During half term, I went on a 2-day course to learn the basics of video editing software Premiere Pro (hardcore stuff!). If you’re serious about video, I would highly recommend the course I attended with Transmedia. At the end of the second day, rather than going home, I headed towards Central London where I would stay at Citadines Trafalgar Square with my family. That was such a treat!
I absolutely love London, but because we live so close, we never stay in Central London. The children were over the moon when I told them we’d be spending a night there. The idea they’d have to pack for their ‘mini holiday’ was filling them with glee and anticipation. Clothes, teddies, comforters, toothbrushes: they packed it all themselves in their little suitcases (check Jumpy’s new Flyte!), with a quick check from me to make sure they had everything they needed.
At the end of my second day of Premiere Pro training, with a brain full to the brim with facts, images, shortcuts and new processes, I made my way to Citadines Trafalgar Square, our home for the night. My little family was already settled there. The apart’hotel compound was situated just a couple of minutes’ walk from iconic Trafalgar square, and within walking distance of Charing Cross or Leicester square tube stations.
Until then, the only time I had ever stayed in an apart’hotel had been in Spain. It was nice and convenient, but it was also rather bare and soulless, no more than a hotel room with a kitchenette by the bed and an ensuite bathroom. Although I was looking forward to our stay in London, I wasn’t exactly expecting luxury or a homely feel to the apart’hotel.
I am glad to say I was 100% wrong! First of all, the reception to Citadines Trafalgar Square was not unlike that of a high-end hotel. It was bright, clean, tastefully decorated and particularly welcoming, with a range of seating areas with comfortable sofas, complimentary hot drinks and newspapers. Impressed, moi? Oui!
As for the apartment itself, it was everything you could wish for when you picture a ‘home away from home.’ And some more. As soon as I walked through the door, my overexcited children wanted to show everything to me, starting with the ironing board in the cupboard (erm, thanks kiddos!), the dishwasher, the cupboards, the bedrooms and the toilets (all the glam!).
They’d been there an hour or so and they’d definitely settled, bless them. I have to say it felt very cosy there, and it was more of a home away from home rather than a sterile apartment. Our 70-square metre 2-bedroom apartment was stylish, well-designed and had lots of great little touches like free WiFi, a vase, a full fruit bowl, a small dishwasher, lovely crockery, a microwave that doubled as an oven, nice toiletries and plenty of towels for us all. The living room was designed to seamlessly turn into a double bedroom, with the coffee table being repurposed as two bedside tables and a very comfortable sofa bed.
My favourite bit about this type of accommodation was how easy it was for us all to eat. Going out with four children in Central London would have been a nightmare so the fact we could make our own dinner there and then had a huge appeal for all of us. We’d also had an opportunity to get a food order delivered: ideal! The kitchenette was fully equipped and we had our favourite meal ready to be cooked: fillet steak and vegetables. Crevette helped by seasoning the meat and we had a feast!
Beanie then made one of our favourite desserts: chocolate bananas. It couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is cut a slit through each banana (skin on), stuff the fruit with a few squares of chocolate and wrap the bananas in foil. After 10 minutes in the oven on a medium heat (or until the chocolate has melted), the ‘chocolate bananas’ are ready. We always eat ours with a teaspoon straight from the foil.
After we’d all devoured our dessert, the children had a nice bath and watched ‘Horrible Histories’ in bed.
One thing I was particularly surprised about was how quiet it was there. At no point could we hear any of our neighbours for the night. For breakfast, we had fruit and cereal.
We were sad to leave our apartment, but we also felt excited about the day ahead. We had the option to leave our luggage at Citadines Trafalgar Square, which made our day of exploring and wandering around much more enjoyable.
We spent half an hour or so just enjoying a hot chocolate (latte for me!) on the comfy sofas in the reception area and then set off for a day of adventure. We first went to see the horse guards. The children loved getting really close to the majestic and imposing horses.
We then walked though the courtyard and headed towards Saint James’ Park. Finally, we went to Buckingham Palace because Wriggly wanted to go and see the Queen. She was disappointed not to be invited in though!
The little ones went home with their dad after our picnic at Trafalgar Square. I took Crevette and Beanie to the Natural History Museum. What an amazing day!
A couple of days later, Crevette started making his Dinosaur model kit with great enthusiasm, as it was so similar to the giant dinosaur skeletons we’d seen at the museum.
Have you ever tried self-catering apartments? What did you think?
Disclosure: We were invited to Citadines Trafalgar Square for the purpose of this review. As always, all photos and opinions are my own. Jumpy was sent her great little scooter / suitcase as a gift from Flyte and Crevette’s dinosaur model kit is a present from Apples to Pears, who have just started retailing the Natural History Museum range of gifts in a tin.