Sunday, September 2, 2012
Am I the only one who on first stepping into a hotel room races straight for the bathroom? Ok, so maybe the lengthy road trip leading up to arriving at the hotel has a little something to do with it, but mainly it's because I am a sucker for a nice hotel bathroom, and when we first arrive I just can't wait to take a peek.
The bathroom in our room at the Ivey Spencer did not disappoint. It was bright, clean and spacious. The lighting was good and they had a ceiling fan, something sadly lacking from many hotel bathrooms. They also had a nice assortment of bathroom goodies laid out on the counter. Including some less common amenities, such as a wee sewing kit, lip balm, bath beads and a disposable loofah. I quickly noticed why their weren't any tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner laid out on the counter. There were dispensers for shampoo, conditioner and bath gel attached to the shower wall! It's the first time I've seen something like this and I thought it was simply brilliant. As did my husband, who's immediate reaction was, "Oh wow, can we get something like that for at home?" Finally, the shower head was fantastic. It was Delta brand and a delight to use. Definitely something else I'd love to incorporate into my bathroom at home.
The hotel room itself was cozy. Hubby and I enjoyed a two day Food Network marathon on the nice big flat screen TV. When researching the hotel before booking the room, I read that they had just recently replaced all of their beds with new pillow top mattresses. Upon first sitting on the bed I thought it was awfully firm, however both my husband and I enjoyed sleeping on the queen sized bed for two restful nights. Once we were back home my husband even commented that he wished we'd brought the hotel mattress back with us.
My husband works shift work, so for him waking up at 9 or even 10 in the morning just throws his schedule off and isn't exactly a restful vacation. What I'm saying is, when we stay at a hotel we like to Sleep In. And the Ivey Spencer was perfect for this. The room darkening drapes worked wonderfully. Despite the beautifully sunshiny day outside, our room was dark and cozy all morning long. When staying at other hotels, countless times the "Do Not Disturb" sign has been ignored and I've been awakened by housekeeping trying to open our door or knock to see if we wanted service. Here everything was peaceful and quiet. No one intruded. Also the soundproofing between the rooms was good. I couldn't hear housekeeping making their way down the hall, or the people next door watching TV. Just relaxing and quiet, it was perfect.
However, I don't like to sleep in quite as late as my husband does. So after a good bathroom one of my next favourite things to find at a hotel is a nice place to sit and read or write, while waiting for hubby to wake up. Again, the Ivey Spencer did not disappoint. On the third floor there was a large open lounge, with a station were you could make your own coffee, tea or hot chocolate. The coffee was Starbucks brand (fresh ground beans!), and the Tea selection was fantastic. (It was Tea Forte brand, which I'd never heard of before but now totally have a crush on.) There were several computers available free for use, which would have totally sucked me in if it wasn't for the fact that I had my trusty tablet in tow. There were plenty of places to sit, with a couple groupings of cozy looking couches and chairs set up. However while exploring the hotel the afternoon previous we had found that there was a "secret" entrance/exit that lead directly from the third floor lounge, down a quaint wooden walkway to the gazebo. I was able to grab a hot fresh tea and walk right out to the gazebo, where I enjoyed sitting in the shade on a perfect breezy sunny day.
The Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre is right in the middle of the city of London. It's not right downtown, but it is quite close to Western University. I was a bit surprised by just how quiet and peaceful the place was. The background noise was all birdsong and crickets, instead of city buzz and cars. The hotel is situated on 30 acres of well maintained green lawns, and sports courts. The first night we were there we ordered a cab to take us downtown and while waiting outside for the taxi to arrive I looked up and saw three deer grazing on the lawn. Also throughout our visit several times we spotted a very cute pair of groundhogs who had a den in the landscaping near the gazebo.
The first morning of our stay I slept in past when breakfast is served (10am cut off time). My husband was still asleep and I was getting hungry so I ended up ordering off of the lunch menu. The prices were a bit on the high end, and fell under what I tend to thing of as "hotel restaurant prices". However, the food and the service more then justified the cost. The restaurant also had one of the most inviting patios I've ever laid eyes on, including an outdoors couch/lounge area complete with braziers to keep things cozy on cool evenings.
hotel restaurant (Asher's) prides itself on serving local and organic products. The day previous I had been browsing the downtown London market and noticed fresh local blackberries that were ridiculously large, like ping-pong ball sized. I was delighted to find them being served during the buffet (and utterly delicious!). Again the food and the service was fantastic, my only complaint is I wish the buffet ran later then 10am.
There was both wireless and wired high speed internet available. Hubby liked plugging into the wired internet access in our room, which he claimed was a bit faster. I used the wi-fi in our room and throughout the grounds and it worked, fast and flawless. I was tickled pink when I could pick up the wi-fi in the lounge area, on the restaurant patio, and even outside in the gazebo!
In the front lobby, just outside the elevator, they had a refreshment centre set up with fruit flavoured water, and ice tea. It was fresh brewed, unsweetened, ice tea, which I am a sucker for. Each day I was there a different flavour was offered, such as White Ginger Pear and Blackberry Pomegranate. It was delicious, and I helped myself to a glass each time I passed by. It was just such a nice touch to have this out and available to everyone as they walk through.
Remember how I mentioned that we like to sleep in when on vacation? Well, one of the other things I loved is that the Ivey Spencer offers the option of a late check-out for the very reasonable additional fee of $12. It's built right into the room reservation system. Once you've booked your room they give you the option of add ons, such as late check-out or a discounted dinning credit. Pretty cool, eh?
Overall, I consider the Ivey Spencer to be a hidden gem. One which I would heartily recommend to anyone looking to stay in London. I only wish we had discovered it earlier. We had a delightful and relaxing stay and will most definitely be returning in the Spring.
To learn more about the Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre :
- visit their website.
- connect with them on Facebook.
- connect with them on Twitter.
Disclosure: After already booking my stay I contacted the Ivey Spencer and they agreed to give me a discounted media rate in exchange for a review. I would have stayed here regardless, and I'm truly delighted to share our awesome experience with you guys.
Labels: hidden gem, hotel, ivey spencer, london, review, staycation, travel, vacation, where to stay
My review of our stay at the Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre, London (Ontario)
hidden gem|hotel|ivey spencer|london|review|staycation|travel|vacation|where to stay|