We were stared at for a good few minutes as we took pictures of the bar and lobby area, before a waitress came up and asked “are you alright madame?” Uh, yes, we replied. Then we saw her go over, mutter to a man in a suit, and he came over. “Is everything ok?” he said. Uh, yes, it’s fine, we said. Then he looked embarrassed and said “Actually, you’re not allowed to take photos in the hotel.” Oh, we said. Maybe someone should have told us five minutes ago when we started taking photos instead of just staring at us. He blushed. When we later asked our waitress why we couldn’t take photos, she had no idea.
We tell you this mainly because it sums up what we thought of the hotel. The building is 100 percent stunning - it was a sunny day when we went, and it looked all ethereal, reflecting the sky and the clouds above (see the photo gallery). And, inside, the pictures we’d already seen in no way did the public areas justice. The disco balls on the ceiling in the lobby and the entrance hall are magical, reflecting off the black tiling. The bar and lounge are gorgeous, flooded with natural light. The massive Union Jack bookcase, stocked with those sexy plates and David Gandy’s sexy torso, is a delight – just the kind of place we’d like to have tea. And the bar, too, is gorgeous, with floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views over Leicester Square and Wardour Street – although we were mainly too busy gawping at the fires burning in Perspex columns in the middle of the room, and squashing our buttocks on the cozy cushions.
Even the toilets have a fantastic, double-mirrored entry, that will prove problematic to anyone who’s imbibed more than a couple of cocktails.
But – there had to be a but, right? – we weren’t totally sold with the attitude of some of the staff. Check in, where we dumped a load of shopping and got a WiFi code – Jesus was a delight. The Australian lady in the shop, who dissected mascaras and vibrators with us (more on that another day) – we wanted her to be our BFF. The waitress we ended up with in the bar, a girl from Manchester who called us “love” – brilliant.
But the French girl we started off with, and a couple of the men, were a bit off. It was like they were trying to be cooler than thou, but a bit too English and restrained to carry it off – hence just looking at us like they wanted to stick an icepick in our back rather than just informing us straight out that we couldn’t take pictures. If you're trying to have a 'tude, you gotta work it, right?
Another thing we didn’t like – the entrance. When we went in, around 4pm, there was one guy in black jeans and t-shirt on the doorway - all good. When we came out, about 8pm, there were two men in black suits looking like bouncers, and a velvet rope – yes, a velvet rope – in front of the entrance. How offputting! How intimidating! It’s a hotel, not a club, FFS.
None of that really took away from the glorious building – and the nice staff were nice enough to ensure we’ll be back – but if we’d only landed the snooty ones, we might not be feeling the same.
Next time, we’re going on a mission to get into the rooms. Imagine if they looked better in person than on camera!
In the meantime, enjoy the pics we managed to snap before they plucked up the courage to tell us to stop.