My boyfriend loves this hotel. For him it ticks all the right boxes: impeccable and personal service, great in-room gadgets and what he coins a ‘Boss Breakfast’. For me it is the fancy touches like serene music played in the pool and a TV I can watch from the bath, plus the hotels location on the corner of London’s Covent Garden, that make me smile. Rarely do we find a place that makes us both this happy.
The check-in desk at One Aldwych is hidden from the hotel’s main entrance. Instead courteous doormen take our details and lead us around to the desk, where they fill the staff in on who we are. We pass through the hotel’s lofty lobby bar with its extraordinary high seat backs and an exceedingly tall gingerbread man Christmas tree. Safely checked in we swiftly return to the lobby, which is buzzing with a smartly dressed crowd, and peruse their impressively long, winter themed cocktail menu. Yet again we are delighted with the personal service as we are guided to a specially reserved table and supplied with olives and nuts whilst our drinks are made up.
One level below the lobby is the hotel Health Club. There is an ample size gym here that the male business guests seemed to be making good use of; I was here for the Spa though. After completing a short questionnaire on what I was looking to get out of the treatment and any specific areas I would like the therapist to focus on, I was handed a huge towelling robe and slippers and led to the changing area. The changing room leads straight onto that serene musical pool I mentioned earlier and in the late afternoon I had it all to myself.
For even more indulgence I had chosen to try a Hot Volcanic Stone treatment (click here to search for spa and hotel breaks in the UK). This was my first hot stone treatment and I had no idea what to expect, any notion I had of what it involved turned out to be completely wrong! The hot stones are used as part of the massage to work out knots and ease tension. I had highlighted on my form that my neck and shoulders were an area of tension for me so most of my treatment was focused on this accordingly. The only time a hot stone was simply placed on my body (which I thought the whole treatment would be like) was when I was lying face up and the therapist placed one on my belly; it kept me warm for the rest of the massage.
Back in the room I had decided the best way to wash off the massage oil was by taking a deep relaxing bath. A copy of Conde Nast Traveller had been supplied by the hotel so I flicked through the latest travel articles with the TV providing background music. After a morning of last minute Christmas shopping and visa collecting I could think of no better way to unwind.
Axis is the hotels on site restaurant. The main entrance for the public is on the Strand but hotel guests can take the lift down to L2 and walk across without having to leave the building. Popular for pre or post theatre meals and private business events I wasn’t sure what to expect from this restaurant. Superb service reined again, however, with the restaurant manager recommending wine according to our food orders. Although choosing different starters both my boyfriend and I couldn’t resist the ordering the lamb for main course. This turned out to be a good decision, 3 different cuts were cooked to perfection and served with a potato terrine with a hint of lavender. Yum. For dessert we went our separate ways again – I choose the Cherry Bakewell which was presented in an artful explosion. The boy chose a Blackberry soufflé, which the waiter carefully filled with sauce at the table. We fought over whose was best and the argument remains unresolved!
When we had initially checked into the room we had been pleased with the modern décor, views of the Strand and that indulgent bathtub with TV mentioned earlier, but it was nothing exceptional. Until Housekeeping arrived for the evening service. When we returned to our room after dinner it elicited little sighs of content from both of us. Housekeeping had not only rearranged our things (which we had left as if a tornado had swept through the room) but the lights had been dimmed, curtains drawn, complimentary water left on the bedside table and clean slippers at the foot of the bed. In the bathroom the towel rail was heating up, toiletries had been replenished and, for the first time I have ever seen in a hotel, they had provided us with a zip lock clear plastic bag in case we were flying and needed something to pack our liquids in. There were notes left on the desk with suggestions of things to do in London and when we got into bed we discovered plug sockets in an appropriate position for charging our phones. We praised the hotel out loud on that feat before falling into the indulgently large pillows.
The ‘Boss Breakfast’ is served on the mezzanine level overlooking the lobby and is chosen from a menu as opposed to a buffet bar. It is kindly served until 11am but, if even that is too early for you, guests may order a continental breakfast in the private lounge until 11.30. The private guest lounge is so private I almost didn’t find it during my stay! The entrance to this hidden area is directly behind the hotel’s main entrance. A new concept that has only been open 3 months, it allows the guests to relax, read and have private meetings away from the hustle and bustle of the popular lobby bar area. Guest’s room keys will automatically gain them access, as long as you know where to find it!
When faced with a city like London that is full of 5 star leading hotels hotels how do you choose one over the other? For me the answer is always service. Do staff go the extra mile to make your stay comfortable without being overly courteous? Do they know who you are and greet you personally? Do they ask after your well being and mean it? At One Aldwych they do. Add into that equation the spa, bath, breakfast and location and you have a place that both my boyfriend and me will be recommending to visitors from now on.
Thanks to One Aldwych for inviting me to stay. All words, thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own, unless they are my boyfriends, in which case they belong to him! For more information on rates and availability please visit the One Aldwych website. For spa packages at the Health Club at One Aldwych plus more suggestions for London spa days check out Wahanda.com.