An Inspector Calls… A premature opening for The Vintry & Mercer? The London hotel has ‘pleasing touches’ -but a flooded room and some ‘inedible’ food highlighted its teething troubles
- The Vintry & Mercer is a brand-new hotel in the City of London with 92 rooms
- There are lots of ‘pleasing touches’ but it currently has some teething problems
- The Inspector says the hotel’s best offering is the basement bar, called DND
The Vintry & Mercer is a brand-new hotel in the City of London, next to the magnificent St James Garlickhythe church and near to many of the City guilds and livery halls.
One should expect teething troubles with a venture this size (there are 92 rooms), but perhaps current rates should reflect the wonky service, bumping into electricians and plumbers, some inedible food — and my room flooding.
I am paying £275, excluding breakfast. At reception, I ask if my room has a bath and after nearly ten minutes (‘Sorry, the system is very new’), we establish that it doesn’t but, kindly, I am upgraded to one that does.
‘There are plenty of pleasing touches: a plush headboard (pictured), leather door handles, excellent reading lights and luxurious duvet and pillows,’ says The Inspector
Trouble is, this room should not be in operation at all. You can’t close the curtains because the electric switch has not been connected; the view through the hermetically sealed windows is obscured by scaffolding; the press-button lighting is infuriating; and bare wires are visible in a glass box above the bath where, eventually, a TV will sit.
But there are plenty of pleasing touches: a plush headboard, leather door handles, excellent reading lights and luxurious duvet and pillows.
One floor above is the Mercer Roof Terrace restaurant. It’s big on steaks and other British staples. But the room is so overly lit that I retreat to the basement bar, called DND (short for Do Not Disturb). It’s the hotel’s best offering, overseen by enthusiastic bartenders, who, when I profess an interest in a Negroni cocktail, offer a free tasting.
On the ground floor is the main restaurant, serving tapas-style dishes. I order beef ribs, but a fatty pork cutlet in thick batter arrives. It’s taken an age to come, so I don’t risk reordering.
I ask for a smoked aubergine side, which is cold, slippery, tasteless and in a horribly sweet Japanese sauce. I tell the waiter I can’t eat it. To his credit, he says: ‘Thanks for the feedback.’
Plush: Pictured is one of the bathrooms. The Inspector was upgraded to a room with a bath tub
In fact, all the staff are eager to please — especially when, next morning, the water doesn’t drain from my shower or bathroom and much of the bedroom is flooded. I throw down the towels and bathrobes to soak up the water.
When I report it to reception, there are effusive apologies and the cost of my dinner and breakfast are deducted.
The Vintry & Mercer will soon sort itself out. It’s been rushed into service far too early. I suspect the accounts department has been exerting itself.
Vintry & Mercer, 20 Garlick Hill, London EC4V 2AU, Doubles from £175, room only (at weekends). For more information call 020 3908 8088 or visit vintryandmercer.com.