An Inspector Calls: London’s Sunborn Yacht Hotel is an overpriced novelty floating hideaway with disappointing food and an off-putting faux-poshness
- The Daily Mail’s Inspector called in at the Sunborn Yacht hotel in London
- While the views over Canary Wharf are terrific, the rest leaves a lot to be desired
- Its food, the Inspector says, is overpriced and overly fussy, and the decor is naff
The Sunborn Yacht hotel is the closest place to stay near the ExCel centre, London. Just one minute’s walk and you are there.
From its stern, there are terrific views of Canary Wharf, the Emirates Air Line cable car (hardly anyone on it), what was the Millennium Dome and, in the distance, the Shard. The staff are pleasant and it’s clean.
But, my goodness, it’s an acquired taste. Blingsters will like the golds, the brass, the flashy chandelier above the spiral staircase, the cream panelling and sweet-and-sour shiny wood.
Not impressed: The Inspector gives the Sunborn Yacht Hotel a single star
If you’re big on novelty hotels then this might do the business. For us, the novelty wears thin as soon as we enter our cabin and step up and over a tin skirting to reach the tiny shower room with its heavy, clanking door that never can be left ajar.
Fair enough when you know you’ll be waking up in Santorini, but not great when you’re stuck in the Royal Victoria docks and planes are landing and taking off from nearby City Airport. And not when you’re paying £175 room only.
‘Why is it all so expensive?’ says my wife as she peruses the restaurant menu.
I don’t have the answer because I’m left speechless on reading that an 8oz fillet steak costs £34 in such a dreary room with hapless service and ghastly canned music.
Saving grace: On the plus side, there are terrific views over Canary Wharf from the stern
We wait ages for a couple of glasses of wine (£10 each); my gravadlax starter is over-embellished to such an extent that I can hardly taste the fish and the pork belly comes with heavy mustard mash.
Two courses, with five indifferent glasses of wine, comes to £122. What really grates is the faux-poshness.
Order another glass of the same wine and it involves one person coming with a new glass, followed 12 hours later by a man with the bottle.
‘The wine has to come from downstairs,’ says the trainee waitress when I ask what possibly could be the problem.
Best part of the evening is when a couple at the next door table gets up in a huff and walk out, complaining about something or other and refusing to pay.
The breakfast buffet is also pricey — and disastrously off-putting if you lift the lid on the powdery scrambled eggs. Normally on a yacht, you can’t wait to set sail. On this one it’s a relief to disembark.
Royal Victoria Dock, Western Gateway, London E16 1AA
0203 714 8111, sunbornhotels.com
Rooms from £160 B&B