Sunday, 19 December 2010

"Sure to lead the way in Eco Hotels, Rafayel on the Left Bank certainly is very impressive!"

Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank – London’s Eco Luxury Hotel
by Anna Rodgers on December 17th, 2010

Twilight view from the Front of Hotel

I had a lovely overnight stay at Hotel Rafayel on Wednesday of this week. I went on my own and surprisingly had a great time. I have never stayed in a hotel on my own and didn’t know how it would be but I actually realised its something I want to do now and again as it’s great to spoil yourself!

The hotel has been open for a year now and is London’s first Luxury Eco Hotel, which boasts a list of impressive energy saving credentials.

Situated near the South Bank of the River Thames, Hotel Rafayel is a modern 3 floor boutique Eco Hotel with 65 5* rooms.

The story of Rafayel is interesting – from scratch to finish.  Originally designed to be a Tesco outlet or alternatively commercial office space, the space was angular and awkward but inspired the imagination of the developer three years ago.  Armed with innovative ideas and concepts and signing on a young team of architects, Latis Group, Rafayel set its course to embrace cutting-edge green technologies that would reduce its carbon footprint by 20% as opposed to hotel rooms in London that average a whopping 70kg.  The remarkable part of the challenge taken on and followed through to the end was the ability to offer ultimate luxury without compromising on the hotel’s environmental-friendliness.

Sure to lead the way in Eco Hotels, Rafayel on the Left Bank certainly is very impressive!

My first impressions as I entered the front of the hotel was how cool the foyer was.  Usually Foyers of hotels are quite sleek and minimal which can also be a bit boring. Not Hotel Rafayel!  The furniture and artwork is very cool, doesn’t really ‘match’ but thats what makes it cool. Bright coloured cushions on the sofas, cool  large vases, unusual mirrors, interesting artwork and also a very cute cupcake bakery, all on the lower floor near the reception desk.

You can choose between quite a few different styles of rooms. My pick is to request a room with a full view of the Thames such as the room below. Yes it is the most expensive room but for a great view, you tend to have to pay for it.

My room, was lovely but I didn’t have a view of the Thames, instead was a view looking over the road at the front of the hotel. Not exactly gorgeous view but the large glass walls made the room pretty amazing still.
My room was an L shape and certainly felt really big. There was a long hallway entrance where you kept your clothes in the wardrobe with a nice Mini Bar and Tea and Coffee area. The fridge was stocked with drinks some healthy (lovely spring waters) and some unhealthy (red bull and soft drinks but hey a hotel has to cater for all!) I saw there was Green & Black Organic chocolate bars so that was nice to see.
I loved the little welcoming gift of two cute cupcakes with a note to wish me a great stay.  I did eat both, I must say and they were delicious. It was a lovely touch.

Nile Room with Thames View – my pick for staying next time.

The bathrooms are huge, really lovely and had great features. A bidet and toilet with soft closing lid.  Large sink and mirror area with another huge mirror behind and ledge to put clothes on. State of the art shower with rainwater feature and another shower attachment with jets coming from the wall. It was at first, a little confusing to use the shower and I did manage to spray myself with cold water by accident as I wasn’t sure which way to turn the taps but when I got out, I saw there were instructions in the corner of how to use the shower – wish I had of seen them first! :) 

In my room there was no bath and as I do love my baths,  if I was to stay again, I would request a room with a bath. The rooms with baths have huge ones, room for two so for a romantic stay, this is a must!

In the rooms they use NEOM organic Luxury products so there is no need to bring any soap, shampoos or conditioners, all is supplied in your room. You will find these products in the spa area and also in the Restaurants.

My room had such a long walk way that I thought you could easily have a few people in there and have a bit of a party!

There was a massive LCD TV on the wall.  You could have the curtains and blinds up and it makes the room very airy and bright.  At night its easy to shut the blinds for more privacy.

The bed was amazing! So large, soft and comfortable and I loved that they had a warm duvet.  So many hotels have just a sheet and blanket which is ok if you are in a warm country and used to that but in cold countries we all want to snuggle when we sleep.

Very comfortable pillows and sheets soft and spotlessly clean. It was like sleeping in a new bed!

Similar to my room
Eco Credentials
Hotel Rafayel is Environmentally Conscious because of the energy they save from using energy efficient companies such as Philips, Hypnos, Vivreau, Neom, Daikin, and VDA.

Philips provide the lighting which is state of the art LED lighting. This means that it uses far less electricity and helps to reduce carbon footprint by quite a lot.

