Photos courtesy of One Aldwych
As one of the most visited cities in the world, London has a formidable luxury hotel scene, and competition is fierce – take your pick from iconic haunts to historical lodgings – so deciding where to sleep can seem like a challenge. But housed in an ornate landmark building that once served as the HQ of the Morning Post newspaper, for somewhere conservative yet stylish, look no further than Grande Dame One Aldwych in the West End.
Protected by English Heritage as one of the most important Edwardian buildings in London and owned by the same family since 1998, the hotel underwent a total renovation in 2020 which encompassed a refresh of its public spaces by Fabled Studio and created a new-look Lobby Bar and Indigo restaurant. Guest rooms and suites were reimagined by renowned British designer Robert Angell – the creative genius behind impeccable interiors in some of the world’s most prestigious hotels and restaurants – making it the chicest five-star stay in the heart of theatreland.
Location, Location, Location
Despite its elegant façade facing a major thoroughfare, the Strand, thanks to triple-glazed windows, One Aldwych provides peace and tranquility in one of the world’s busiest cities. Equally popular with well-heeled staycationers as it is business travelers, the convenient Covent Garden location lends itself wonderfully to seeing and doing. There is plenty within walking distance: shops, pubs, and restaurants, of course, but also must-visits like the National Portrait Gallery (recently reopened after a three-year closure and £35 million redevelopment) and The British Museum. For plays and musicals, lauded venues like the Lyceum Theatre (home of Disney’s The Lion King) and the Royal Opera House are minutes away on foot.
The Lobby Bar and a Partnership with Cornish Purveyors
Set beneath Boatman with Oars by London sculptor André Wallace, The Lobby Bar is an equally welcoming space to enjoy morning coffee as an evening cocktail. With its expertly fashioned modern but ornate décor by Fabel Designs and dramatic floral arrangements by One Aldwych’s in-house florist Mark Siredzuk, there’s perhaps nowhere better to enjoy a martini or glass of Champagne before heading upstairs for dinner at signature restaurant Indigo. Helmed by head chef Dominic Teague the menu is a showcase for the best of British ingredients thanks to his dedication to forming a network of trusted independent producers who support his commitment to seasonal and sustainable cooking.
Recently, Chef looked to England’s rural southwest county of Cornwall for a special tasting menu featuring the finest from land and sea across its seven courses: monkfish from Flying Fish Seafoods and mussels from Westcountry Mussels of Fowey, free range eggs from St Ewe and a Cornish wine flight from Trevibban Mill Cornish Vineyard & Orchards. Another special mention? Even the regular menu is entirely dairy– and gluten-free.
And while Indigo is considered a neighborhood gem, another culinary draw here – especially for those traveling with children – is its eccentric Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea. Come prepared to feast on tasty savories like Coronation chicken sandwiches, sugar-laden “scrumptious sweets,” assorted tea blends, and fizzy drinks.
Stylish Rooms by a Prominent British Designer
Considered ambitious in its day, the architecture of One Aldwych is a seamless blend of Edwardian grandeur and Parisian elegance, something designer Robert Angell kept in mind when reimagining the 105 guest rooms and suites. Thanks to its configuration, each is slightly different throughout the building, but several design elements remain constant: sharp, classic luxury styling in a sophisticated palette of pastel tones. Angell’s approach also reflected a sense of Britishness, which he does with aplomb through bespoke furnishings and lighting fixtures created by British manufacturers.
And there are amenities aplenty – Bang and Olufsen speakers, Dyson hairdryers, a spacious dressing room with a well-lit makeup mirror, and smart TVs in both the bedrooms and bathrooms. The latter are stocked with extra fluffy robes and towels and rain showers big enough for two. Each room also has a cubby-hole connected to the outside for picking up room service or a newspaper without the need to get dressed. How thoughtful.
Special Partnerships & the Curator Program
Facilities at One Aldwych might be second to none, but it’s sometimes the little things that make the loveliest touches and partnerships with makers across the British Isles provide a genuine sense of place: from bespoke blankets foot-pedal spun at Skye Weavers in Scotland to the Rolls-Royce of fine fragrance and body products, Mitchell & Peach who supply the hotel – the only one in London – with generously-sized soap and bath amenities blended with essential oils (lavender, rose, larkspur) from their 100-year old estate in the Kent countryside. But anyone keen to explore London like a local and experience something different and exclusive – perhaps a personally guided historic walking tour or a behind-the-scenes theatre break Director’s Forum – should enquire about the Curator Program.
An Environmentally Friendly Hotel with Stellar Amenities
Since its inception in 1998 – long before sustainability became a travel buzzword – One Aldwych was dedicated to creating an eco-friendly environment for its staff and guests. A member of the B-Corp Considerate Group, the hotel champions several energy-saving features, including an on-site bottling plant to eliminate single-use bottles and reduce carbon emissions and composting food waste on a farm in Kent where vegetables are grown and used in the restaurant. In another lovely full circle moment, rooftop beehives and a bee-friendly garden (planted with hebes, heleniums, and honeysuckles, among other flowers) help support the health of native urban bees (and heroes of our planet) with the resulting delicious honey often used across dishes at Indigo or drinks in The Lobby Bar.
Underground pools are a thing in London, and at One Aldwych, guests can swim laps in one that measures 18 meters and is gloriously chlorine-free (there is underwater music too). Should the mood strike, they can also work out with a personal trainer (scheduled in advance) in the sizeable 24-hour gym, which comes equipped with coveted modern equipment like Peloton bikes. There is a spa too, and a small but intentional array of treatments (massages, facials, and body rituals) using Spanish skincare brand Natura Bissé and British brand OSKIA. Art is integral to the hotel, and its walls are adorned with original works by various contemporary British artists.
Visit onealdwych.com for more information.