No, this isn’t the first time I have visited one of my favourite hotels, but it was the first time I had spent the night. So, how can it be one of this writer’s favourites?
I have visited One Aldwych on numerous occasions. I’ve covered Dinner and a Movie, Indigo Restaurant for Brunch, the superb Basque restaurant, Eneko, and the equally delightful Lobby Bar (read my reviews here). I have held business meetings in that ground floor space which also serves coffee during the day and is ideal for an hour or so of quiet conversation.
But tonight, we were not rushing off after dinner. No need to dash for the Underground after that last Mint Julep. We had our room. One Aldwych is contemporary but absolutely practical and thoughtful. There is a private lounge for guests and that is rare to find. It offers tranquillity and rather good coffee. The well-appointed Gym and the 18-metre swimming pool are also great assets in this city of plush hotels, many of which don’t have such grand sporting facilities. These elevate One Aldwych into something of a mini resort.
A bath just a little shorter than the pool
But the rooms are the most important element of any stay. Yes, that pool is magnificent, but one doesn’t expect to sleep on a sun bed. Our 6th floor room had views across to the nearby theatre. The bathroom offered a bath that seemed only a little shorter than the aforementioned pool; and it had a separate generous shower. The bed was King-sized with large and cloud-like pillows and snowy bed linen.
One Aldwych rooms have all the immediate comfort and aesthetic impact for which one could hope, but there was more that a casual glance might not reveal: practicality! This might sound a notion that is so obvious that it’s not worth mentioning, but take it from this seasoned traveller, it’s the most important factor after a clean room and bed.
Restores my faith in common sense
I have stayed in hotels that have stunning rooms which are bursting with high-tech Tchotchkes, screens and touch-sensitive something-or-others. I have also spent half the night figuring out how to turn off the shower and turn down the air conditioning. I’ve even had trips where colleagues have resorted to removing light bulbs after fruitless searches for a switch.
My room had banks of plug sockets just where they were needed, by the bed, and there was a plug adapter for those travelling from other countries. The controls for the air conditioning were simple to understand and adjust. There were reading lights rather than lamps which illuminated only the top of the bedside table. One Aldwych puts its guests first and restores my faith in common sense. A stay in a beautiful room here is comforting rather than challenging. It offers every amenity but allows those technological supports to be easily accessible whether guests come from far-flung corners of the globe or just from Twickenham. Rooms here give the impression of having been designed by someone who actually uses hotels. Other hotels, please take note that rooms should not be playgrounds for technology geeks, but rather havens of cosy contentment for world-weary guests.
Breakfast awaited in Indigo
We slept well thanks to curtains that restricted the early summer dawn from penetrating our One Aldwych idyll. But breakfast awaited in Indigo, and we had a table on the balcony overlooking the Lobby Bar, quiet at this time of the morning.
Service was professional and friendly and fast. We ordered tea and nibbled freshly baked Danish pastries and perused the menu. This was full of traditional favourites done very well. My guest ordered Eggs Benedict, and this was a classic presentation. The toast kept coming, as did the tea and juice – and that was just as well as my plate of cold meats and cheese and a couple of eggs was copious, the over-easy eggs being perfectly fried.
One Aldwych doesn’t offer novelty. One Aldwych isn’t edgy with black walls and fur-covered wardrobes. One Aldwych doesn’t overlook Buckingham Palace. It is, however, one of the most comfortable hotels in London, with a private lounge for guests and that, for me, is a real bonus. The rooms offer everything a visitor needs and in fine fashion. Its position allows for easy access to everything from leisure and entertainment to business events. One Aldwych was a favourite hotel before my stay, and this visit has confirmed it. One Aldwych has raised the bar.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7300 1000