A few weeks ago I was asked to try out Hotelgift, a hotel gift card where your recipient can select to stay in over 110,000 hotels worldwide in all the best cities London, Berlin, New York etc. and some lesser known ones too. As pretty much everyone loves a hotel stay, it’s a great idea for a present or even just to treat a loved one. It’s also the perfect option for when you’ve left your present buying until the very last minute (which let’s face it we’ve all done)!
Believe it or not there’s no other gift voucher which will let you choose from any hotel so HotelGift is filling quite a large gap in the market. You have two options, to either send the voucher online or to give it in person and there are no hidden costs or extra fees. You can also opt to spend as little or as much as you like.
My hotel voucher arrived through the post in the form of a golden card shaped in a ‘do-not-disturb’ notice (nice touch!) and after a search around the HotelGift database I opted for a stay in the five-star hotel Rafayel on the left bank, a Battersea based luxury spa hotel with an eco-friendly ethos which even has a few awards under its belt. When I’m not travelling I live just outside the outskirts of SouthWest London so I always jump at the chance to stay a little further in – despite the leafy prettiness it can be very quiet here in the ‘burbs!
I arrived in the middle of the summer heatwave and the hotel was located right on the River Thames which mercifully admitted a cooling breeze. Clapham Junction Tube station was just a 15-minute walk away and for those who didn’t fancy the walk, the hotel provided a regular shuttle bus.
The décor at the hotel was sleek and dark, a combination of opulent Middle Eastern combined with a collection of local art. I instantly loved my spacious room which came with a well-stocked bar, an iPod docking station, a chic and equally spacious designer bathroom and floor-to-ceiling windows which had partial river views.
I took a look around, the hotel was also home to a gym, a rooftop seating area offering panoramic city views, a Jacuzzi bathed in an atmospheric pink lighting, a small exercise pool and a wide range of spa treatments, so a great option for anyone looking to combine a city base with a relaxing break.
Although my favourite part of the hotel was stylish Banyan on the Thames Restaurant and Bar which is set a little away from the hotel with an even nearer location to the river – a great place for eating breakfast on the terrace on a warm summer’s morning. As well as an extensive grill-based menu, The Rafayel’s stylish riverside bar offered freshly mixed cocktails and a light bar menu.
Judging from the number of expensive cars arriving to be valet parked just outside the reception the hotel attracted well-heeled guests and my suspicions were confirmed when I sat in The Banyan restaurant at breakfast and it was packed with the German men’s Wimbledon team – not a bad way to start the day!
My hotel choice was a good one. Battersea is an increasingly hip area in London, full of young upwardly mobile types and pockets of cool. Plus Chelsea was just across the bridge. I spent my two-day London hotel break exploring the area, from Battersea Square lined with upscale restaurants (including Gordan Ramsey’s South London outpost London House) and attractive independent cafes serving up artisanal fare to sipping on cocktails at the trendy bar The WaterFront and watching the helicopters take off in the helipad next door (a much more exciting activity than it sounds)! My London break seemed to have all – from relaxation to some of the best bars in South London, this really was the perfect hotel gift!
To send or give a HotelGift voucher yourself head over to the HotelGift website.
This post is brought to you in partnership with HotelGift but all the views are my own.