The Elysium team continues to find you, the discerning gent, only the most comfortable places to rest your head whilst away from home. We recently had the opportunity to stay at the Mercer Street Hotel, in the heart of Covent Garden. But was this the type of hotel to steal away your lucky lady for a weekend of shopping and theatrics? Read on to discover our verdict…
Situated on the Seven Dials within Covent Garden, the Mercer Street Hotel is a newly refurbished 137-roomed, 4-star establishment that is part of the Radisson Edwardian group. However, it’s more a luxury boutique hotel rather than the usually large developments the group is known for, which fits perfectly into the persona Covent Garden portrays, and the discerning gent wants. It also gives the hotel a more personal feel too.
Fashionable Covent Garden is full of the bright lights and busy crowds that you’d expect from the heartbeat of the West End’s theatre town. There is a strong cosmopolitan feel to the area, helped largely by the masses of tourists and shoppers present at any given hour. Mercer Street itself, takes its name from the profession of textiles dealers (known as mercers) that occupied the area centuries ago. There’s a little nugget of history you can drop into conversation as you stroll through the streets with your lady.
The hotel offers a relaxing entrance away from the hustle that Covent Garden is known for. Upon entering the lobby a tranquil aura seems to take over your body and mind. This might have something to do with the minimalist open style lobby and the calming scents floating through the air. Check-in is a very rapid affair, but all queries are answered by the friendly staff at the desk before you’re guided to the lifts up to your room.
We were given a suite situated on the fifth floor. As you open the door to the room the first thing that hits you is the grand scale of the room – it’s big, very big. Continuing the grand scale is the bed, looking very comfortable and laden with plush cushions and pillows. As you turn the corner of the L-shaped suite you’ll be presented with a lounge area with plentiful seating, and is fully equipped with a huge flat screen TV with Freeview and Apple connectivity if you fancied plugging in your iPod/iPad in. If you tire of watching TV from the couch, you can move to the comfort of the bed taking your perfect view with you.
The comfort level is very high, giving off the feeling of a home away from home. All the usual mod-cons are available including complimentary Wi-fi, (wired connection is chargeable). No two suites at the Mercer Street hotel are decked out in the same style with varying décor and layouts per room. One thing that remains constant is the views out the window over the London skyline, and if you’re lucky, the Seven Dials junction too.
The bathroom is suitably spacious with a separate shower room and a box full of luxury treatments – perfect if your lady feels the need of a steamy soak in the tub after an afternoon of retail indulgence through the cobbled streets of Covent Garden. A nice additional touch is the separate dressing room – complete with ‘Hollywood’ lights dresser, a Nespresso coffee maker and a Union Jack-emblazoned fridge – sure to be a hit in a year where everything British is celebrated.
After settling in, and feeling truly at home, it was time for dinner. From reading Elysium Magazine you’ll know that good food is very close to our values as discerning gents, so the delights of dinner were eagerly anticipated.
The hotel’s ground-floor restaurant, The Dial, was our venue for the evening. The Dial is a contemporary modern European restaurant next to the hotel’s vibrant bar. Head Chef Gaurav Budhiraja has crafted a non-fussy menu of dishes with the emphasis on freshness, and from our experience seems to go by the motto of ‘good food, done well’. The service at the Dial is faultless and attentive, with knowledgeable staff happy to make recommendations on meals if you’re caught between a few options. Try to get a table by the window; it’s the best seat in the house to enjoy your food whilst watching the world go by outside.
For starters we were both tempted by the pancetta wrapped scallops with leek puree (£11.00). These appeared on our table a few moments later smelling delicious and looking divine. The scallops were perfectly cooked and tender, with the delicate hint of sweetness scallops are known for. They were great with the bottle of house red we went with to accompany our food.
With our appetites well and truly whetted, it was time for our mains. We opted for the seared sea bass fillet with parmesan risotto (£18.50) and the ribeye steak with grilled vine tomatoes and chips, while sharing some green beans with shallots (£3.50). The gorgeous presentation of the dishes was only exceeded by the impact of the taste – the sea bass was beautifully seared with a delicious crispy skin, rested on a mound of risotto. The steak was highly impressive and perfectly tender, with each mouthful leaving the taste buds wanting more. Portion sizes are very favourable – good news for those with a love of great food.
For desert our sweet tooth’s were swayed by the bitter chocolate tart with kumquat marmalade and cream, along with the baked thin apple tart with toffee sauce and ice cream (both £6.00 each) as recommended by our hostess. The tart is made fresh for each guest so we were told to allow 20 minutes for it to arrive – this wasn’t a bad thing as we could savour the lingering flavour from our mains and gaze out the window to Covent Garden and people watch.
Desert soon appeared and was greeted with by happy eager faces – the tart was sumptuously baked with light puff pastry, while the chocolate tart keenly devoured to cap a wonderful evening. A nice touch was our hostess asking us which was our favourite dish of the night – a difficult question when all the courses were so great! With our hunger sated, it was time to retire for the evening back to our huge suite and comfy bed.
After a restful night of slumber, aided by the comfy support of the enormous bed, it was time to ready ourselves for breakfast. This is served in the Dial restaurant where for £22 per person you can enjoy the usual supply of cereals, breads and fruit but also a cooked breakfast if you looking to fuel up for an extensive day ahead of you. The eggs benedict with smoked salmon (or bacon) was deliciously smothered in hollandaise sauce and is highly recommended, from a menu that includes the full English and other staple breakfast dishes.
The Mercer Street hotel has the perfect location for a getaway where you’re treating you lady to a shopping and theatre weekend. Its location is so central whilst everything is only a short stroll away. Its close vicinity to the galleries and museums, and also the River Thames mean there are multiple options for you to explore when working up the ideal itinerary to make best use of your time. With all the clothing shops literally surrounding the hotel, you might not make it that far though if she has anything to do with it.
The hotel itself is very comfortable and there are a number of nice touches that make it feel a lot more personal to the individual, rather than catering for the masses. The food in the Dial restaurant is delicious and we’d very happily come to the restaurant again just for the food. The adjoining bar is also a bonus – bubbling with energy you’d want to be part of, unlike many hotel bars which can exhibit all the signs of life contained within an empty sporting stadium. The facelift and refurbishment of the Mercer Street hotel has done it the world of good, making it an evermore attractive option for the discerning gent devising the perfect weekend away with the lady.
Mercer Street Hotel – Radisson Edwardian
20 Mercer Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9HD
Contact: +44 (0) 20 7836 4300
Double rooms from £159, and Suites from £329 per night