Travel Review: Wyndham's just Grand as Chelsea Harbours capital's five-star stunner
MY BROTHER'S rule of thumb when travelling or staying in a hotel was simply whenever possible go first class.
Well, I've no doubts that Terry would have approved thoroughly of my hotel of choice – the stunning Wyndham Grand in London's Chelsea Harbour.
The Wyndham Grand, as befits a glittering five-star hotel, rings every bell, north and south of the Thames, on whose banks it sits and fits like an individually-made and expensive pair of Italian shoes.
There's no doubt as overnight stops go, the Wyndham Grand is for the well-heeled, but what a hotel.
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It is beyond sensible debate that London is in the top five great cities of the world and naturally attracts globe-trotters with a few bob.
As the clientele on our – the missus and me in case you were wondering – stop-over testifies.
There is much to do in London and everywhere is so easy and relatively inexpensive to reach.
For example, the nearby Imperial Wharf station, a couple of minutes' walk from the hotel, has direct trains to Victoria and Gatwick Airport and West Brompton on the district line which will transport you to the centre of London in no time at all.
Whether heading into the capital or back out, London Heathrow is about 45 minutes by rail from Wyndham Grand.
Alternatively, as a guest you may decide to push the boat out, as with Chelsea Harbour Pier located next to the hotel, guests can take advantage of London' s boat service.
It's certainly a scenic and novel way of seeing world-famous landmarks including London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London and the O2 Arena.
The Chelsea area is probably my favourite part of London (no fool me, eh?) and the hotel is within walking distance of where I used to live.
So, there was a sentimental kind of coming home again feeling as we turned off the King's Road and up to the Wyndham Grand.
I'm not usually given to the WOW or X-Factor, but even after hitting Earls Court as Friday night's rush hour was just peaking, and arguing the toss with normally flawless navigator Helen, who was insistent and indignant that the hotel should not be that far up the World's End but exactly where she told me it was, all was forgotten as I was blown away by the Wyndham Grand even before I set foot inside its uber-swish portals.
The lobby is stunningly designed, boutique chic and all the staff all quiet efficiency and welcoming, but without a hint of officiousness or the all-weather smiles favoured by less classy or should I say friendly, operators.
The Wyndham Grand is London's only five-star all-suite hotel and only opened again in early 2010 after a £25million wash and scrub-up multi-million makeover
The recent investment has resulted in a sumptuous fitness suite complete with 17-metre pool, which has integrated body and shoulder jets.
Oh, and there is also a walk-in sauna. Who needs to go out, eh?
When I check out of a hotel, I want to know my head (as well as the wallet) hurts from the improbably copious amount of alcohol and great food, and alcohol again, I have imbibed.
Rest assured, I, or should I say we, didn't let anyone down, as Surbiton's finest, my sister and brother in-law came down for a couple of hours to join us in the fabulous bar.
One thing I should mention about the Wyndham Grand is that although it comes with a five-star rating, there is a really nice, laid-back attitude to guests.
Consider this, in the bar, there was a couple with a small dog as if in a pub, plus families complete with kids which I found refreshingly cool.
When I quizzed one of the staff about said canine and was its master so well connected (like the owner of the hotel group for instance), she shook her head and explained the Wyndham has an open-door policy to those residents of Chelsea and Fulham, who live near enough to wet their whistle.
Not a bit stuffy is our Wyndham and all the better for that, say I!
Well, after wetting our whistles in the bar and bidding farewell to Sally and Pete, we repaired to the Brasserie which aside from presenting us with a lovely dinner and a very agreeable red, well it was rude not to, had a great outlook over the harbour, which feeds into the Thames.
For a main, I opted for fish, Cornish seabass with crushed potatoes, white wine sauce, grilled baguette, while my wife settled on Aberdeen steak (8oz), with fries, choice of accompanying sauce. As with the starters and desserts, all were splendid.
The suites and there are 154 of them, are all accessed by lifts and had an elegantly furnished two-room lay-out, with separate seating area, a spacious bedroom and bathroom, including shower and tub, plus the usual tea/coffee making facilities and mini-bar.
Following our blitzkrieg of the senses of the previous evening for breakfast I'd decided on something healthy and light.
That is until the Australian lady in charge of the Brasserie that morning, said 'G'day, it'll be the full English for you guys, then, eh?'."
And we were full English heading back home into the teeth of a storm – thank you, Devon, no-one does rain like you do, but having had a memorable stay and the words of my brother scolding me for 'leaving so soon'.