Hotel review: Richmond Harbour Hotel & Spa
What used to be the Richmond Gate Hotel - now a Harbour Hotel - will always hold a special place in my heart. It's where I stayed during my wedding at nearby Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park; excitedly getting ready with my bridesmaids in one of the suites...nervously standing outside the entrance with my Father as we waited for a white London 'wedding taxi' to drive us to the ceremony...gathering with guests in its tiny bar after the celebrations.
At the time I didn't give the hotel much thought but it definitely had room for improvement, with its bland, old-fashioned interior and fairly limited customer service. It was only until I returned to see its revamp as a Harbour Hotel during a review for The Hotel Guru that I realised how much it needed transforming, with the Harbour Group now giving it a much-needed injection of youth and style.
From the outside, the brilliantly-white facade doesn't look any different on arrival, but once you walk through the doors it's like the place has come to life. Now it's got a buzzy vibe, with chic interiors designed to be shared on Instagram - one stand-out feature is the stunning tree installation in the entrance using light bulbs and ferns. The hotel caters especially well to groups or couples and is surprisingly great-value for all that it offers and from a prime location too; next-door to Richmond Park and within walking distance to Petersham Nurseries, the river and the shops.
Guests can relax in the spa which features a large swimming pool (side note, it could be warmer…), small hydro-pool, steam room, sauna and array of treatment rooms; or instead enjoy a cocktail on its outdoor terrace. The hotel’s restaurant, The Gate, is one of its best features too; with a cool interior, friendly, fast service and top-notch food. Unsurprisingly it draws in a local crowd.
The guest rooms are spacious and clean, with speedy WIFI, enormous comfy beds and added extras such as complimentary gin. And the team is fantastic; really warm, friendly and ready to go the extra mile.
This was my first taste of the Harbour Group and I'm now excited to stay at its other hotels.