We owe Granny a huge thank you as without her agreeing to look after the kids, there was no way we could have gone. Each of them has certain needs (J with his Aspergers, Miss T with Juvenile Arthritis and D with his current broken wrist) - so it is a big ask asking anyone to take care of all three of them overnight.
We headed up on Friday lunchtime, missed the worst of the rain and grabbed lunch at Five Guys. The lovely staff at Five Guys were telling me that they'd been open there right next to Charring Cross for around 3 years and yet we'd never heard of them. It was actually on our trip to Dubai that one of the taxi drivers had actually excitedly told us that they had Five Guys in Dubai.
Anyhow we ended up feeling VERY full after our burger and fries (and yes the healthy eating went totally out the window!) so we made our way to the hotel.
Our overnight stay in London was actually courtesy of Renshaw Baking and a Valentine's competition they ran (it really has taken us this long to arrange childcare etc to be able to go) and the prize was "A 4*London Hotel Stay with Theatre Tickets for 2" via Virgin Experience days.
When booking, we didn't put much thought into it and went for Kensington Close hotel and Wicked as the show. I did a quick tripadvisor search for the hotel and there seemed to be mixed reviews leaving me a little wary.
Well one of the reasons I did decide to write something up is because the hotel was actually wonderful. It was a smart, clean, comfortable hotel. The beds were comfortable and it had all the basics you would need. I was impressed with things like the coat hooks that are often lacking in accomodation. The room was small but fine for just the two of us for a 1 night stay. For future reference I did enquire about whether any of their rooms could accomodate 5 people and frustratingly like so many other hotels, families of 5 just aren't catered for.
I think we had been totally spoilt by staying at The Rove in Downtown Dubai because it did make this 4 star hotel seem rather less than 4 star because Rove was so fabulous despite considering themselves to be a budget hotel.
So little extras like a box of tissues in the room, which we had at Rove, and complimentary use of the swimming pool and the selection of food at breakfast - Rove had it all. Yet at Kensington Close there was an extra charge to use the swimming pool (something I have never come across despite having stayed in many hotels with pools). Breakfast was fine but the selection was not as huge as what we've had in other hotels. Even hotels like the LEGOLAND hotel and Novotel hotels we've recently stayed at had a far better selection for breakfast.
We did go for a swim on Friday afternoon. A word of caution about the ladies sauna (saunas were separate for men and women) - There were rough sawn wood splinters which luckily didn't go in my skin but totally wrecked my swimsuit. I mentioned this to two separate members of staff so hopefully they will get it seen to, but no-one offered to pay for a replacement swimsuit or at the very least waive our pool fee which I thought was disgraceful.
Friday evening we headed over to the Apollo theatre and grabbed a quick bite to eat at Pret. I was SO impressed with their healthy eating choices. It was the first time I'd been to Pret in ages so it was the first time I was conscious of just how brilliant their healthy options were.
Wicked was utterly amazing - We thoroughly enjoyed the show and headed back to the hotel exhausted.
Saturday morning was the first lie-in we'd had for about 12 years too - so we headed down to breakfast at a leisurely pace. Then packed the grand total of about 3 items of clothing we'd brought with us and head to the V&A museum. Another first for me as I had never been before. I really enjoyed seeing the Iranian artefacts in particular.
To make the most of our time away from the kids, we'd booked to do a macaroon cookery class at L'atelier des chefs at St Paul's so that was next stop after grabbing a drink from LEON.
Our macaroons turned out brilliantly compared to previous attempts at home so that made us smile. Then it was back to Charring Cross, another burger at Five Guys for dinner and home.
By the time today came round, we were already wishing to get away from the kids again!!!
Here's Miss T enjoying the macaroons we made: