Hotel Review: The Chelsea Harbour Hotel, Chelsea Harbour Dr, Fulham in London
The Chelsea Harbour Hotel is a luxury, five-star, all-suite hotel set in the exclusive Chelsea Harbour Marina within walking distance from the well-known Kings Road and only a stone’s throw away from Imperial Wharf station.
The hotel features 157 luxury suites, four of which are penthouse suites with panoramic views across London. Unlike most hotel establishments in London, the Chelsea Harbour Hotel also boasts its own spa and health club; the Blue Harbour Health Club and Spa, which features a 17 metre swimming pool, individual sauna and steam rooms for male and females, a fitness centre, relaxation room and even a hair salon for those who might even be in need of a posh trim during their stay!
For dining, the hotel has its own Riverside Brasserie with enviable views across the marina. Dining options include an a la carte menu, an outdoor decking area ideal for al fresco dining in the warmer months, and the Harbour Bar caters for British traditionalists, like me, who hold an unhealthy love affair for afternoon tea.
Now I’ll be honest, before visiting the hotel, I had no idea that London’s prestigious “Chelsea” had its own harbour. I’ve visited the King’s Road a fair few times so was intrigued and excited to learn that one of London’s most exclusive areas also had a waterfront oasis on offer.
We were staying on a Friday after work, what a welcome way to count down the last remaining hours of my day. I hopped on the Southern line into Clapham. From here I met Alex and we caught the overground train from Clapham Junction to Imperial Wharf station, a few stops down the line. As soon as you leave Imperial wharf station, the Chelsea Harbour Hotel is positioned directly behind, only a few minutes walk, overlooking the marina.
On arrival, it’s clear why this hotel would attract, neatly tucked away within its own tranquil waterfront location. As soon as you arrive you are greeted by a grand lobby entrance, marbled floors and towering vases abundant with impressive flower displays. I imagine they house an impressive Christmas tree during the festive season.
At reception we were warmly greeted and informed that our suite had been upgraded to a Marina King Suite – this sure was music to my ears on arrival after a long-gruelling week at work!
The suite itself was very spacious with plenty of space for the two of us. The suite comprises of living quarters, bedroom, bathroom with separate shower and bath and a private balcony overlooking the Chelsea Marina. This was the show-stopper!
In a city where small, cramped rooms command high prices it really is a bonus to have this amount of space.
On entry, there is a square entrance hall which takes you either straight ahead into the main living quarters, furnished with sofa, desk, coffee table and tea and coffee making facilities, you can also access the balcony from here. Or, if you turn left directly from the main entrance hallway, there is another wide walkway furnished with dressing table and plenty of wardrobe space. This then continues through to the main bedroom area.
The bathroom was accessed directly from the bedroom on the left, with his and hers sinks and a bath. There was also a separate shower and separate area for the toilet.
The main living area was my favourite part and the most visually pleasing in its decor. The main feature of our upgraded suite was the balcony which boasted beautiful views overlooking the harbour.
Overall, I wouldn’t say the suite had much “wow” factor. Don’t get me wrong, the space was plentiful, it was comfortable and the in-room facilities provided everything we needed for our stay. Although from a decor perspective, I felt it was rather plain and corporate in colour.
I think for a hotel that boasts a unique-selling-point of “being London’s only five-star luxury all-suite hotel” I think I expected something “a little more” in terms of character and unique features in the bedroom decor.
It’s easy to cast the impression that every other suite would look and feel the same, unless you were in one of the four prestigious penthouse suites of course… if the website photos are anything to go by, I have no doubt these would be a different ‘suite of luxury’ altogether!
I deliberately booked a late dining slot in the restaurant so that we had ample time before dinner to explore the health and beauty facilities on offer at the Blue Harbour Health Club and Spa.
We enjoyed an evening swim in the pool, although the pool temperature was rather a little cooler than I would have liked, once I’d managed a few lengths through gritted teeth I started to acclimate.
There were also steam rooms and saunas available, however, these are situated within the individual changing rooms, so men and women, and couples in fact are unable to share.
This was a little disappointing as I wanted to share the “spa experience” with my partner, however, spent most of my time clock-watching so we could meet in the spa reception and not leave each other waiting for our pre-dinner cocktail!
As this is a health club and gym likely used by locals outside of the hotel I can understand why they may have this privacy measure in place, however a shared sauna and steam room for hotel guests would be preferable.
Our Food and Drink Experience
Once we had finished our swim and sauna, we returned to our suite to shower and change for our evening meal at the hotel’s Chelsea Riverside Brasserie.
Keen to take advantage of the ample living space we thought this would be the ideal spot to take advantage of a room service breakfast the following Saturday morning. We eagerly sat down with hungry bellies and scribbled down our breakfast choices for the morning.
But first, let’s talk about dinner!
The Chelsea Riverside Brasserie, located on the ground floor of the hotel next to the Harbour Bar, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in an open-plan, glass-fronted setting with outside terrace seating.
The Brasserie serves up a variety of British and European cuisine, crafted by the talented chefs who believe in high-quality food, made from seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients.
We dined on the three-course menu (at a very reasonably priced £19.50), competitively priced for London. For each course there was a choice of three options.
For starters, I chose the Potato and black pudding fritters with poached quail egg and mixed leaves and my partner chose the Goat’s cheese tart with roasted vegetables and onion chutney. We both shared and picked a little bit at each others. Unfortunately, my starter was quite average, mainly due to the fact that my ‘poached quails egg’ was overcooked and I was counting on the runny yolk to complement the otherwise dry potato and black pudding fritters.
However, the goats cheese tart with onion chutney was more than palatable so I ended up eating most of this!
For mains, I chose the beef and ale pie with roasted root vegetables and my partner the herb crusted salmon fillet with white bean puree and chorizo. I liked the idea behind the presentation as it the components were styled in a “deconstructed” manner with all the elements layered separately on the plate. The beef was rich, bold and flavoursome.
After a rather rich main course I was keen for a lighter dessert that still boasted luxury flavours. I navigated towards the white chocolate and apricot mousse and my partner the chocolate and raspberry tart. The desserts were very well presented with plenty of attention to detail.
Overall, the food was enjoyable, not stand-out compared to other food establishments in London, however for a three-course menu priced at £19.50 with a stunning waterfront location you’ll find this offer hard to match.
In a nutshell
A large and spacious hotel with an enviable Thames-side location. The capital’s only five-star all-suite hotel is tucked away within the idyllic Marina; Chelsea’s well-kept secret.
Address: Chelsea Harbour London, United Kingdom SW10 0XG