this name since it went through a name change at the beginning of the year (it used to be called the Marriott London West India Quay) and its new name is a lot better at letting people know where it’s located.
Location & Area
Canary Wharf is the newer of the two main business districts in London and the area is dominated by a series of high-rise buildings which are home to the likes of JP Morgan, Citibank and HSBC…but there’s more to Canary Wharf than just the large financial institutions.
Canary Wharf is home to two large underground shopping malls and countless food outlets, restaurants and bars as the area has expanded to cater to the incredible number of apartments/condos that have sprung up in the area over the past 15 years.
Alongside the shopping malls is Canary Wharf underground station (10 – 12 minutes walk from the Marriott) which links the Canary Wharf to some of London’s most visited attractions.
- London Bridge station (the Shard, Southwark Cathedral and Tower Bridge) is just 3 stops/8 minutes away
- Waterloo station (London Eye, the South Bank) is 5 stops/15 minutes away
- Westminster station (Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Downing St) is 6 stops/17 minutes away.
- Green Park (Piccadilly, The Ritz and Green Park) is 7 stops/19 minutes away
- Bond Street (Oxford St and Bond St shopping) is 8 stops/23 minutes away
There’s also an alternate form of transport you can take (the Docklands Light Railway) which you can catch from West India Quay station (next to the Marriott) and, depending on your choice of train, will take you to Tower Hill station (Tower Bridge and the Tower of London) or Bank station (home to London’s primary financial center – the ‘City of London’).
As somewhere to be based if you’re looking to explore London this really isn’t bad at all.
Booking and a Key Thing To Know
The London Marriott West India Quay has one incredible aspect to it that should make it very interesting to a lot of readers – it can be a very cheap place to stay on weekends.
Because the property sits in a Financial district it often gets substantially fewer visitors at weekends than it does during the week so while weekly rates can be over £300 or even £400 ($390/$520)…..
…you’ll often find this hotel available for under £110/~$140/night (including taxes) for Friday and Saturday night stays.
The hotel is a Category 5 property costing 35,000 points per night so a points redemption for a midweek stay will often offer great value…but cash is almost always the best way to book if you’re visiting on a Friday or Saturday night.
I ended up booking this 2-night stay (a Friday and Saturday night) as two separate 1-night stays because, when I first booked, I didn’t think I’d need the second night and I never got around to combining the two stays….and the front desk staff didn’t seem to think it was necessary at check-in.
Still, regardless of how I booked, I got a fantastic deal courtesy of an AAA room rate.
The first night (Friday night) cost £90/114.54….
….while the second night set me back just £80/$101.82:
$216.36 for two nights at a 4* property in London is pretty good going J
As is normal for me, I had booked an entry-level room because I knew that my Marriott Titanium status would almost certainly get me upgraded….but I was interested to see what room category I would be upgraded to.
Marriott Titanium status entitles me to a complimentary upgrade to a suite (if one is available at check in) and, on a 1-night stay at this property last year, I was upgraded to a room the hotel calls a ‘Studio Suite’…..but that turned out not to be a suite at all.
This time around I took note of the rooms available for purchase the day before I was due to check in and I could see that there were three levels of ‘suite’ the hotel was still selling:
On the day of check-in I logged into my Marriott account to find my upgrade had already been processed – I’d been put in an ‘Executive Suite’
Not bad for a $216 2-night stay!
Reception & Check-in
The front desks of the London Marriott Canary Wharf sit in an atrium with a double-height ceiling which gives guests a good feeling of space as soon as they enter the property.
Off to one side is the hotel’s bar and straight ahead is the hotel’s restaurant the Manhattan Grill (more on both of those later).
There were 3 members of staff working the front desk when I arrived and, with just two guests in the lobby area, I didn’t have to wait to be served.
The front desk confirmed that I didn’t need to link my reservations, the agent typed something into her computer to ensure that I didn’t have to move rooms after my first night and I was offered my choice of a $10 F&B credit or 1,000 Marriott points as my welcome gift. I chose the latter.
5 minutes after I arrived I was heading up to my room on the 2nd floor.
London Marriott Canary Wharf Executive Suite
Here’s a very rough floor plan of a 1-bed Executive Suite at the London Marriott Canary Wharf – this should let you make more sense of the pictures that follow.
The suite is approximately 650 square feet in size and, per the hotel’s website, offers the following:
As you walk through the door to the suite the lounge/living area is directly ahead….
…complete with two arm chairs, a coffee table, a sofa (which is actually a sofa bed)….
…and a large TV:
As the image above shows, the sleeping area is divided from the lounge area by a small partition wall so it doesn’t offer any great privacy if the sofa bed is being used.
Speaking of the sleeping area…
There’s no shortage of space in this part of the suite and it’s dominated by a US-king bed which is remarkably comfortable.
Both sides of the bed have switches to operate the room’s lights and both sides of the bed have a UK power outlet with two USB ports.
The partition which separates the sleeping area from the lounge area is where you’ll find another large TV….
….but there’s no way you could have both of the suite’s TVs on at the same time (with different channels playing) as they’d just drown each other out.
There are two ways to access the suite’s bathroom. The first is by passing through the sizeable walk-in closet that you’ll find on the left as you first enter the suite….
…and the second is directly from the sleeping area:
There are doors you can use to close off the bathroom from the bedroom and the walk-in closet so privacy isn’t an issue.
The bathroom itself is a good size….
…and although it offers just one vanity unit….
…it does have a separate shower and bath:
If you need to do any work while you’re in the suite the desk is just to the right of the entrance as you walk in….
