We love the city. We love how it transforms from a bustling hub of business Monday to Friday, packed with busy commuters rushing about, to a quiet calm slice of London at the weekend. Which is why when David and I are looking for a little break away we very often skip central hotels in Soho or Westminster and decide to relax in the city, in this case, the Novotel Tower Bridge. Novotel hotels have always held a special place in my heart, too. During our long, long drives to Sicily as children, mum and dad would stop at a Novotel near the Alps. It was always exciting, always a treat. Never booked in advance, but always welcoming.
We’re a bit far from snowy slopes in gloomy London, but the excitement of checking in and the view – wow the view – still managed to impress me, twenty years after my first stepping foot in one.
Whether you’re a Londoner looking for a stopover, a Brit looking for a staycation, or travelling in from further climes, we sniffed out every corner to see whether this Novotel would pass the test.
Novotel Tower Bridge Review: Location
As far as location goes, this is a winner. A literal few steps from Tower Hill tube station (which is served by the District and Circle lines) and Fenchurch Street station which takes commuters into deepest, darkest Essex. It’s also pretty close to London Bridge across the river, and Liverpool Street. So yeah, as far as location goes, it’s hard to beat.
Oh, and the view from our room. If you manage to bag a top floor room you’ll have a sweeping view of Tower Bridge, as well as the Tower of London and Shard tearing through the sky in the distance. The real winner, though, is that you’re so close to everything you might need. Thames Path, rooftop bars, quirky Shoreditch and Spitalfields… it’s up to each guest to determine how they want to spend their London.
Novotel Tower Bridge Review: Check in
Check-in was super speedy – we could check in from 14:00 but arrived shortly after. For rooms that aren’t yet ready, leave your bags with reception staff and go for a wander – they’ll have all your things ready in your room when you arrive back.
We were greeted by a lovely lady and her laptop. After giving her our names, she set up our room key, gave us a quick low-down on breakfast times, the spa and hammam, and the interactive concierge service. She also mentioned the Xbox for younger guests to play on, and the two brand spanking new iMacs for anything else we might need.
As far as keeping guests in the know, Novotel does it brilliantly. There’s even a Send a Postcard feature for travellers to make their friends and family jealous!
With everything arranged, we stepping into the lift and whizzed up to the top floor. After being in our room for about 15 minutes, we had a call from reception asking if everything was ok, anything was needed, or anything was missing.
Now that’s amazing service.
Novotel Tower Bridge Review: Room
The room was a wow room. You know the types. Where you open the door, hesitant as to what it might look like. Will it be grotty? Will the housekeepers have emptied the bins? Will the bed be lumpy and sheets threadbare?
It was incredible. The room was huge, with a semi-open plan bathroom (the sink and makeup mirror was in the main room), wardrobes, Nespresso pod, fridge and kitchen bits, the sleeping area and telly, and then a desk and sofa area. After inspecting every nook and cranny (as well as being totally wowed at the one-way mirror in the wet room) we dashed to the window to see what view we had. And it was incredible.
The hotel is U-shaped, with inner windows overlooking a private little patioed service area. As that’s the case, we had the most gorgeous view but without any of the noise.
Novotel Tower Bridge Review: Room service, our night, and breakfast
We didn’t spend much time in the room, instead heading over to St Paul’s for cocktails at One New Change. But after a night drinking much vodka, the room service menu was far too tempting to resist. We stumbled in and placed an order for dessert, a cheese board, and a glass of fizz and port.
Not ten minutes later our food arrived, and we tucked in. It was delish and a generous portion size, too. Resting our weary heads we slept so well.
So well I didn’t even hear David get up and sneak downstairs for an early breakfast. When I woke up I joined him.
Now, hotel breakfasts are a hit and miss affair. Some are lacking, some are far too fussy, and some just miss the point completely. Novotel offers a buffet style brekkie, which can be taken downstairs, in room, or packed into a snack box and eaten on your travels.
Heading downstairs we were seated and pointed in the direction of food. Service was a bit spotty: we ordered coffee which took an age to appear, but if you’re happy to help yourself then it’s ideal. Cereals, toasts, pastries and yoghurts for first plates, followed by fruit to cleanse the palate. After a gulp of orange juice and a cappuccino from the self-serve machine, second plates included sausage, bacon and egg, and a selection of hot food treats. There’s a lot of food on offer. If breakfast is included in part of your room rate then you’re a winner.
Regardless, the Nespresso pods in the room make for a good start!
Novotel Tower Bridge Review: Overall thoughts
The hotel has been recently refurbished, as in within the last few months. The rooms are brand news, beds are comfy and quirky features add a little touch of luxury. It feels like a boutique hotel rather than a worldwide chain and I love that. Plus, monsoon shower.
Staff on front-of-house will go out of their way to make each stay pleasant. Sure, service in the bar is hit-or-miss, but really, there’s no need to stop by other than for breakfast. There are plenty of shiny drinkeries nearby serving all manner of creative cocktails, and of course a good ol’ ‘spoonies for cheap shots and messy nights.
Service aside, the rooms are gorgeous, the views are incredible from the top floor, the beds are comfy and the shower is divine. Definitely worth a stay, Londoner or tourist alike.
Rooms from £124 per night. we were offered an Executive Room in return for our honest opinion, and our honest opinion is that while the bar service is a bit ‘meh’ this is a gorgeous hotel with incredible staff and beautiful rooms, one we’re happy to recommend to readers.
Novotel Tower Bridge | 10 Pepys Street, London EC3N 2NR | Website