Hotel review: Rosewood London
PUBLISHED: 20:59 20 September 2016 | UPDATED: 14:13 22 September 2016
©Durston Saylor '13
The grand Edwardian mansion in High Holborn, now a five-star hotel, is visited by Naomi Sheldon-Peover and her cat, Lila
Lila, my six-month old ragdoll cat and I left busy High Holborn through a cobbled archway and into an elegant Edwardian courtyard in search of our pet-friendly London hotel. A welcoming gent in couture tartans and trench coat greeted us and I realised that what seemed to be a private manor house, cheekily tucked away from the hubbub of Clerkenwell, was in fact Rosewood London.
Inside, the feeling is of stumbling into a grand manor house and then feeling completely at ease in it. The décor is British colonial meets Country Life - all flat caps, tartans and tweed, but never veering into stuffy, and I was struck from the start by a genuine friendliness that is not intrusive.
Rosewood hotels are scattered worldwide so in an inspired move, each one focuses on their sense of place to retain individuality. Each of the 306 rooms and 44 suites at Rosewood London has crystal tables engraved with Shakespeare and Dickens words, while quintessentially British authors are spotted on shelves throughout. In fact, books, (and bowls of chocolates) are scattered around, while works from local artists line the walls in this thoughtfully laid out haven. It all leaves you feeling thoroughly at home while rooted in the history and traditions of the local area, and avoids the anonymity trap big hotels so easily fall into.
The resident golden retriever, Pearl, named after Pearl Insurance, the original occupiers of the 1912 listed building, is another homely touch. My four-legged companion was pampered in our stylish sixth floor Junior Suite with treats, a soft bed, litter tray and toy - fitting with the tweedy décor, it’s a cuddly pheasant of course. In the luxurious rooms, touches such as a Nespresso machine, mini-bar stocked with local produce and Smythson gifts made us feel pretty royal. The tap-less bath and black-out curtains were my favourite features.
The Mirror Room, a French restaurant and private events space, is particularly romantic. Light from oil lamps reflects in the panels of the large mirrored wall that gives the room its name. This is the choice spot for breakfast, but get in early as it tends to get full on a Sunday morning. You can then creep back to bed, making full use of the generous midday check out time.
The Living and Dining Room provide intimate spaces for smaller events. The chef’s table is a gem, and the only five-star hotel in London with this facility. In the Events Studio, shelves of ideas designed to inspire the senses provide unique twists for receptions. And in The Ballroom, the vault of Pearl Insurance, is a blue-veined marble staircases that rises up the spine of the building. In an exotic touch, real love birds sing from pretty birdcages on each floor. Lila didn’t notice them, thankfully.
The former banking halls have been converted into the Holborn Dining Room and Scarfes Bar (named after the cartoonist whose art is displayed) stocked with more whisky than a Scottish rugby tour bus. The result is a traditional British brasserie and bar with an upbeat, informal twist. It’s a youthful, family environment without forgoing refinement and elegance. The service is some of the best I’ve received. And the food was exquisite. I recommend the sweet chargrilled prawns and divine truffle chips.
At the gin bar (the largest in London), chat with the helpful staff to create a bespoke G&T. My pink pepper gin with a spicy Merchant Heart tonic and a slice of grapefruit was delicious.
The hotel also has a Sense Spa which has teamed up with sensation ritual masters Maison Caulieres for a Le Temps D’un Songe 90-minute mood lifting treatment. My therapist Ratti left me floating on air.
It would be very easy for such a large hotel to feel a bit mechanical, so it speaks volumes that the experience feels boutique. It’s an enlightened approach to hoteliering. I’ll see you in Scarfes Bar. I’ve decided to become a regular.
Book a stay
From £426 inclusive of VAT, room only
252 High Holborn,
London WC1V 7EN
020 7781 8888