This West End hotel is in Fitzrovia, just north of Oxford Street and Soho. A formerly bohemian area of London, where Dylan Thomas and George Orwell used to booze, is now home to media and advertising offices, ensuring there’s a good range of bars and restaurants nearby. You’re five minutes’ walk from either Goodge Street or Oxford Street tube stations, and about ten from the British Museum.
If I was treating someone, I’d go for one of the four Loft Suites (106, 108, 109, 110) - sensational, double-height rooms with mezzanines for the bedrooms, they’re among the best suites in London. But every room is well-appointed (Tivoli radios, internet, TVs with DVD, plenty of cupboard space) and refreshingly designed: Kit Kemp, owner-designer of the Firmdale mini-chain, set the tone for contemporary London hotel design with her jazzy update on traditional stripes and florals in vivid colours, giant headboards and plush wood-and-granite bathrooms.
I would never have guessed this hotel used to be a dental hospital. It’s now feels spacious and handsome, with interesting artworks and objects dotted about - including, in the foyer, the big metal cat-like creature that everyone loves to pat. As with all the Firmdale hotels, there are lovely guest spaces: here a library and drawing room with fireplaces and honesty bar.
Eating and drinking
Afternoon tea can be taken in the drawing room or library, but the busy Oscar bar-restaurant, with its specially commissioned mural and few pavement tables, is the real hit, popular all day with local media types as well as residents. The top-notch full English breakfast is a pricey £19.50; cocktails cost £10.50.
There’s a solid gym (weights, cardiovascular machines, yoga mats) and an excellent screening room - with 75 proper fold-down leather seats, it’s really a mini-cinema.
On the ball, but relaxed and approachable.
Who stays there
Smart media types and relaxed businessmen, plus discerning leisure guests especially at weekends. Oscar bar-restaurant attracts a lot of outside custom, giving it a real buzz through the week, and Sunday film-and-a-meal deals using the hotel’s fine screening room (£35 excluding service) are a lovely treat.
Pick the right Sunday and you’ll be able to get the Loft Suites at great rates. There are also a number of special summer deals running, with the fine breakfast included. Normally, the rate for a double includes VAT but not breakfast (full English breakfast costs £19.50, an egg-white omelette £12.50) or internet usage (£20 a day).
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Culture vultures
Pros & Cons
- Buzzy restaurant-bar
- Lovely public spaces
- Well-appointed, well-designed rooms
- Extra costs (internet, pricey breakfast)