Fitzrovia is a likeable, mixed-use neighbourhood with a literary past - look north and you'll see the iconic 1966 BT Tower while to the south lie the shops of Oxford Street and the pubs and nightlife of Soho. Once inside the Sanderson, though, miles of floaty white curtains shut out the world and you could just as well be in Miami, Berlin or Hong Kong.
Starck's design is a refreshing lesson in how, when it comes to designing hotel rooms, there are really only a few rules. Here all the beds are placed at an angle and there's a winsome oil painting fixed to the ceiling to help you drift off. Bathrooms are pleasingly shiny and there's an abundance of white. You can take your pick from 11 categories of room ranging from the very acceptable Standard to a celebrity-ready Penthouse with a private lift. Wherever you stay, I'll take a bet you soon find yourself playing with all the amenities - the golden dumb-bells, the pashmina oh-so-casually draped on the bed, the cute alarm clock... Not surprisingly, everything is for sale.
With its bright Surrealist furnishings and flustered movie-people tapping on Macs, the Sanderson's lobby is an enjoyable people-watching spot. Be sure to stick your head into the adjacent Billard Room which has a glorious stained glass mural designed in 1960 by John Piper - and be prepared for the darkest lifts in London.
Eating and drinking
Busiest on Thursday to Saturday, the long and lively Long Bar is a fine place for a cocktail. It's open to non-residents, but if things get too lively I'd suggest adjourning to the small and velvety, guests-only, Purple Bar. Less appealing is SUKA, a modern Malaysian restaurant with sharing dishes that would do the job if you needed to grab a bite but is just too noisy, stark and hit-and-miss for an intimate dinner. Breakfast, however, served in the same venue, is excellent.
The popular all-white Aqua Spa has 14 private rooms with a tempting menu of facials, massages and beauty treatments - or just pop down to use the separate-sex steam rooms and gym.
Friendly and efficient with full concierge services.
Who stays there
Creative types in design, music, media and advertising; switched-on families; Starck junkies. The Sanderson is often used for film and fashion launches.
Rates generally do not include VAT or breakfast (Continental £15, Full English £23, excluding 15% service). WiFi is free in public areas but - annoyingly - chargeable in rooms.
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Business travellers
- Families with teenagers
- Stag / hen parties
- Celebrity spotting
- Special occasions
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Buzzing bar
- Sensational Starck design
- Very expensive
- Not for the strait-laced