Locals will tell you, only a little unfairly, that there are two parts of Covent Garden: the bit for the tourists (in effect, the Piazza) and the fun bit. This hotel is perfectly placed in the the fun bit - among the classier shops in the area north of the market, just off the funny obelisk and junction called Seven Dials. There are theatres (including the brilliant Donmar Warehouse) and cinemas nearby, with the restaurants and cafés of Soho just across Charing Cross Road.
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. The Covent Garden Hotel is a more sober, almost gentlemanly take on the style, but the rooms are typically well-appointed, with Tivoli radios, internet (paid for, not free), TVs with DVD and plenty of cupboard space. Unusually, rooms at the front of the hotel are likely to be quieter than those at the back: the hotel fronts on to Monmouth Street, a boutiquey side street, with the busy thoroughfare of Shaftesbury Avenue passing behind.
Brasserie Max may be as popular with non-residents as residents, but guests have the advantage of additional space to which they can retire. Even among Kemp’s hotels, which have made these kinds of rooms something of a speciality, the wood-panelled private drawing room and Tiffany’s Library on the first floor are particularly soothing spaces, with fireplaces and an honesty bar.
Eating and drinking
The buzzy, rive gauche-flavoured zinc bar of Brasserie Max sees as much action as the tables on the cobbles of Monmouth Street outside.
There’s a 47-seat downstairs screening room with a secret exit to the outside world - no doubt a boon to the film actors, including some A-listers, who prize the Covent Garden’s discretion. There are also a 24-hour gym (punch bag, free weights, exercise machines) and the Beauty Room, run by therapist Jenny Waite.
Unruffled and striking a nice balance between formality and informality.
Who stays there
The Covent Garden has been a steady celebrity favourite for years, but also attracts stylish City-types, boutique-shoppers and theatre buffs.
Rates include VAT but not breakfast. The popularity of the hotel means that bargains are harder to come by here than at other Firmdale properties.
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Culture vultures
Pros & Cons
- Classic meets contemporary décor
- Buzzy bar-brasserie
- Soothing drawing room and library
- Charge for Wifi