London’s house of refined British luxury
High Holborn is one of London’s busiest thoroughfares, yet step through the wrought iron gates that front Rosewood London and you leave the noise and bustle of the city far behind. The magnificent Edwardian building that was built to house the Pearl Assurance Company back in 1914 and it’s hard not to envy the employees that got to work in such illustrious surroundings.
The structure has been a hotel since 2000 but underwent a major refurbishment in 2013, when it became a Rosewood hotel. From the unique seven-storey marble staircase (which has an estimated value of $65 million) to the natty Nicholas Oakwell-designed uniforms worn by the staff, the Rosewood oozes Old World sophistication and class.
Rosewood London’s 262 rooms and 44 suites are stylishly filled with lacquered surfaces, prismatic mirrors and Italian marble bathrooms, yet still maintain a warm, home-away-from-home feel due to the thoughtfully chosen books, photographs and objets d’art. Some of the executive rooms have impressively high ceilings — ask for one when you book or opt for a unique multi-level suite. The luxury hotel has the only suite in the world with its own postal code — the six-bedroom Grand Manor House Wing boasts its own private entrance with dedicated doorman, private elevator and personalized stationery.
The Food and Drink
Although the London hotel is well located for visiting the bars and restaurants of Covent Garden, its own drinking and dining options are very much a destination in their own right. The Holborn Dining Room occupies the former East Banking Hall of Pearl Assurance and stands out with double-height ceilings, rare green marble columns and striking red leather banquettes. Flashes of Britishness inform the décor (check out the tweed detailing on the upholstery) as much as they do the menu, with potted shrimps vying for attention alongside devilled lamb’s kidneys. The Dining Room serves all day, as does the jewel box Mirror Room, where you can also partake of traditional afternoon tea.
Scarfes Bar is a far more informal affair, done up like a snug living room complete with more than 1,000 hand-picked antique books, an open fire and a bevy of comfortable cushions. Named for the British artist and cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, the bar’s walls are lined with spirited illustrations that provide an appropriate backdrop to the other artistic pursuits that go on there. With live jazz six nights a week and cabaret on Sunday evenings, Scarfes is the sort of place you drop into for a quick drink and stay all night. Fortunately, the snack menu (think triple-cooked French fries, mini crab cakes and baked cheesecake) is available until late at night.
Bamboo walls and wooden walkways that hover above gently flowing waterways give the Rosewood’s Sense Spa a peaceful Eastern-influenced vibe. A couples’ room and a children’s menu ensure that all types of guests can be catered to, from teens suffering from acne-prone skin to newlyweds seeking a romantic double massage. Children have been considered elsewhere at the luxury hotel, too — it’s a simple task to book a wireless baby monitor or have a room baby-proofed before arrival. Guests in London for work will be grateful for the well-equipped business center, with its Macs and PCs, onsite binding, printing and lamination and administrative services.