Hotel Review: One Aldwych
Published: January 2007
Accommodation is often one of the priciest parts of any trip and sometimes you don’t get what you paid for; you’re promised character and get shoddiness or pay for intimacy and end up with small and pokey!
Gareth Davis revisits one of London’s most stylish addresses…
Hotels are like dogs; in one human year, they age seven. Catch them new, all sharp edges and bright, then revisit three years later when rampant old age has set in. Many is the stylish gaff at whose opening do I’ve toasted, only to return a few years later to find a scuffed old mare.
Don’t blame me therefore for approaching One Aldwych with trepidation. Eight years on from lift off and two previous visits, my last visit in 2001, this time round I expected the worst; London’s sleekest, chicest opening of its day, now wetting its own bedding. I needn’t have worried.
One Aldwych is as sharp and as gorgeously impressive as the day it opened. All tribute to what is obviously a fantastic maintenance team. The colours are vivid, (well, in that typically muted One kind of way); the atrium bright and airy, except on a Friday post work when the place is rammed; and the skirting boards are mercifully unscuffed.
For those who know, One Aldwych needs no introduction; for those who don’t, I’m afraid the few pitiful words I can coax out here will hardly suffice to initiate you into its pleasures. This is a hotel that’s won awards – lots. It’s been characterised as the best that London has to offer. In the farthest reaches of the globe there are those who dream of One Aldwych, even if they don’t know it.
It’s housed in a building dating back to 1907 in the heart of London’s Theatreland. From the outside the place squeals bank, inside however is a sleek, contoured, tactile world where service is king, the mood is muted (except for those Friday nights I mentioned) and elegance has been whittle into a fine crystalline thing of beauty.
There are no garish splashes of colour in this world of dusted creams, greys, plums, olives, and topes. Indeed, any interior decorator would label the palette as dated. But hell, so’s a Corinthian column. The coloured lights of the glass mirrored lifts and the swathe of inviting blue that characterises the subterranean swimming pool is as de trop as it gets.
Rooms are airy, ethereal yet utterly practical with all you could wish. Beds are hugely comfortable. There are two restaurants; Indigo a more casual affair overlooking the main atrium bar, and Axis, the main eatery of which I waxed lyrical back in October last year.
One of the big draws is the Health Club, which really knocks for six some of the other so called health venues I’ve seen at other central London five star venues. The afore mentioned pool is breathtaking but hear ye, hear ye, the big news is the club’s exclusive use within the UK of the Parisian men’s skincare range Le Roi Salomon. Employing the smells and sensual hinterland of Morocco to recreate that hammam mood, I’m hooked on the Facial Balm! There I’ve said it.
Leaving little more to say. Just take my word for it, that if you’re heading anywhere near Western Europe in the next few months, drop in on One Aldwych. You’ll see why the One is always an Ace.
For more info visit www.campbellgrayhotels.com
Hotel Review: One Aldwych
Gareth has been with TRAVEL CHANNEL since its launch in 1994. He has produced and presented on TRAVEL LIVE and THE TRAVEL BUG, produced ESSENTIAL... and reports on TRAVEL TODAY. He is a regular contributor to the website. In 2010 he produced the hit series THE HOLIDAY SHOW which he also co-presented with Ginny Buckley. Gareth’s passions are history, culture, food & drink.