Prominently located overlooking Waterloo Bridge, One Aldwych is a grand five-star hotel that opts for restrained luxury and impeccable service over extravagant design and gimmicky details. Located in the triangular building that was once home to the Morning Post newspaper, the hotel’s clean design keeps the interior muted, yet refined, making it a super-attractive deluxe base close to Theatreland, Covent Garden and just across the river from the Southbank.
On one Saturday every November, a new Lord Mayor of London is sworn in, with the event celebrated with a huge firework display from a barge on the Thames. A minute from the hotel, Waterloo Bridge is the optimum position to see the show, should you be in town on the right weekend.
Starting with the well-placed wooden newspaper box that greets you outside the door, the rooms are all about comfort and convenience, utilising a pared back style with color blocked teals, greens and greys, supporting original artworks that hang in every room. Large flat screen TVs and Bang & Olufsen speakers provide the entertainment, and if you’re lucky—and can crane your neck far enough—even some standard rooms come with views across the Southbank rooftops.
YOU SHOULD KNOW In an area as central and busy as the Strand, double glazed windows just aren’t enough to keep out the noise—which is why One Aldwych employs triple-glazing for uninterrupted sweet dreams.
If you’re a believer in always judging a luxury hotel on its bathrooms, you’ll be converted by those at One Aldwych. Larger Deluxe rooms come with bathtub and separate walk-in shower, with enough space to go a level beyond singing in the shower and put on your own show in front of the oversized mirror. If you’re anything like us, that is.
Who could fail to enjoy entering a hotel whose check-in desk is the other side of a buzzing lobby bar, complete with original artworks, a soaring double height ceiling and a huge bronze sculpture of a man in a rowing boat?
Secluded in the basement, the rectangular ten-meter pool is serene enough even before you notice the whimsical underwater scenes projected onto the blank wall, which tend to make the whole room feel like it’s floating.
A range of treatments and therapies are available in the sumptuous spa area on the hotel’s lower ground.
The large gym has flat screen TVs accompanying the cardio machines, as well as a free weights area.
Guests with strict dietary requirements will be pleased that the on-site Indigo restaurant is entirely gluten and dairy-free, which is quite likely a first among luxury hotel restaurants in London. Serving a British menu based on the finest seasonal ingredients, it almost makes you forget about fine dining Basque restaurant Eneko next door—but don’t forget about it. While you have to exit the main entrance to reach Eneko’s basement restaurant, you’ll forgive that inconvenience the moment you taste their signature tempura. Creative and delicate, the flavors of the Basque delicacies are intense.
The Lobby Bar is very much a template of the best hotel lobby bars, its well-spaced tables offering privacy and intimacy, pianist providing some glitz and a menu of cocktails that works its own spin on the classics with some natty presentations.
Door staff hover at the hotel’s exit and such is the service that you won’t be able to leave without being offered a taxi, however, don’t take it (unless you really need it) because this is an area rife for walking. Everything that makes for an excellent London city break can be found within ten minutes of the hotel but for when you want to go further afield, use nearby Covent Garden Tube.
Looking for some bank-breaking fine dining a short walk from the hotel? Then look no further than L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (10-minute walk) where incredible French cuisine is served in a beautiful, moody restaurant space. For old school British dishes, nowhere beats Rules (4-minute walk) for history and charm.
Almost right outside the door of One Aldwych, Cellar Door (1-minute walk) is a fun place for drinks and cabaret in a place that once happened to be a public toilet. For a more intimate night in an equally eccentric space, go to Gordon’s Wine Bar (9-minute walk), an excellent bar hidden away within a beautiful vaulted cellar.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Embodying a very traditional British luxury hotel experience, One Aldwych delivers on service every time. It may not be the prettiest, the quirkiest or the most famous of London’s many five-star properties but its high standards and attention to detail are noticeable throughout. Plus, it has its own indoor pool.