The LED lighting within the Hotel will bring up to 80% of energy saving compared to the conventional low- wattage halogen based lighting according to the energy audit report issued by Philips.

Philips has pioneered a total solution of LED’s suitable for Hotel use through a combination of their Master LED bulbs and iColour powercore LED’s. These Master LED range of bulbs offer all the dimmable features and a quality of light that is ideal for bedrooms/lobbies and circulation areas within the Hotel.

The latest Philips iColour powercore LED technology drives all the featured colour changing lighting to enhance the spaces and bring a dynamic ambience to the restaurant and lobbies. Rafayel is also the first hotel to showcase the latest Philips Jetlag recovery technology within its prime river suite rooms.

Hypnos Beds
The beds at Hotel Rafayel are certainly something to rave about and for good reason. Hypnos is a brand that has been making beds since Edwardian days, made with such skill and quality which makes these beds known to be some of the best there is.  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2 gave a Royal Warrant for these beds, reinforcing the incredible quality.

These beds are made from recycled raw materials, nothing is wasted or ends up in landfill. This includes metal hinges, springs which are both recycled back into other steel products. Timber is turned into MDF or wood shavings foam is reused in Carpet underlay and textiles are recycled into insulation product or ‘briquettes’ for industrial heating. Even the packaging materials from new beds are also recycled.

Sleeping on these beds will make you want to have one in your own home! I woke up so refreshed which is unlike me as usually I have trouble sleeping in hotels.

Vivreau Bottling System

Hotel Rafayel has saved both cost and energy savings accumulated from installing the Vivreau bottling system. It worked out how much it would be eliminating in terms of weight of glass for both delivery and disposal, and the results were quite shocking.

Based on an average weight of a glass bottle and the average consumption by installing the Vivreau system, Rafayel will be eliminating 500,000 kg of delivered bottled water over 5 years, which is a huge amount. It will also be eliminating 205,000 kg of glass bottled waste for disposal.

The Services strategy by Engdesign required a high-quality building with good ventilation, heating and cooling, and the lowest possible energy use. Being a Hotel, the project had strict specifications with respect to flexibility in the case of building rearrangement, low energy consumption via heat recovery as well as quiet operation. The Daikin system installed at Hotel Rafayel achieves all of these features.

To obtain the desired optimum energy use, heat recovery was chosen. VRVIII H/R systems allow excess heat generated in one part of the building to be transferred to other parts of the building where heat is needed. VRVIII H/R has the best energy efficiency ratings in the industry, while maintaining the highest levels of comfort due to the possibility of continuous heating during defrost cycles, quick changeover between heating and cooling modes, and the ability to provide optimum climate control per chosen building zone.

The ventilation system in Rafayel is driven by Colman Moducel Airhandling units. These incorporate heat exchangers (recuperators) which run with up to 70% heat recovery efficiencies. Heat recovery will occur in both heating and cooling modes, dependent upon the temperatures of fresh and return air being supplied and extracted from the spaces within the Hotel. This combined with intelligent controls ensure that energy recovery is optimised under all ambient conditions.

Micromaster, a cost saving Room Management System, is a state of the art system. VDA’s Micromaster solution becomes part of the fabric of the building, and allows the operator to ‘micro-manage’ the energy usage in each and every guestroom, public area, or back office with technology and software that can enable the owner/operator to reduce energy running costs by up to 30%.

In any hotel, the air conditioning and heating may account for 70% of the energy usage in a guest bedroom, but by using the Micromaster solution it allows total management and control of maximum and minimum room temperatures. This not only massively reduces energy costs, it also helps extend the life of the plant systems in the hotel, and can help reduce their maintenance costs with them being utilised in a more controlled way. It also substantially reduces the property’s carbon footprint.

The Micromaster solution allows the hotel to control areas such as energy, housekeeping, security etc. but not only that, the guest interface has now become an attractive design feature, with touch sensitive glass control units that work just like an IPOD, becoming activated when a guest moves close to them.

Landscaping forms a very important part of the Hotel design to ensure that the luxury and ambience within is extended to the external spaces. 8,000 sq ft of ground floor/terraces have been luxuriously planted. All the fountains and landscaping zones are irrigated through a system served by harvested rain water. The rain water is collected through the large open terraces across the 17 storey building, and stored in large capacity tanks in the basement.

