THE HOTEL: The Rosewood London opened last autumn and is the luxury hotel group's first property in Europe. Once the headquarters of the Pearl Assurance Company, an £85million renovation has transformed it into a stylish hotel with 262 guestrooms and 44 suites in a good location on High Holborn.
THE CHECK-IN: The hotel entrance is through a large archway and across an impressive courtyard. I was greeted by a friendly doorman dressed in tweed and flat cap, before passing through a 'bronze entrance gallery' into the lobby, where I was quickly checked in by a member of staff.
THE ROOM: The suite I was allocated was enormous. A living area housed a sofa, table and chairs, huge wall-mounted TV and the largest hotel 'mini' bar I've seen, with a large selection of soft drinks, snacks and craft beers, plus a coffee machine and decanters of complimentary spirits. There was a gleaming, marble bathroom with walk-in shower, bath tub (and TV screen), beautiful beaten-copper basins and Czech & Speake toiletries, plus a large dressing area. The bedroom itself was less showy, featuring a king-size bed, wallmounted TV, easy chair, bedside tables, MP3 dock and a not-very-well-thumbed copy of Sartre's Being and Nothingness.
THE FACILITIES: With its large fireplace, lounge chairs, book cases and low-lighting, Scarfes Bar was a real highlight. A faint aroma of exotic spices was the tell-tale sign of its trademark curry menu. There's also the Mirror Room for dining and afternoon tea, and the Holborn Dining Room (which opened in February) serves a contemporary British menu. There's also a spa and fitness centre.
THE BUSINESS: There's a range of meeting rooms, including boardrooms and private dining rooms, plus the striking Grand Ballroom for up to 430 theatre-style. The DDR is from around £110 (negotiable) and there's free wifi access throughout the hotel.
THE VERDICT: This is an excellent addition to London's luxury hotel line-up, with great service that steers well clear of stuffy. Every hallway, staircase and public space is there to be admired, and guestrooms are classy, comfortable and well appointed.
THE DETAILS: Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EN. Rates (including VAT) start from £370 per night for a deluxe room. See: www.rosewoodhotels.com/london.
Reviewed by Andy Hoskins (2014)