Every now and then you find a grand hotel where you can actually feel the luxury. You pad down hushed corridors with carpet so rich it feels like you’re walking on to a manicured green at the Augusta Masters. The bed linens are so fine they are slightly silky to the touch and the pillows so fat that the world goes into slow motion when your head and shoulders sink into them. Sound-proofed glazing mutes traffic to little more than a comforting murmur, staff greet you with discreet, almost whispered, “good mornings”, and the leather stools in the cocktail bar are so enveloping that it’s impossible to stay for just the one Martini.
The Rosewood London is one such grand hotel, a rich celebration of English style and sophistication, and a glimpse into what life must be like for those lucky enough to live in splendour in the heart of the English capital.
The building dates from 1914 and was previously the lavish headquarters of the Pearl Assurance Company. It has retained its historic, listed street façade, complete with dome and carriage arch through which guests arrive. They disembark in an inner courtyard where they are met by smiling, uniformed porters who whisk their bags to reception. It’s more like arriving at a palace than a hotel.
The hotel says its 262 rooms and 44 suites were designed to “convey the feel of stylish London residences” and they have certainly got that right. My wife and I settled in to the 85 sq m of our Grand Premier Suite, sipped champagne in our living room and took a jetlag nap between the silky sheets.
Lovers of modern design will adore these suites, designed by Tony Chi, with their Bauhaus bedside lamps, etched-glass panels, bespoke carpets and the hand-beaten alpaca silver finishes to the octagonal bathroom sinks.
It was, we agreed over canapés and more champagne that evening, one of the most classically romantic hotels we have been lucky enough to experience. It’s not edgy as many London hotels, but instead an example of just how sumptuous this city’s hotels can be when designed to perfection. If you are honeymooning in London – or taking a wedding anniversary trip – and want full-on luxury, then a suite at the Rosewood London should be your first pick.
We ate one night in the hotel’s Holborn Dining Room, a casual, jolly brasserie with a very appropriate soundtrack; if you know your 70s, 80s and 90s British rock, pop and ska you’re going to love it. Maybe we were unlucky, but the food left us underwhelmed that night (apart from the Eton Mess, which was excellent) and the next morning’s breakfast in the same venue was tasty but meagre.
Supper on our second evening more than made up for it. We dined in the elegant Mirror Room on seabass carpaccio and pan-seared cod, served on Limoges china, with some excellent accompanying organic wines suggested by the sommelier. If you are staying on a Sunday, check out the Mirror Room’s Slow Food Brunch which is run in conjunction with the hotel’s Slow Food & Living Market, when the courtyard is given over to small stalls selling regional, in-season and sustainably produced goods. The Mirror Room is also the spot for a traditional British afternoon tea.
You could spend the entire stay in your suite, flitting from room to room and glass of champagne to glass of champagne, pretending you’re a member of the British aristocracy at play – perfectly delightful.
Or, if you’re feeling super-indulgent (and cashed up), book into the Grand Manor House Wing. One of London’s most exclusive residences, it’s got its own private entrance and lift – and is the only suite in the world with its very own postcode!
All images courtesy of Rosewood Hotels. Discover more on their website.