Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A TREAT FOR THE Whole FAMILY; ADRIAN CAFFERY Enjoys a Child-Friendly Hotel Break in London

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A TREAT FOR THE Whole FAMILY; ADRIAN CAFFERY Enjoys a Child-Friendly Hotel Break in London

Article excerpt

Byline: ADRIAN CAFFERY

EGGS and soldiers have been a favourite lunchtime snack of mine for as long as I can remember - but I had never been tempted to have it for pudding.

Curiosity got the better of me when I noticed it on the dessert menu at the Pickled Hen restaurant in London.

Two shells were served up on an upturned egg box with a couple of chunky soldiers.

It was clear these were no ordinary eggs and soldiers, though, not least because the contents of one shell was dark brown.

They were, in fact, filled with white and dark chocolate mousse, and the dipping soldiers were brioche toasts.

The dish worked pretty well, even though the brioche was resting on a bed of shaved onions (which I wasn't expected to eat).

They were no doubt one of the pickled quirks that the restaurant prides itself on.

Set in the heart of Marylebone, it's a modern take on the great British gastro pub and is a new addition to the Marriott Marble Arch hotel, which has undergone a multi-million pound makeover, from top to bottom.

My family and I were invited to stay overnight to see the results, staying in a spacious executive room with two deluxe, double beds, a sitting area, a work desk with chair, high-speed wifi and a 50-inch Apple TV.

All executive rooms come with key card access to the Executive Lounge, a relaxing space at the top of the 13-storey hotel which has views along the length of Hyde Park.

Here, guests can help themselves to a variety of hot and cold drinks plus fruit, nuts, cookies and crisps. There were even some chewy sweets for our two kids to tuck into.

Also, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm every day there's a complimentary buffet of delicious, hot and cold canapes to enjoy, while free beer and wine is served for a further two hours.

It took every ounce of willpower to leave enough room for dinner at the Pickled Hen, although the kids and I just couldn't resist trying one of the small desserts on offer.

The Marble Arch also boasts a new-look gym and (rare in a central London hotel) a pool, which I was told never gets too busy, with children being welcome at all times.

The hotel is ideal for a quick getaway to central London because it's easy to reach by road, being just off the A40, via the M40, and there are 60 underground parking spaces.

It's also ideally situated for families, with Regents Park, gardens, playgrounds, Madame Tussauds, London Zoo, and Hyde Park both within walking distance.

After checking in, we made our way to Hyde Park and a beeline for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, inspired by the tales of Peter Pan.

Surely one of the best free playgrounds in the country, there are tunnels, treehouses, a beach, teepees, a sensory trail and a huge pirate ship as its centrepiece. …

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