The Arch Hotel in London: modern with a nod to the past


Tucked quietly away from the hubbub of central London, yet only a few hundred yards from Marble Arch, the joys of Oxford Street, Mayfair and Hyde Park, lies the Arch London Hotel.  This impeccable gem occupies what were seven Georgian town houses and two mews homes and completed a multi-million pound conversion in 2010. To enter this boutique hotel requires a step back outside for a second look at the façade to ensure that, yes, you really are entering what used to be a town home.  Such is the interior transformation.  Although a listed building that requires certain elements of the original to remain unaltered, the owners carefully worked around these restrictions to create a very modern hotel. Upon entering, three elegantly dressed, smiling and attentive staff bid you to sit down and relax as they whisk you through the check-in procedure in record time.  Always great start.  Behind them on the wall flashed video scenes of night time London, but with the images set at an angle.  This resulted in two or three people tilting their heads in order to take it all in.  A bit modern and quirky?  Yes!  But more than acceptable when accompanied by peace and efficiency.

Due to the layout of the Arch, particular attention was required as we were led to our room.  We snaked our way along hallways, down a flight of stairs and through a few of the dark-wood doorways that exactly resembled the many we passed en route.  And to a basement suite!  This somewhat surprised us, but our surprise soon turned to delight upon entering.  The door opened to a small, but well-appointed sitting area.  On the right were two doors, one at each end of the room.  The first led to the bedroom and the other to a compact, yet delightful and private, basement garden with bright natural light streaming in.  The outdoor furniture enabled us to sit in comfort and complete privacy while enjoying a morning cup of tea or an evening cocktail.  On the wall hung a very large and beautiful photograph of a forest.  This gave the feeling that we were looking through a window and added depth, tranquility and peace.  This scene also doubled as the view when in repose on the sumptuous bed.  It was very clever, yet simple design, allowing one to completely forget the basement setting .  The other side of the bedroom was the bathroom.  The use of mirrors and lighting made it appear even larger than it was.  Our eyes were immediately drawn to the large oblong shower head that hung above the glass stall.  Measuring approximately 9” X 18”, this stainless steel vessel of pleasure delivered water in three different ways in sufficient quantity that made it difficult to turn off and leave.  Add to that the cylindrical hand-held shower head that assisted in reaching parts of one’s body from very interesting angles, and you’ve reached shower nirvana.

In bygone days, most London hotels and clubs had sitting and reading rooms with bell-pulls for service.  Well, welcome back.  The lounging library, otherwise known as the Martini Library, complete with it’s first editions lining the walls, had thoughtfully placed around the room in strategic positions, silent bell pushes in order to unobtrusively summon service.  These worked beautifully.

The intimate dining room, Hunter 486, takes it’s title from the old London telephone exchange where all numbers began with a name.   With views to a traditional cobble-stoned mews below, the restaurant offers bespoke leather seating for the fortunate diners.  It even has two separate booths with curtain closures, useful should one want to be away from the public eye.  Being a modern hotel, the kitchen was open to view and inspection as the excellent food is prepared.

The Arch London Hotel, while modern in its approach, has thoughtfully tipped its hat towards aspects of the past that harken back to days of service and respect.  This they do with panache.  If you add to this the quiet and convenient location, then the Arch hotel becomes hard not to recommend and enjoy.

The Arch London Hotel , 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London, W1H 7FD,  Telephone:  207 724 4700,  http://www.thearchlondon.com

 

 

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