Stunning views for special stay
Natalie Murphy visits London
Where: Central London
Accommodation: Park Plaza County Hall, 1 Addington Street, London, SE1 7RY
Cost: Rooms start from £119 per night for a superior, £159 per night for a studio and £200 for a family suite (including VAT).
Free 121 PT session and personal health check (ladioes only) at a time suitable for you.
Terms: Call Gymophobics 01482 423130 and qoute 'Hull Daily Mail'. Redeemable at Hull and Beverley Gymophobics.
Contact: 01482 423130
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Call: 020 7021 1800
Big Ben and the London Eye are among the most iconic attractions in our capital city and throwing back the curtains of our room at the Park Plaza County Hall, we had a fantastic view of both.
My husband and our three-year-old son shared a junior suite for a weekend stay to celebrate my sister's 30th birthday – a surprise she knew almost nothing about until boarding a train to King's Cross on the Friday morning.
We met at the station then made the straightforward journey by tube to Westminster, emerging next to the Thames and the Houses of Parliament before a short walk over the river to the suitably smart-looking four-star hotel.
My sister, booked into a room near ours with her partner, was thrilled with the view alone before we even had chance to take in the plush rooms with a huge bath and separate shower, luxury Elemis products and modern kitchen area.
Our rooms also had living areas with a sofa, which had been turned into a bed in ours for our little boy.
There is plenty to do within walking distance, such as the London Aquarium, and the South Bank, with its many bars and restaurants is just moments away, but we chose to dine at the hotel's new restaurant, L'Italiano.
Situated on a spectacular mezzanine floor under the 14-storey atrium around which the hotel rooms are based, the menu offers good-quality Italian classics such as pizza and pasta at prices we thought were very reasonable – mains are about £10 to £15, for example.
My sister, aware that we had a table booked at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Knightsbridge the next day, but in the dark about which it was (Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, no less), declared she enjoyed it so much, she would be "happy if the meal tomorrow is as good".
Heston didn't disappoint but it was also a pleasure to return to our hotel and spend time together in the relaxing Spectrum bar – don't miss the excellent cocktails – along with my dad, who had joined us for the second night.
After a fulfilling breakfast in the morning, we checked out and agreed that next time we saw Big Ben chime on the nightly news, we would think not only of London, but of the brilliant hotel nearby, which had helped make our special celebration.
OXO Tower, www.harveynichols.com/oxo-tower-london
Southbank Centre, www.southbankcentre.co.uk or call 020 79604200
National Theatre, www.nationaltheatre.org.uk or call 020 74523000