The great hotels of London are steeped in history. They’re iconoclasts that have been around since Churchill would roam the streets, and have kept their luxury appeal with a timeless aesthetic that still reigns in the historic city. But what about newer breeds that are both inspired by the classics of the city and eager to become the new classics? At One Aldwych, just off The Strand near Covent Garden, the hotel takes up the best of both worlds with a building that reaches back into the neighborhood’s professional past as a former newspaper office, and blends that with a modern take that rivals any classic giant of the West End. Here, DuJour spoke to Janine Marshall, the general manager of One Aldwych, on her direction for the will-be classic.
What is your favorite room in the hotel?
Our deluxe rooms ending in the number 18. They have a really lovely corner seating area with a calm interior and big windows that provide unparalleled views of the Aldwych and the Novello Theatre.
What is the average size of the hotel’s guest rooms?
Our deluxe guest rooms’ size vary depending on the room category, from 23sqm to 34sqm and our suites from 42sqm up to 78sqm.
The hotel has a storied history in London, how does the current space reflect that?
Design studio Fabled has created an elegant aesthetic across the public spaces, inspired by the building itself. The art nouveau flourish of the fanlight over the front door was the inspiration for the new and strikingly beautiful black and white marble inlay floor in the lobby, which really embodies the essence of the original design. The fanlight’s design has also been carried through into the new wrought ironwork screens that help to partially screen off the Lobby Bar.
In 1907 One Aldwych was home to the Morning Post and a number of references to its heritage can be found around the hotel such as the wooden printing blocks in our guest lounge and our lobby bar tables with embossed etchings.
What about the hotel do you feel sets it apart from others in the London area?
One Aldwych redefined luxury with its contemporary approach when it opened in 1998 and we’ve done it again with last year’s extensive refurbishment featuring stunning new interiors by the renowned Robert Angell and Fabled Studio. While Mayfair and Park Lane are traditionally home to many of London’s five star hotels, we offer a different experience of London at One Aldwych and feel truly at home in vibrant Covent Garden.
The hotel is set in the heart of the theater district, what can the hotel offer guests in the location?
We are so fortunate to be immersed in arts and culture at One Aldwych, with some of London’s oldest theaters showing critically-acclaimed productions right on our doorstep. Our Covent Garden neighborhood now also has a place on the world stage as a top destination with some of London’s best restaurants, cafes and designer shopping. I’m always excited to see what will pop up next around the hotel.
Favorite cocktail at the Basque-inspired Eneko?
Since the beginning of January, the bar at Eneko has been transformed into a fabulous Garnish Garden, in partnership with Gin Mare. Our Beverage Manager Pedro Paulo has created a trio of single unit shot cocktails that our guests can personalize with fresh herbs plucked from our living wall, paired with a pintxo created by our chefs. It’s such a fun experience for a night out and my personal favorite is the Fresa Thyme Smash.
Favorite dish at the gluten-free Indigo restaurant?
Dining at Indigo is a real pleasure for me and Executive Chef Dominic Teague never fails to impress with his creative dishes. I’ve had many favorites over the years, but Indigo’s fish and chips with beer batter is a timeless classic–it’s hard to believe it’s both dairy–and gluten-free.
What’s your favorite thing to do during a break in the neighborhood?
As General Manager, it’s rare that I am able to take a break, but on the odd occasion that I do, I enjoy a short walk in Covent Garden.
What is the most requested room at the hotel and what makes it special/the most requested room?
Our beautiful Deluxe Rooms feature luxurious spaces with natural light and calm interiors. Complete with generous seating areas and stunning bathrooms with walk-in rainforest showers. Some of the bedrooms do feature bathtubs and double vanity as well.
What is the rate for this room?
Our prices for a Deluxe Room start from £500.00 up to £900.00 per night, inclusive of 20% VAT.
What is an interesting fact about the hotel?
One Aldwych is one of a handful of hotels in London that remains privately owned and with only three General Managers in its 21 years of operating. Historically, Winston Churchill worked for a very short time at The Morning Post, and in 1926 when he was chancellor of the Exchequer he became editor of the British Gazette. The paper was short-lived but during the nine-day general strike at that time it was printed on the press that was located where our swimming pool currently is.