Rafayel’s diligence in achieving its eco-friendly mission did not remain restricted to structure and machinery.  Consumables are as much a part of it as any.  The hotel strictly adheres to a no-plastic policy that includes organic bath, body and beauty products from NEOM provided in refillable bottles and wall dispensers. All NEOM products contain a minimum of 70% soil association certified organic ingredients.

The hotel’s beauty spa, River Wellbeing Spa, offers holistic treatments by using 100% natural and organic products manufactured by AMALA.  AMALA formulas are 100% natural and free of synthetic ingredients, petrochemicals, parabens and genetically modified ingredients.  AMALA plants are grown in their ideal habitats, which allow them to thrive and their essences to reach peak potential.

Eco Conscious Messages left in Room

Michelle’s Bakery in Hotel Foyer

Cupcakes left in room as a welcoming gift, there was two here originally but I kinda couldn’t not eat one!

Crystal Bar with fantastic view over the Thames

At night the dining area and bar area both come alive because the lighting is amazing and also of course, the view out over the Thames. A very cool place to come and have a drink and or dinner. A Continental breakfast is served in the restaurant are between 6.30 – 11am every day. Fabulous views during the day too! You will see and hear Helicopters landing right next to the hotel as there is London’s Helipad.  It’s very James Bond!

Vegetarian Onion Baji and Best Fries

We chose some vegetarian snacks before our dinner. Very yummy! The menu is very extensive with so much to choose from. The food has an indian influence through out the menu. We (my hubby who visited me for dinner) both had a cocktail. They were presented well but didn’t really taste that great, super strong and just not that pleasant.

Vegetarian Biryani

I heard a guest in spa talking about this dish so I chose it. It was very nice, and served beautifully.
At dinner, the service was good, not overly great, we did have to wait a bit  for our plates to be cleared but that doesn’t really ever bother me. The place was busy so understandable why they weren’t doing things straight away.

Rice pudding with Toasted Almonds – amazing!

So was this one! Strawberry Mousse

Jacuzzi in the Spa area

The spa and gym at Hotel Rafayel is really good! Whilst the spa are is not huge it still offers some great things. There is a Jacuzzi (pictured above) which can fit 3-4 and up to the right of the image there is a hydrotherapy pool that can be booked for private use.  There is also a steam room and sauna which are both brand spanking new and super modern. The sauna was one of the nicest I have ever used, smelt amazing from the wood its made from (not stinky like most are!) and was so pleasant to use.  I would definitely say its my favorite all time sauna!

The change rooms are lovely, again, they have the Balinese theme. There are plenty of towels to use and bathrobes and slippers are provided.

I just love spas and nowadays no hotel seems to be without one! I had a one hour massage during my stay and it was fabulous! The spa is lovely, the reception area of spa is very colourful with comfortable sofas to sit on whilst you fill in your form.  They use Elemis natural products, Neom and some other brand that I had never heard of.  The treatment area only has three rooms so its not a massive spa but very pretty none the less. The walls are covered with stones so gives it the Balinese theme.

The beds that are used for massage are just amazing. So big, very wide and had electric blankets on them so lovely and toasty.  I felt relaxed immediately! The girl that did my massage was fab, had obviously had good training as she knew what she was doing and wasn’t afraid to use pressure when she needed to.
I felt amazing afterwards and wished I had of booked in for a longer massage!

There is also a relaxation area and the lighting is not just pretty it provides colour therapy as well!
As they do day packages I would definitely visit again for a day treatment with a friend. The room below is just gorgeous and used when you book in for a bathing ritual + massage treatment.

River Well Being Spa

Hotel Rafayel has many cool features. The gym is fab, has quite a few treadmills (with personal Tv’s), a power plate machine,  a weights area and they also offer yoga classes.  Upstairs, there is a library area which is fabulous for business travelers who need to do some work and don’t want to stay in their room cooped up. There is also a sitting area near the Library on the first floor.

So much to do here, that it really is a great place to visit. Business travelers will love staying here but so will couples and anyone that loves to travel. I don’t see it being a place that has loads of families staying here but they do offer rooms for them so it is catered for.

Would I stay there again? YES! definitely but I would make sure I had a river view room with a bath! I would also choose a longer massage, it was that good I want more!

We were thinking of staying there for this New Years Eve but they are all booked out, maybe next year?
Hotel Rafayel  has some incredible deals at the moment with rooms pretty much half price. Also the restaurant and spa are offering packages for half price as well.

Such a great place to stay and of course, because its Green its even better!

Prices per night start at for a short while only @  £120!

For more info, please go to :

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