The low-key luxury traveller.
The Bloomsbury Hotel is housed in an impressive Georgian building in the eponymous district once known as London’s literary hub. Charming and full of character, the hotel embraces this legacy in more than just its name – portraits of acclaimed poets decorate the walls and a specially commissioned booklet of poems appears in every room. Refurbished in 2017, the interiors are luxurious and cosy; a refined use of colour plays a key role in its distinctive design from The Coral Room which sports a bold coat of its namesake shade to the blush and mint velvet sofas in the Sitting Room, a lounge of sorts opposite reception. In addition to the Coral Room bar the hotel’s signature restaurant, Dalloway Terrace, is irresistibly photogenic to all who visit. Covered in themed blooms year-round (for practicality’s sake, the flora is of the faux variety), the open-air terrace features Parisian café chairs and marble-topped tables.
The property sits on the edge of Fitzrovia close to central London – an hour’s drive from Heathrow Airport and a three-minute walk from Tottenham Court Road tube stop – in a district known for its beautifully planned Regency buildings and squares. With through access to Bainbridge Street, the shops of Oxford Street are less than 5 minutes’ walk. In the other direction, it’s a short walk to the British Museum and Russell Square.
Intimate rather than grand, the quiet carpeted hallways of The Bloomsbury give way to Cosy, Classic and Deluxe rooms and two types of suites: Studio and Deluxe Studio. Cosy rooms, at 16sqm, are intended for the single traveller, while the larger Deluxe rooms are a roomier 28sqm with space for a generous work desk. The rooms are styled in a more subdued scheme of timber, navy, beige and black-and-white patterns; and while the 36 suites feature a just-as-understated colour palette, they’re richly decorated and feature parquetry, ikat-print curtains and upholstery in red leather and plush blue velvet.
Other perks include a welcome fruit basket, turndown service (chocolates included), Bluetooth speaker, a Dyson hairdryer and complimentary portable filter water bottles. All rooms have Italian marble bathrooms with heated floors, but suites take things up a notch with double vanities, a TV screen and both walk-in showers and freestanding bathtubs.
Food and drink
The Bloomsbury boasts more than one destination venue when it comes to hospitality. Start the day with brunch or end the day with an intimate dinner at Dalloway Terrace. This open-air restaurant is fully covered and heated during the winter so its elegant floral decorations can be enjoyed year-round. Breakfast offerings range from pastries and rainbow açai bowls to green shakshuka and the full-English, while dinner covers off classics such as Dover sole and beef fillet with Béarnaise and lighter fare such as cauliflower steak and a pea and asparagus risotto. Don’t skip dessert – the baked cheesecake, with its pretty plating and pink hibiscus meringue, tastes as good as it looks.
On the ground floor facing Great Russell Street, The Coral Room’s high-ceilings are painted top-to-bottom in a visual shock of glossy coral. A marble-topped bar, red-leather bar stools, brass finishes, intimate lounge settings, an impressive fireplace and dramatic lighting make this space ideal for a quiet traditional afternoon tea or lively pre- or post-dinner cocktails – ask to try some of the bar’s seasonal concoctions which are designed in line with the changing floral displays.
For business travellers
Two simple boardroom “suites” are available for business meetings and there are two grand conference venues within the building: the George V space on the ground floor and the light-filled Queen Mary Hall on the second floor. The Seamus Heaney Library (opened by the poet himself, a former resident, in 2011) is also a handsome space for meetings, featuring a large communal table and myriad books. Other facilities include a small business hub on the basement level, with two desktop computers and access to a scanner and printer.
For wellness travellers
At first, the basement level fitness centre (open 24 hours) seems oddly out of place but that’s only because it’s one of the few spaces in the hotel where the walls aren’t wallpaper-clad. The mirrored, well-lit room manages to accommodate treadmills, an elliptical machine, stationary bike, weights and weights equipment.
For runners, the hotel suggests the 2.5-kilometre Copper Route, which takes you past the British Museum and loops around Russell Square, or the eight-kilometre Green Route, which leads you north to Park Square and around The Regent’s Park.
The fab factor
A visit to The Bloomsbury Club Bar is a must during your stay. Occupying a den-like space and adjacent covered courtyard secreted behind a set of unremarkable doors on the lower-ground floor, the impressive interiors and the drinks take inspiration from the personalities and style of the jazz era. The atmosphere is cosy and welcoming, sporting rich timber panelling, brass finishes and green velvet seats inside and banquette seats and candles outside.
Expect late nights, live jazz on the weekends and a snazzy list of cocktails named after the members of the Bloomsbury Set laid out in a clever diagram to illustrate their tangled relationships. Unsurprisingly, gin is prevalent – the Virginia Woolf, with tart lemon and raspberry, is a definite crowd-pleaser.
Number of rooms: 117 rooms, 36 suites
Rates from: $607/night
Wi-fi: Fast, free wifi throughout
Parking: There is no valet- or self-parking available. The closest parking
garage is Quick Parking on Great Russell Street.
Address: 16-22 Great Russell Street, London, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 20 7347 1000
Image credit: James McDonald