This "houseboat" is fixed on the south side of the River Thames, east of Tower Bridge, so it is very well placed for trips along the South Bank, to Tate Modern, Festival Hall, Golden Hind, Unicorn Theatre, Brunel Museum etc. The views are terrific, glamorous with lights reflecting on the water at night, by day one can watch river traffic, cormorants fishing, swans and ducks aplenty. The boat rises and falls with the tides, and rocks with the swell or the washes from passing craft: some people visiting us felt queasy. Accommodation is fantastic, the master bedroom with en-suite bathroom is gorgeous, the other bedrooms, while absolutely fine, are quite small. The kitchen is well equipped, the furnishing is really beautiful and quirky. We had little children with us, it was quite stressful being sure they were safe. We had to have rules about not going on deck, it would be easy enough for a child to climb the railings, or slide under, especially on the lower deck, and fall overboard if not watched.
I've only been on Tripadvisor for about a year, but my dad much longer. He'd warned me from the start. 'Son there will be that one place you'd rate a 1 star just so other people will shy away from it, but you wont as you just couldn't'. Well the Harpy is it.
So lets paint the picture. I'm a Londoner, born and bread. Its hard to please a Londoner in London. I see it, do it, everyday, i'm based in the City of London. It never ceases to amaze me and therefore to be impressed it has to be out of this world.
Well back in May, by chance, I got to meet Andrew (the owner) on board. The fact of a 75th birthday, 40th birthday and a 50th wedding anniversary meant the need for a great place for various family and friends to meet and stay that had the flexibility for dialing in and out over a 2-3 day period. Could we make it work?
From the minute I stepped on board the thought was WOW how do I make this work. Andrew took time out of his day to show me every part of the boat, explain how things were and TBH I was sold before I got to see the master bedroom (which really does have the most impressive view in London). Going upstairs made things worse. Fully open planned, commanding views - This has to work.
Roll on to October and we are a day home reflecting on one of the best weekends away, EVER.
We were greeted on the day by Andrew, shown everything in full (inc the parking space), left the 70+ page manual that would explain everything so well you'd fail not to find even the rice cooker (should you want one) and told about the pass it on rule (see later).
By 5pm we felt like the place was home (i kid you not). First guests arriving and opening a lovely bottle we were gifted.
I could go on for hours but lets bring this back to the basics. What our guests thought over the weekend (no order). Amazing views, comfy beds, great TV, great sound system, fully equipped kitchen, space to chill, space to have fun, comfy, in town but still quiet to name but a few. Oh and amazing food (that's me not included in the package unless you want to hire me - im not a chef).
The con, its a houseboat it moves a bit. The Thames is tidal so it goes up and down (around 7m difference top to bottom) and the odd wave will make it bob a bit. None of our party felt sick at any point but its worth a thought. If you book and then moan about it, well its your own fault.
I already have family, friends and even clients asking how to book, when can we go back. A nightmare when you write this and know it will only boost people wanting to book from elsewhere.
PS - Pass it on. The family have a great thing that when you leave you pass something on to the next guest. Just think that bottle you didn't open or that thing that's in date but you don't want to carry away. Well just leave it for the next guest to enjoy rather than go to waste. We were left some beer, an amazing liqueur as well as some food in the fridge. In return we left some beer, cider, soft drink, nuts, brandy etc.