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Inside The Dean Street Townhouse, The Newest Soho House Hotel

Where: 69-71 Dean Street, London, United Kingdom, W1D 3SE
February 1, 2010 at 3:55 PM | by | ()

The moment that we read that the chic members-only Soho House group was opening a new hotel in London with room rates starting at 90 GBP ($143), we hustled over to their website and booked a 95 GBP ($151) run-of-house special rate, which pretty much left room choice up to the front desk. However, we did check the availability calendar again on their site a few days before arriving, and our Saturday night was indeed sold out. Thus, we're pretty sure we slept in their infamously named "Broom Cupboard" room.

The hotel, a fresh 39-room townhouse in the heart of London's Soho, is appropriately named the Dean Street Townhouse, and it delights in homey chintz and handing guests heavy-keychained door keys, just like in the olden days before programmable key cards.

After the jump, the full review of our stay in a "broom cupboard"

We arrived around 5pm after a long train trip, and entered Dean Street Townhouse, but not before noting its near lack of signage. There's a few very small signs outside, but throughout our stay—thanks to the fresh, appealing look of the buildings on the street—we'd notice passersby breaking their conversations to look over at the hotel and search for a name.

So anyways, we walked into a small reception area, with a small fireplace and chairs to the right and a long bookcase (with hidden door!) running along the left wall. The front desk divides the entrance from what is like a secondary guest lounge, with DVDs and books to borrow and coffee machine, before heading back to the rooms.

Thankfully we weren't treated any differently (with our cheapy room) by the front desk staff, and they talked up the neighboring restaurant (the hotel's own) and their night policy instead—the night policy being that you have a card to show the doormen to enter after midnight, as they lock the doors.

Room Reaction:
We were led back through a dimly hit hallway and up two flights in a small stairway before arriving at our broom cupboard: room 28, tucked away in the back of the building and just off a tiny stairwell landing. Thank god we had little luggage, because there wasn't hardly enough room for all three of us to stand in the room together and maintain respectable personal space, as the receptionist explained the Bose iPod dock, the television and the minibar.

So there's the aforementioned Bose iPod dock and flatscreen (built into the wall) TV and the minibar, but what's important to realize is that the bottles of water and the single milk in the fridge are complimentary, as is use of the beautiful silver tea set and the 4 tea cookies that accompany it. We ended up making tea and coffee with it every available moment—it ended up being a huge bonus for this small room, to have so many thoughtful touches as such. We also found a Roberts radio, which was on and tuned to classical music when we arrived (as you can hear in the video above), two cloud-like Soho House robes, a healthy selection of magazines, and a ridiculously large variety of toiletries.

Of the toiletries, you couldn't take the huge Cowshed Spa bottles (among them, four different kinds of body wash!) home without paying for them, but this was made up for with a selection of little unexpected niceties on the back of the toilet, including toothbrushes and toothpaste, a comb, ear plugs, a tampon, mouthwash, and some small Cowshed items like face cleansers, moisturizers and toner for men and women.

If only we weren't so tired after the traveling of the day, we would have taken advantage of the Dean Street's offer to their guests to attempt to get them access to the swingin' celeb-studded, members-only bar scene at the Soho House a few blocks over. Be sure to call up the concierge about that—why the hell not?

Internet Connect:
Hallelujah, Dean Street Townhouse had free WiFi throughout the hotel and restaurant for guests, accessible via a password given to you at check-in and listed in the hotel's guest services book. Even though we were tucked underneath the stairs in the back of the place, the signal was strong enough for us to surf as usual and attempt to wrestle away Foursquare mayorship of the hotel from someone else, but sadly we failed at that.

What We Liked:
You might be expecting us to say that we hated the small size of the room, but actually it was a major bonus! Being tucked away as we were from the bustle of nightlife on Dean Street meant a quiet sleep and the cozy feeling of being swaddled. The bed was unbelievably comfortable, and the TV was perfectly positioned for bingeing on UK programming (who's down for another episode of Wipeout?!).

As we already said, the tea set and extra toiletries pacified our desire for free extras, and the small guest lounge behind reception is a warm, private space to get away from your small room, in case you're not down for being swaddled.

What We Didn't Like:
Well, we'd love love love to come back again and make the Dean Street Townhouse our de facto London HQ if only they kept the 95 GBP run-of-house special going. It seems to have disappeared from their website completely, and now we're looking at Broom Cupboard room rates of—brace yourself—160 GBP ($255) during the summer. Not cool! We also didn't like the loose sink faucet in our bathroom, the room's one very tiny waste basket, and the ruckus that inundated you when you step outside at night on Dean Street. It's a great location, sure, but it's still a shady area in places—the corner of the street boasted a store with "live sex shows." Hmmm, but then that's Soho for ya.

Bottom Line:
Above all, the Dean Street Townhouse is an excellent value if you can score the lower rates. While it's currently London's hippest, newest hotel, you should take advantage of it. But we're not too sure how it'll fare in say...5 years. And do keep in mind that when you're booking a cheap rate, it'll most likely be for a Broom Cupboard, which is not the most ideal hotel room for a stay of over two nights.

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