London Pick: One Aldwych Hotel
A distinguished air of calm luxury permeates the ambience of One Aldwych, where the lobby doubles up as a casual meeting ground for a round of cocktails or a spot of English breakfast tea.
Nothing is so dull as standardisation and nothing dates so quickly as trendy, is the mantra adopted by acclaimed Brit designer Mary Fox Linton when she conceptualised the award-winning interiors of the hotel that opened its doors to the world in 1998. There is a hint of the Edwardian in the façade, built as it was in 1908 for The Morning Post Newspaper, but once inside, a quiet contemporary touch is noticeable in large and small areas alike. As a singularly run space, devoid of the tag associated with any mega chain, One Aldwych has managed to maintain a standard of finesse that establishes its association with the Leading Hotels of The World.
The 105 guestrooms and suites (two of which boast private gyms) nestle comfortably and expansively in a building whose heart lies in the theatre district of London, with culture, retail and degustation a few steps either way. There’s Mamma Mia playing on the left and Lion King on the right, with Covent Garden’s chic hub a mere minutes away. Such is the hotel’s draw with theatre-goers that a special afternoon tea — currently in homage to the popular Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — is on offer these days. Candy land comes to life with the ‘golden egg’, a creamy mix of vanilla cheesecake and mango puree. Ably accompanied by pink floss, lemon crackle pops, chocolate caramel milk and that English staple – Eton Mess. There’s also on offer a unique ‘Cocktail Charlie’, a potent brew of Dalmore whiskey, cherry Marnier, chocolate bitters and champagne — to be savoured with a trio of homemade chocolate truffles.
Food and drink in general are causes greatly supported here; Axis holds fort as the main restaurant, offering outside guests a separate entrance. A refined variety of world cuisine is on offer, although rather than intimidate, the menu chooses to comfort the palate in a sophisticated manner. Indigo is the other restaurant and in addition, there’s the Lobby Bar and the year-old Lounge at One — a 1500-square-foot haven reserved only for guests residing in the hotel, where light eats and cocktails can be enjoyed along with a selection of books from Rizzoli, keenly curated by Paul Smith.
If relaxation is the agenda, and it very well may be after a day spent singing along to the lively musicals, one can head directly to the in-house spa, where fragrant Natura Bisse products work massage magic. For the more athletically inclined, personal trainers await at the gym and a vigorous workout can be enhanced with a refreshing dip in the 18-metre pool.
This summer will bring with it yet another delightful innovation; it’s going to be the season of ‘Film & Fizz’ at One Aldwych. A chilled flute of champagne and a BAFTA or Oscar-winning film at the hotel’s private screening room (seating 30) can be followed up with a three-course meal or brunch at Axis — where the famed eggs benedict and buttermilk pancakes then take centre stage.
At One Aldwych, it’s the little touches that go a long way to prove how personalised service is the key cornerstone of this hotel. From the daily change of fruits and flowers in all guestrooms and public areas, courtesy an in-house florist, to a concierge who is as efficient as he is resourceful, to the bathroom televisions and quick, one-hour press and dry-cleaning – it’s thoughtfulness every step of the way that keeps the Aldwych customer coming back for more.
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