…and there’s a set of two power outlets and two USB ports above the desk to keep electronic devices charged:
There’s no shortage of storage in the Executive Suite with the walk-in closet being one of the larger ones I’ve come across on my travels:
If you run of space for your clothes here you’ve almost certainly packed far too much!
As well as an array of shelving and hanging areas the walk-in closet is also where you’ll find the large in-room safe….
…which is big enough to take a 15” MacBook (with ease) as well as a host of other items you may like to keep secure.
Lastly, the suite offers a small minibar with beer, water and sodas (spirits can be found in a drawer above the minibar fridge)….
…and there are tea & coffee making facilities too.
Overall this suite was a pretty nice space in which to spend a couple of nights….but there was one big issue.
Here’s a layout of the London Marriott Canary Wharf and you should be able to see the location of my Executive Suite marked by a red dot on the floor plan:
The rooms on the arc portion of the hotel are mostly ‘Executive Rooms’ which look out over West India Quay…..
…and the rooms on the right side of the property look out towards the parade of eateries and bars that West India Quay has to offer:
But you may have noticed that I haven’t yet shown a view from this Executive suite….and there’s a reason for that.
Most of the windows in this 2nd floor Executive suite are frosted…like this….
…and when you take a look through the few windows which aren’t frosted you can see why:
What you can see there is the Docklands Light railway (DLR) and it runs down the left side of the hotel and then curves round to pass by the rear of the hotel too.
Trains on this railway run every day and well into the evening so you’re almost certain to hear them passing by if you’re in a room on this side of the hotel.
I definitely did!
The trains weren’t overly loud but it was hard not to be aware that they were passing by and this room in particular is probably going to be one of the worst for train noise.
Tip: If you’re placed into a room on the left side of the London Marriott Canary Wharf you should try to make sure you’re as high up as possible.
The Executive Lounge
The Executive Lounge at the London Marriott Canary Wharf is on the 7th floor of the hotel and requires a key card for entry.
Opening hours are as follows:
- Monday – Friday: 06:15 – 22:30
- Saturday – Sunday: 07:00 – 22:30
There’s a reception desk on the right as soon as you enter the lounge (I don’t think I’ve ever seen this staffed on a weekend)….
…and as you walk past the reception desk you enter a small seating area with stools, sofas and armchairs:
The lounge continues to the left with a small area offering tea & coffee facilities as well as an under-counter fridge with water, sodas and a selection of juices.
Past there the lounge opens up into a small seating area with views of West India Quay (which can be very nice at night):
The lounge offers a variety of snacks and nibbles depending on the time of day:
- ‘Afternoon Treats’ from 14:30 to 17:50
- ‘Evening hot and cold appetizers’ from 17:30 to 19:30
- Desserts from 19:30 to 21:30
- ‘Evening wine & beers’ from 17:30 to 21:30
A full breakfast is offered in the Manhattan Grill daily
I passed by the lounge a few times during this stay and here’s a selection of what I saw on offer:
Dining & Drinking
The hotel bar is called G & Tea and is found on the ground floor opposite the lobby.
As the name suggests, the bar is best known for the wide variety of Gins that it serves but you’ll find just about any drink you’d like being served here (within reason!)
The Manhattan Grill is the hotel’s only restaurant and, despite numerous visits to this property, I’ve never eaten anything other than breakfast here so I can’t comment on the quality of lunch or dinner.
Breakfast is served between the following times:
- Monday – Friday: 06:15 – 11:00
- Saturdays: 07:00 – 11:00
- Sundays & Holidays: 07:00 – 11:30
If you’re not fortunate enough to be offered a complimentary breakfast the prices are quite steep….
…but at least the buffet offering is pretty good.
There’s a long counter at one end of the dining room where all the hot food is served….
…and at the opposite end of the room there are juices, smoothies, cereals and a variety of other items that make up a continental breakfast:
There’s even a small section of Gluten-free snacks:
Overall there’s probably something for everyone here and the egg station in particular is pretty good.
Other Hotel Facilities
On the lower ground floor the London Marriott Canary Wharf offers a small gym (which was always occupied every time I checked so I couldn’t get any pictures)….
…and a business center with workstations and copy/fax/printing facilities (for a fee):
I’m not sure I’d like to spend too much time down here as there are no windows and it’s pretty dark….but it’s fine for a short period of time.
- The location of the Executive suites on the left side of the property opens them up to noise from the passing light railway…especially on lower floors.
- The Executive Lounge is on the small side which isn’t an issue on weekends and on other low occupancy days but may be an issue midweek.
- The TVs are too complicated (I forgot to mention this earlier) and have a tendency to play up.
- I’d prefer it if there was a more private divide between the living area and the sleeping area in the Executive Suite – that would make the sofa bed a much more useful option.
- The location is great
- The weekends rates can be fantastic by London standards (unless there’s a big show on at the nearby O2 Arena)
- The staff are always friendly and welcoming
- The size of the Executive Suite is great
- The breakfast is very good if you’re getting it as an elite benefit
- There are plenty of power outlets and USB ports in the Executive Suite
- The bed, bedding and pillows make for a great night’s sleep
It’s certainly not perfect but the London Marriott Canary Wharf would be an excellent choice for a stay if you’re looking to explore London.
Midweek prices can be on the high side and not dissimilar to what you’ll pay at some more central high-end properties so other options may suit you better if you’re visiting Monday -Thursday (unless you’re booking with points)….but this is still a very good option to have.
The London Marriott Canary Wharf is a solid 4* hotel with friendly staff a nice location and easy access to a lot of what London has to offer….that’s not a bad list for a London hotel resumé.