Travel: Luxurious hotel in London
PUBLISHED: 12:24 24 September 2013 | UPDATED: 12:47 24 September 2013
For a luxurious hotel stay full of tranquillity and relaxation, yet seconds away from the theatres of London's buzzing West End, you really can't beat the One Aldwych, says Debbie Graham
The lure of visiting London for a quick weekend break is never lost. Our capital city has it all; dramatic history, stunning architecture, amazing shops, great theatre, art galleries… and fabulous hotels. And there aren’t many better situated than the five star contemporary boutique hotel One Aldwych, which oozes such luxury and class.
Situated in Covent Garden, between the City and the West End, on a triangular site at the junction of the Aldwych and the Strand it is an imposing Edwardian building built in 1907 by the prominent architects Charles Mewes and Arthur Davis who designed The Ritz. Its features include curved corners, a coppered cupola dome and a mansard roof of Westmoreland slate. The building originally housed the offices of the Morning Post newspaper. Since then its occupiers have included the headquarters of Illustrated Newspapers Ltd, the Prudential Assurance Company, and Lloyds Bank before Gordon Campbell Gray turned it into a magnificent hotel in 1998.
It was the promise of a stay here, at this hotel right in the capital’s cultural heart that drew me to the city for a girlie weekend away with one of my friends.
And on entering the polished floor of the lobby you really do feel you have truly arrived somewhere special. The light, grand space is home to high ceilings, sculptures, plants, flowers and bespoke furniture.
A bottle of wine awaited us in our lavish deluxe room, individually decorated in cool, calm tones and filled with sumptuous silks, original artwork and custom-made furniture. And this welcoming gift set the tone for the rest of the visit. Guests want for nothing and staff are courteous, discreet and always smiling. It was truly as an escape from everyday realities and a world I was eager to get sucked into.
To ensure we had appreciated every facility we tried the splendid gym, which is fully equipped with treadmills, rowing machines bikes and cross trainers, and then unwound in the atmospheric chlorine-free 18 metre swimming pool complete with underwater music and a screen at the end. I had never swum in a pool like it. It transported you into a world of tranquillity and peace. Other facilities included a spa and it was also possible to have sessions with a personal trainer available so you can remain on target for your goals, but we had shops to visit…
And with the bohemian upmarket Convent Garden Market just yards away we didn’t have far to travel in order to flex our plastic friends. From stalls selling arts, crafts and antiques to clothes and jewellery, it was a hive of activity.
Between coming back from the shops laden with bags and an evening watching the musical Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre we had dinner to enjoy. Our choice was the Indigo Restaurant, one of the hotel’s superb restaurants that has a relaxed informal atmosphere and overlooks the Lobby Bar where we enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails. The mouth-watering menu was filled with modern European inspired dishes. My choice was a Grilled English asparagus, poached egg and sauce hollandaise to start and a tender, perfectly cooked juicy medium-rare 28-day dry-aged rib-eye steak with slow roast tomatoes, French fries and béarnaise sauce for main and as I write this I can once again taste its succulent texture.
As well as theatres, including the Royal Opera House and Sadlers Wells Theatre, and shops the hotel is also perfectly-placed for galleries, including The National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern, Barbican Art Gallery and the Royal Academy of Art all within striking distance.
The Churchill War Rooms, Sir John Soane Museum and The British Library, to mention just a few, are also just minutes away.
It was definitely a hard place to leave, and will be one to return to.
For more information, visit: www.onealdwych.com