Battersea may be famous for the dogs’ home but it is now also home to London’s newest 5 star hotel. Hotel Verta is a new build and part of the von Essen group of hotels. The hotel adjoins the London Heliport complex - London's only commercial heliport. Verta stands for: Victor Echo Romeo Tango Alfa.
So, what do you get for your money? The deluxe room with river view was not large but adequately sized. The bed was huge and was super comfortable. The television in the bathroom was a funky touch, although I never used it. The smell of rich leather pervaded the room, the pillows were soft and comfortable and the main television was a decent HD large screen with Sky Sports channels. There were numerous multi-media connection points via the TV. Don’t be put off by the close proximity to the helicopter landings (we saw 4 while we were there for 1 night), the triple glazed windows were amazingly efficient at keeping the noise out.
The Patrisey Restaurant serves traditional British and modern European cuisine and and boasts views of the river from its outdoor terrace and of the heliport from the inside. However, you will get a strong smell of aviation fuel on the terrace so you would need to be very enthused by the whole helicopter novelty to stay outside. I was served a cracking Chateaubriand with peppercorn sauce, even though it was served rare when I had asked for a medium cook. My fiancé had lamb which was sent back as it was raw inside. The hand-cut chips were tasty but due to the small size of the bowl they represented a stingy portion. There were only six other people in the whole restaurant so the staff were very attentive and friendly, as you would expect from an empty restaurant and from a 5 star hotel staff. However, the atmosphere was lacking. The Panacotta for dessert was rewarding but my fiancé had the sticky toffee pudding which was outstanding. Breakfast was adequate but pricey at £25 per head for what was on offer. We both enjoyed scrambled egg and smoked salmon on a toasted muffin which was tasty but the buffet options were limited. Whilst having breakfast, we thought how the hotel could have paid more attention to the bleak outside environment, such as adding a few flower pots by the window.
The spa within the hotel, sets this hotel apart from other hotels as it features a hydro-vitality pool consisting of air loungers, air seat, standing air station and two neck massage stations, as well as a sanarium, 2 heated loungers, steam room, sauna, small but very hi tech gym, four therapy rooms and a grooming room. This was one of the best spas I have visited but the two jet pool splashes were a weak point as they should be a stronger flow. Interestingly, the hotel plans to keep the spa pretty exclusive as I noticed the steep joining fee and monthly membership prices.
Were there any negative points to the hotel? Well the thermostat for ac control in the room was, somewhat bizarrely, controlled centrally so we were either roasting or freezing in the room. We also got locked out of our room when the card failed to work after breakfast and the master key even failed to gain entry when a member of staff tried. We only regained access to the room after the staff member returned with the actual physical key. These problems were perhaps due to teething problems that would follow any soft launch but I wonder if the “hi tech” problems will resurface? The fan didn’t work in the bathroom. I did not like that the wifi was not free as my normal phone cell coverage struggled with the surrounding tall buildings.
I was left wondering how the place would consistently sell out and reward the massive investment on the part of the von Essen hotel group. Yes they will do well on occasions when big groups take up most of the 70 rooms (the Marseille football team, for instance, recently stayed there for their Champions league fixture against nearby Chelsea). I can also see the attraction of the hotel for the rich businessman who lands by helicopter and wants a luxurious place to crash for the night. I do wonder, however, the extent to which the business plan for the hotel is dependent on the leisure tourist market. I doubt whether the location would attract the leisure tourist in sufficient numbers. The hotel is set amongst warehouses, car sales garages and run down public sector housing. It’s also nowhere near a train station (Clapham Junction is about 25 minutes walk through some less than salubrious side streets). I noticed that a couple had been waiting for about 20 minutes for a taxi that the hotel had arranged. They ended up cancelling it in frustration and taking off on foot.
Apart from the Thames Path, which passes along the hotel, there is very little in the local environment that would attract a visitor to London. The main road (the A3205) leads to the Wandsworth Bridge gyratory on one side and to anonymous bland shops to the other end. I suspect that uninformed visitors will be attracted to the hotel in the belief that they will be enjoying the buzz of Central London to enjoy local attractions such as chic boutiques, trendy shops and royal parks on their doorstep. Sure, the hotel makes no secret that it is part of the Bridges Wharf Battersea regeneration development project but I would speculate that the average leisure visitor from abroad would fail to appreciate the extent of the bleak surroundings. Therefore unless you have river views from your room and have your own transport (for which the hotel charges £35 per day to park) I fear you will be disappointed by the location of the hotel. That said, if you are in the rooftop penthouse suite then you probably won’t have any complaints about the location.
Ultimately after a night in this hotel I was left with the feeling of what the bland new builds along the river might feel like to live in. The spacious loft style apartments scattered up and down the river might look appealing from a distance but they seem to lack any character and any sense of community, as you are cut off from the buzz of vibrant areas in London such as Knightsbridge, Soho or Marylebone. For me the buzz of London for a visitor derives from the diversity, the cosmopolitanism, the central parks, the chic bars, the hustle and bustle, ambient coffee houses and the street life. At Hotel Verta you will enjoy great facilities and luxury but will feel miles away from the heart of London.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on the south of the River Thames, adjacent to the London Heliport and within easy reach of Chelsea and Sloane Square; Hotel Verta provides the perfect destination when visiting the capital. From panoramic views of the River Thames, the intimate ambience and the very modern facilities, Hotel Verta has become London's most exclusive 'Hidden Gem'.The hotel's design, inspired by the Halcyon days of aviation, combines timeless elegance and the lobby is a striking double height atrium with a signature sweeping staircase up to the mezzanine level. All of the 70 bedrooms are fully furnished in a classic modern style, each with original artwork and the finest bespoke fittings.All day dining is available in the elegant Ambrosia located on the mezzanine level. A glamorous, fun and contemporary bistro/bar perfect for meeting friends and family for afternoon tea, informal meetings and after work drinks. As dusk falls, Champagne is the signature drink and guests can dine whilst admiring the views.The two level subterranean SPA Verta offering an innovative sanarium, heated loungers, steam room, sauna, gym and signature spa treatments, sets Hotel Verta apart from any London Hotel.Settings don't come much more inspiring than this, with the majority of our hotel meeting room facilities in London, featuring panoramic views of the River Thames and the London Heliport. Features include floor-to-ceiling windows and flexible inter-connecting options, when it comes to keeping you in touch; we have state-of-the-art audio-visual and telecommunications equipment, as well as wireless throughout. Hotel Verta offers 7 Meeting Rooms for between 12 to 200 delegates.Hotel Verta is the most wonderful, unique and romantic London hotel location in which to hold your wedding. For this very special occasion, we will enchant you with its addictive atmosphere and seductive environment, providing you and your guests with a magical wedding experience. The romance of Hotel Verta is beyond compare and has everything to make your wedding experience unique - superb cuisine, magnificent settings, meticulous and personalised service. The individuality of each couple is reflected in the smallest and most important details. Hotel Verta is licensed for civil wedding and civil partnership ceremonies with a dedicated Wedding Co-ordinator to help you organise the finer details of your special day. ... more less
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