When I think Windsor, I think the Queen, the grandeur, the pomp and ceremony that goes with the royal family, a quintessentially English town with cobbled streets, as well as cream teas, OK, maybe that last one is always on my mind. So, with that in mind, you need a suitable hotel to immerse yourself in the beauty of this town on the River Thames, just west of London, and I found a beauty in the Castle Hotel Windsor MGallery, part of Accor Hotels.
This hotel is literally a 2-minute walk away from Windsor Castle and opposite Sir Christopher Wren’s Windsor Guildhall, plus I thought the Georgian building was one of the most beautiful buildings on Windsor’s high street. It has a mix of old-worldly charm with a modern vibe, the decor, especially in the communal areas is impressive, the walls are literally filled with old canvas paintings, while the furniture is modern with a contemporary colour palette. Plus, I do appreciate a hotel that has flowers everywhere, and they were so beautifully arranged.
One of the big draws for Windsor is the pomp and ceremony, the best being the daily Changing of the Guard, you can watch near the castle itself, or stay in the warmth and dry by viewing it from the hotel’s bar area as it overlooks the street perfectly. I should take my own advice really as I got absolutely soaked, thank god that I had a late checkout and was able to change as my summer dress was practically see-through after the crazy downpour.
As well as being conveniently located, the Castle Hotel Windsor MGallery is one of the few in the town that also has parking, which comes in handy if you are traveling here by car. Coming by train, the station is literally at the bottom of the hill. Coming in via Heathrow, there’s a bus that stops right outside the hotel. Seriously, you can’t get more convenient than that for a night away.
Castle Hotel Windsor MGallery
I can’t really fault this hotel, the service was incredible, the staff were all so lovely and helpful, and happy, so many hotels I visit where the staff are miserable and it always brings me down. It was so refreshing, the atmosphere at the Castle Hotel is so relaxing and unpretentious, and I wish I could have stayed longer than one night. My room was superb, I loved my fruit welcome tray, as well as the fact it had the biggest bed ever, which was so comfortable, and the fact that The White Company toiletries were stocked in the bathroom.
Breakfast was a highlight, they offer a great offering to your room if that’s what you prefer, but I would suggest going down as they have everything from a full English to ordering omelettes, cereal, fruit and yoghurts, toast and pastries with the added bonus of tiny Nutella packets, and there’s even Actimel, as well as a selection of fruit juices. I basically had to have a bit of everything, and I would be surprised if you couldn’t find anything on the hot or cold buffets or on the hot order menu to start your day right.
If I had to say one negative, I feel I need to balance out all my gushing, it has to be that some of the hotel rooms don’t really have a great view, mine was of a brick wall, my friend overlooked the car park, but at least she also had a little balcony. But hey, that’s such a tiny thing, but if it is something you really require ask them to see what’s available. But really, how much time will you spend in your room when you have Windsor to explore.
If you like to eat at the hotel you are in luck as the Castle Hotel has the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, which offers a traditional British menu. I would love to say that I tried, sadly, we go to the hotel so late that we didn’t actually have dinner there. But I’ve heard such great things and overheard one of the guests saying how yummy her meal was.
Things to see and do in Windsor
This was my first time in Windsor, I know crazy right considering how close it is to London, and it is so beautiful. There’s a lot to see and do, from going round Windsor Castle to taking a walk down to see the hundreds of swans on the River Thames, to taking a boat cruise, or why not explore the 4000 acres of Great Park via a horse-drawn carriage.
There’s also the Queen’s Walkway, a symbolic 6.373 km long for the 63 years, 7 months and 3 days reign of the Queen and links 63 of Windsor’s attractions and views. You can spot this walkway around the town with the round gold plaques on the floor.
A highlight though for me, had to be the changing of the guard, every day at 10.45am the guards march down Windsor high street to Windsor Castle. The march through the town lasts about 10 minutes, want to see the actual changing of the guard you need to watch from inside the castle and that takes around 30 minutes.
Done Windsor, the lovely town of Eton is nearby, where Eton College the English boys’ independent boarding school is, the buildings are very much like scenes you see in Cambridge and Oxford.