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The five-star hotel that is one of London's best-kept secrets

13 FEBRUARY 2014 Rosewood London has been one of the capital’s best-kept secrets – up until now. After a two-year £85 million refurbishment, the Grade II-listed, Belle Epoque building in historic Holborn, where the City meets the West End, quietly opened its doors last October. It has been steadily attracting the cognoscenti and winning kudos ever since, and by the time it hosts an official launch party next month, it will undoubtedly be the talk of the town.

What sets this opulent yet unflashy five-star hotel apart is the sense of home it conjures from the moment you enter via a grand carriageway complete with wrought-iron gates and find yourself in a tranquil cobbled courtyard. Apart from the relief of escaping noisy High Holborn, you can’t help but feel you have arrived at a private country manor house rather than a city hotel.
 

The philosophy behind Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is “A Sense of Place”, and Rosewood London, as the new flagship of the company, certainly reflects its location’s history, culture and sensibilities. Doormen wearing tweed jackets and flat caps (they don’t quite doff them!) greet you on arrival, and once inside, the ambience is a stylish blend of traditional and contemporary design with some suitably eccentric British touches. What you might initially mistake for piped music in the Lobby Lounge is, in fact, the tweeting of real life budgerigars in vintage birdcages. There are also life-size British bulldog replicas in strategic spots, and guests are invited to help themselves to bowls of sweets and fruit in the lift landings, all designed to make you feel right at home – albeit a palatial one!
 

Formerly the headquarters of Pearl Assurance, the building, which celebrates its centenary this year, has been painstakingly restored by a team of expert craftsmen - with such architectural gems as the grand Pavonazzo marble staircase rising up through all seven storeys of the hotel, returned to its full former glory.
 

There are 262 guestrooms and 44 suites, all created by top New York-based designer Tony Chi, known for his attention to detail and for his use of rich materials including lacquer, textured wood veneers and prismatic mirrors. He believes even an overnight guest should be able to establish a relationship with their room and he has certainly succeeded here. There is lots to delight the eye as well as scoring high in comfort and facilities. Guests can indulge their inner George Clooney operating a Nespresso coffee machine while sipping a complimentary sloe gin on the fine Italian bedding. The spacious bathrooms feature Italian marble, hand-beaten alpaca silver basins and bespoke toiletries by Czech & Speake. All suites offer butler service. The piece de resistance is the Grand Manor House, which can be booked out as an entire wing complete with its own street entrance and postcode. No wonder a well-known celebrity recently took it for two weeks…
 

The hotel is perfectly placed for sightseeing and shopping – lively Covent Garden is a few minutes away while nearby Lamb’s Conduit Street is a treasure trove of quirky designer shops. The Sir John Soane Museum is around the corner, and the Dickens Museum a brisk 10-minute walk away. The best bit about being a tourist is coming back to the cosy Martin Brudnizki-designed Scarfe’s Bar, so-called because the walls are adorned with murals by the cartoonist and illustrator. Relax in one of the velvet sofas and enjoy a delicious Murgh Makhani (butter chicken) by the vast open fireplace. Alternatively, there’s the distinctly British brasserie, Holborn Dining Room, which opens on 18 February and is hosting the official BAFTAs afterparty on Sunday 16 February. For afternoon tea, guests can adjorn to the Mirror Room in the heart of the hotel. Of course, the Rosewood wouldn’t be complete without its Sense spa, its award-winning, signature spa brand, due to open soon.

For more information, visit rosewoodhotels.com/London. For reservations, email london.reservations@rosewoodhotels.com or call +44 207 781 8888.
 

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