It has taken me years of trial and error to fall in love with my London hotels and to reconcile the fact that I am forgoing thousands of points as I shun the US Chain hotels. Finding a level of comfort in the small hotels and their neighborhoods has made my business trips to London less stressful as I know what to expect and where to go. I was sure if I was ready to cheat on my love, The Charlotte Street, with a new hotel and neighborhood but when The Rosewood London arrived in October 2013, temptation called. I did a site visit with our corporate travel agent when the hotel opened and I fell immediate in lust (with 306 rooms, it felt like a small boutique hotel or private residence, which was surprising) and it was only a matter of time before I was lured to the luxury property in Holborn.
The Rosewood Hotel Location
Holborn, steps away from the Central Line Tube, steps away from the City of London. The area is quiet at night on the main street (High Holborn) after the city workers have gone home but you can walk around the corner to many restaurants (I like Bills’ Restaurant, one of many in the city), cafes, and takeaway options. Covent Garden, Soho, the British Museum and theatres are a 5-15 minute walk.
Posh Arrival at The Rosewood London
Early Sunday morning, the streets were empty as my cab turned into the driveway of the hotel. Its a tight fit as we approached the gates which were manned by fancy dressed bell staff. The gate was opened giving me the first glimpse of the courtyard, it was a special feeling as I entered this different world – the Edwardian courtyard will do that (If this were a movie, its the fish out of water scene when the cab arrives at the mansion, castle or other and the wide eyed girl tries to act as if this is normal – I was able to be normal this time as it was my second arrival). I was welcomed to The Rosewood Hotel and escorted inside to check in.
The Rosewood London Grand Entrance
You can’t help but be impressed when you first arrive in the courtyard, then you enter the lobby and are a bit unsure what to take in first – the rose bronze hallway you’ve passed, the sumptuous lobby seating spaces or the impressive art in the center. On the right side of the lobby is the concierge desk, on the left, the front desk.
Check In – Special Touches
It was 8 am on Sunday, hours before the normal 3 pm check-in. I was lucky to arrange for an early check in (I can arrange or you can book yourself with Virtuoso VIP perks). Check In was easy and the front desk agent escorted me to my room. We passed the lobby lovebirds (too early for amorous guests, but actual birds) as we entered the elevator that was carpeted and lined with what looked like leather – I couldn’t help but touch the walls to feel the texture (yes, I’m weird that way, but it really invites you too).
We exited onto my floor and I was shown the common desk which had the book for room directions, newspapers to take and fruit or candy to enjoy. Making a right then a left then a long walk down the hall we came to my room which was opened with the small keycards being held over the reader. Having a guide to find my room was super helpful as I hadn’t slept on the overnight flight (I never do) and the hallways are a bit of a maze with muted lighting (a stark contrast to any hotel with the standard beige hallway of blah).
The Executive Room at The Rosewood London
Upon entry to my Executive Room, I tried to hide my “Wow, this is an awesome room, with high ceilings and space (355 sq ft)”. I was shown the room features (coffee kiosk, adapters, books, minibar, safe in drawer, bottled tap water provided, Ipod docking stations, etc.) before she left and the bellman arrived with my luggage. While I wanted to fall into bed asap (it was 3am at home so basically a very late night), I did explore the room quickly before shutting the drapes and crawling into bed, quickly falling asleep. The color patterns of cream, brown and leather were quite modern chic.
The Bathroom at The Rosewood London
Unlike any bathroom I’ve seen before, this contemporary luxury was filled with glass, wood and a touch of silver. With so much glass, it was hard to get a good shower/tub photo.
Toiletries provided in their own case (Czeche & Speake lavender, which is not my favorite scent, was later swapped out for Gilchrist & Soames on the mere mention to the concierge when booking my spa treatment) and there is a deep drawer to store your personal toiletries. In addition to robes, slippers are also provided in room.
FAA plastic bag provided was a nice surprise.
Restaurants at The Rosewood London
The Holborn Dining Room is one of two sit down restaurants on site. Scarfes Bar as well as a deli takeaway space (the brownie are chocolate heaven!) are the other food options. It faces High Holborn and also has a small outdoor space in the courtyard. It is quite large for a London restaurant/bar. I will do a separate post for The Holborn dining room as part of my Solo Dining Series.
Luxury Room Service at The Rosewood London
I had a late night at work and didn’t want to wander out for dinner so I ordered room service – a club sandwich and strawberries with biscuits. I was impressed with the timing, delivery and table setup. The strawberries and biscuits surrounded panna cotta, a nice yummy surprise. The round table was set for dinner, the staff take this seriously so that you can enjoy your meal.
Laundry was easy to use, priced reasonable and returned same day with a note. I rarely use laundry service but because I did a dumb thing (a few actually), I would use the Rosewood London’s laundry service. Remember that room tour when I arrived craving sleep? Well, I missed the “how to turn off the bedside light” and for most people they would turn the dial (I tried this), I gave up and just shut off the main electric which of course shut off the air con and turned my room into a sauna. I would need to ask the front desk to send up engineering who turned the dial harder than I had and viola! light off.
Senses Spa at The Rosewood London
I asked the concierge to arrange a massage at the hotel spa, Senses, before I left for work (the spa wasn’t open yet). I received an email confirmation from both the concierge and the spa for my 5:45 pm treatment. You can read my separate review of Senses Spa at the Rosewood London. Fabulous! Relaxing! Luxurious!
Scarfes Bar at The Rosewood London
When the hotel first opened last October, I met a few London based travel bloggers for drinks at Scarfes Bar. That night there was a wonderful crowd enjoying cocktails and listening to the live music of a piano player and jazz singer. On Sunday night, it was empty with no music but I enjoyed my glass of wine and chocolate dessert as I looked around at the couples in alcoves and small groups enjoying their cocktails.
Concierge Team at The Rosewood London
The concierge team was easy to deal with prior to arrival and onsite to provide recommendations. As noted above, when they booked my spa service and asked about preference, my “hate lavender” ended up replacing the bathroom toiletries (great service). In terms of finding unique London experiences, I felt that they were lacking a bit. They were great with the normal recommendations for visitors but as someone who visits a few times a year, I want to find the new pop up, secret exhibit or something that wasn’t in the guidebook – on that note, they fell flat for me.
Overall – The Rosewood London
There are few hotels that I can immerse myself in and not want to leave, where I feel like I’ve found a home away from home. The Rosewood London is one of those hotels, if I didn’t have to go to the office to work, I could have happily stayed in the hotel happy but hey, it’s London and you do need to leave – there are pubs to visit, Paul A. Young chocolates to buy, Hummingbird Bakery red velvet cupcakes to indulge and oh yeah, iconic London to visit – Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, the British Museum, etc. It’s a tough call though – stay inside or leave my new love?
The Rosewood London rates do vary and the hotel offers a nice array of packages and specials throughout the year. As a travel agent, I can book the hotel for you and extend special VIP benefits, just contact me. Of note is that The Rosewood London offers the rare room type – a double, double which is great for families, a rarity in London.