Rumbling buses, noisy shoppers, and a steady stream of black cabs that aren’t afraid to honk when a pedestrian unwittingly steps out looking the wrong way. If there’s any part of London that never sleeps, it’s Oxford Street, on the edge of Central London. Maybe I was a little crazy thinking it might be restful or relaxing to book a hotel near Marble Arch.
Luckily, the Amba Hotel Marble Arch designed their rooms – even those looking out over Oxford Street – to be so well sound-proofed that there was no road noise, no horns, and no noisy shoppers! Our night was – for the most part (more on that below) – uninterrupted by noise, and surprisingly relaxing for London.
In this post, I’ll share my review of the Amba Hotel Marble Arch based on my stay a few years ago. Hopefully it will address your questions and help you decide if this is the hotel you want to stay during your London itinerary.
Location: Near West London’s Best Shopping
As I’ve already mentioned, one of the best aspects of the Amba Hotel Marble Arch is the location – it couldn’t be more ideally suited for sightseeing. Located at the west end of Oxford Street, you have everything close, or a quick bus/train ride away.
Within a three-minute walk of the hotel front door, you can hop onto the Central Line of the Underground at Marble Arch station. Another minute in the same direction gives you a spectacular view of Marble Arch, plus access to Hyde Park.
Along Oxford Street, there is plenty of shopping to be done if that’s what draws you to the area. Right across the street you can find Primark – basically the best budget shopping spot in London (and basically identical to the one at the east end of Oxford Street). Selfridges is nearby too, worth seeing even if you don’t buy anything.
On Property at the Amba Hotel Marble Arch
When we stayed, a lot of people were spending time outside the front door. There was a steady stream of taxis and guests arriving, as well as groups of men standing around smoking. Obviously not ideal for your first experience, but the crowds came and went throughout the day.
The entry is located on the ground floor but the lobby is on the first floor. This seems a bit strange at first but helps enhance your experience of “arriving” at the Amba Hotel Marble Arch since you’ll take a leisurely escalator ride up to the lobby. The lobby itself is modern and vibrant: the primary color scheme of the common areas is white, black, and red, and it creates an energetic atmosphere.
In addition to check-in and the concierge, there is a bar, deli, lounge, and restaurant. They serve afternoon tea in the afternoons (of course!), drinks in the evening in the lounge, and the included breakfast in the restaurant each morning.
Inside the Rooms at the Amba Hotel Marble Arch
Once we finally got settled in our room, it was a lovely experience. I say “once” because our first room smelled quite strongly of smoke; when I called down to the front desk they immediately gave us a now room and offered to help with our bags. Our second room – thankfully! – smelled wonderful and served as our sanctuary from the hustle and bustle outside.
After a few nights on a really uncomfortable mattress in a dingy East London rental apartment (don’t worry, I’m not reviewing that), the beds of the Amba Hotel Marble Arch were heavenly. Mr. Valise and I had more pillows than we knew what to do with and slept truly soundly.
Our room (both of them) was spacious, enough that we were able to spend some time working in addition to resting in our room. It was also stocked with plenty of goodies: high-quality bathroom products, a loaded minibar (included!), and a small bundle of macaroons with my name on them. As far as the welcome goes: from a hospitable check-in to the comfort level of our room, the foundation of a great stay was laid.
What Could Be Improved
While my review is up to this point glowing, there was one particular issue that frustrated me so much that the front desk heard from me three times about it. After returning from an evening of exploring the city, several children were running wild in the hallways without supervision. Though I would occasionally see women poke their heads out into the hallway, it was well after 11pm before the hallway quieted down. This was despite the fact that I went downstairs and a member of the hotel staff came up to talk to the children about being quieter.
I completely understand that in many ways, a hotel can’t control its guests to ensure everyone has a good experience, so I tried to consider this as just one aspect of my experience… but it took all of that lovely sound insulation against the noises of Oxford Street and brought them right outside my door.
All that said, the staff was unfailingly responsive in trying to fix the problem. On the whole, that’s something I can rave about: the staff of the Amba Hotel Marble Arch did everything within their power, from check-in to check-out, to make our stay relaxing and enjoyable. It was a kind of hospitality that can be hard to find in a city as full of tourists as London.
If you’re sold after reading my Amba Marble Arch review, great! Here’s how to book a stay:
Room rates start from $233 per night; this varies by season and night of week.
Have any questions about my Amba Marble Arch review? Let me know in the comments!
All photos courtesy of Amba Marble Arch.