Traveling to London for work, I’ve stayed in a variety of hotels throughout the city over the years, it wasn’t until I discovered the Firmdale chain of boutique hotels owned by the UK designer Kit Kemp that I found my home away from home, albeit a much more stylish, luxurious and colorful home than my own home (how I wish Kit would visit Philly to help me recreate my favorite hotel room here at home!). While I am dating the world of hotels, The Charlotte Street Hotel in London has my heart. So much so, that I’ve given up loyalty points over the years staying here on both an expense account and with my own money. With only 52 bedrooms and suites, each decorated differently, you are guaranteed to have a unique experience each time.
It was after my first stay at The Soho Hotel, a Firmdale property that I avowed myself of ever earning hotel loyalty points in London again. For a points person, forgoing thousands of points with each stay is a big deal but I feel that it has been worth it.
Charlotte Street Hotel Location
The hotel is located on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia surrounded by media ventures and a stone’s throw from Soho and the film studio offices. While Oxford Street is teeming with people, the hotel just three blocks away feels like it’s a world away from the chaos. Funny how just a few blocks can alter your mood and perspective. You feel like you are in a quaint neighborhood full of chain restaurants (Cote, Bryon Burger, Pizza Express, Gaucho), pubs at every corner as well as bespoke restaurant options like the trendy Bubble Dogs (fancy hot dogs and champagne). The British Museum is a quick ten minute walk. Nearest tube stop is Tottenham Court Road which will become a stop on the CrossRail service in 2018.
You are greeted upon entry to the hotel by the dog – he’s quite adorable.
With leather seating and a fireplace, the hotel welcomes you and provides two separate lounge areas to relax and entertain. Filled with comfortable sofas, chairs and ottomans as well as a loyalty bar that you sign to your room, the areas are meant to be used as if you were at home (they were always full when I looked in). I’d happily entertain here – come visit me next time for a glass of champers!
I reserved a room for Saturday night (on my expense account visit) knowing that I was arriving quite early (6:30 am flight) on Sunday and the rooms are not ready until at least 3pm, I didn’t want to wait 8 hours in the lobby after not having slept on the plane -it was a friendly, quick check-in as I think I was the only room key left to be claimed as it was a full house.
My Charlotte Street Hotel Room
The bellman escorted me to my room with my bags and made sure to show me all the room features which is a nice touch. He asked if I wanted tea or anything delivered to the room this early as he would arrange it, I declined, saying that I was going to go to sleep for a while. In the past when I arrived early with a friend who said “YES to coffee” it arrived within 15 minutes – they are all about service at the hotel.
My room would face Charlotte Street which concerned me a bit especially if there were loud people at the pub but it wasn’t an issue at all during my stay. I would have a King bed as well as a sitting area and desk in the room.
The bathroom decor is the same at both properties I’ve stayed at. My room had a separate shower (most of my rooms have had the tub/shower combo) and interestingly a very low single sink (or I’m very tall!) which is odd as there are generally double sinks. Either way, it is a comfortable space with heated towel rack and wonderful toiletries by Miller Harris that I was taking every day because I do love to open the shampoo up at home and be transported back to my London hotel room.
Charlotte Street Hotel Room Amenities
There is an ample double door closet with full size umbrella to use, a separate cabinet with shelving that has the accessories below and my personal favorites – the extensive and tempting minibar and slippers. Turndown service each night draws the curtains, lowers the lights and leaves a bottle of water bedside along with an aroma therapy sleep spray in lavender.
My room welcome consisted of a handwritten note from the hotel manager, a concierge note and a small gift. The gifts vary depending on the hotel and number of stays. For this visit, my adorable box contained nail polish from Temple Spa. It was perfect! I brought my own polish but felt the universe wanted me to wear purple. Every single lady at the office commented on my nail varnish and when I said “the hotel gave it to me” they were shocked. My past amenities have varied – I had to (sadly) return the full sized lotions and spa products when traveling carry on only.
Oscar Bar & Restaurant (Room Service)
The restaurant onsite is called Oscar Bar & Restaurant and is crowded at pretty much all times of the day & night. It is, like the rest of the hotel full of colorful murals and furniture. I was part of the sparse early morning breakfast crew, there were four of us before 8am each day (best time to get photos!). As my room rate included breakfast, I ate at the restaurant each morning. The staff was friendly and the food prepared quickly.
I would have drinks in the bar with a friend one night, the drinks menu is quite interesting with so many fancy mixed drinks as well as a good selection of wine and champagne by the glass.
One night after a long day at work, I was too exhausted to go out to dinner or even drag myself to the bar so I ordered room service, a simple toasted sandwich with fries was so tasty. I love that the room service trays come with a small plant to keep in the room if you want. Service was quick for both delivery and tray pick-up. They are also easy to work with special requests.
Charlotte Street Hotel – Sunday Film Club
The Charlotte Street Hotel has a screening room in the basement that is quite plush. They screen new releases each week and the Sunday Film Club, as it is called, includes a meal, drink and movie. The film is complimentary for guests if there is a seat available, just inquire at the front desk. I was able to enjoy this awesome hotel perk during my stay – read my separate post “About Time” -An Awesome Hotel Amenity in London
I contacted the concierge prior to my stay for restaurant recommendations for a solo diner as well as local yoga/pilates studios (I alway think I will work out but I don’t – I don’t even use the very nicely equipped gym in the basement!). The concierge had left a personal note in my room when I arrived and the team is available 24/7 at the front desk (which in of itself is a great service). While onsite, I also inquired about a pub option and well, we know how that turned out in this post. The team is very good and offer a great service and recommendations.
The Charlotte Street Hotel – Final Thoughts
What started out as a business hotel stay has morphed into a personal favorite. Now I will admit that it is much easier to stay when you are on an expense account with rates starting at $400+ a night, however, I have also stayed here with my own money a few times (I just hand over my credit card- I know it is expensive, it makes me happy).
Despite the name “hotel”, it feels more like a second home for me when I visit London. The warm and attentive service, stylish decor and great location makes this definitely a hotel worth forgoing all of those points. I’m quite loyal to love over points especially at The Charlotte Street Hotel in London.
Update: The Charlotte Street Hotel underwent a fashion makeover in 2014 so the above “Orange” color palette has changed to “Hues of Blue” and the toiletries are now Kit Kemp’s Cowshed brand.