The setting, squeezed between a supermarket and a shop on traffic-heavy Baker Street, isn’t pleasant, but there’s a well-connected Underground station, a cinema and decent restaurants (quality chains like Canteen, for example, and the excellent Galvin Bistrot de Luxe) nearby. Off Baker Street, there’s good sightseeing with Regent’s Park, the cheesy Sherlock Holmes Museum and Madame Tussauds to the north, and the exquisite art of the unsung Wallace Collection museum to the east. Shoppers are only a block away from the charming and fashionable boutiques of Marylebone, as well as being close to Selfridges and the mainstream chains along Oxford Street.
As with every townhouse conversion, room sizes and layouts are different throughout the price range. Those on the first floor have double-height ceilings, and executive rooms and suites all have both shower and bathtub. The Sherlock Holmes details rather run out in the rooms. Instead, they look contemporary, fresh and stylish, but there are some strange modern design notes - a metal four-poster bed in some of the studios, for example. Although you have to pay for Wi-Fi use (‘executive’ rooms and above give an hour’s broadband for free), there are tea- and coffee-making facilities and an iron and ironing board in all rooms.
Oddly, you enter the hotel through a pub, with reception beyond the long counter, just before the restaurant. Beside the restaurant, and visible from it through large panes of glass, are some nicely decorated sitting areas with comfy chairs. There are Sherlock Holmes bits and bobs dotted all round the place, which I thought was quite fun - the case near reception of magnifying glasses and pipes for sale seemed pretty half-hearted, but the corridors were full of historic illustrations from various tales. There’s also a bit of a tension between modern touches (multicoloured lights in the lift, bits of modern art behind reception) and the various pieces in homage to the Victorian sleuth.
Eating and drinking
The bar is done up to imitate a traditional British pub, but lacks the proper traditional hand pumps of cask ale - when I was in, a British bitter (Spitfire) and Japanese lager (Asahi) were among the options on electric tap. The hotel restaurant, Sherlock’s Grill, has a wood-burning oven. Neither venue is unpleasant if you’re low on energy, but I’d recommend a short walk to the proper boozers and restaurants of Marylebone instead.
There’s a serviceable gym in the basement, with a buddha sitting outside to remind you there are treatments as well as the sweat-machines and free weights. You’ll also find a steam room and sauna.
Not entirely in control of the details, but smartly turned out and pleasant-natured.
Who stays there
Mostly business, but clearly there’s a bit of Sherlock-related leisure trade - including some Japanese travellers.
Booking in advance can mean big savings. For a stay of more than three nights, full English breakfast (usually costing £16.50) is free.
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
- Families with teenagers
Pros & Cons
- Central, well-connected location
- Good prices for advance bookings
- Corporate feel
- Pay for internet connection