Tucked behind the glorious marble arches of Hyde Park’s sturdiest landmark, The Arch London hotel is a grand Georgian pad, spread over seven former townhouses and two old mews houses. Walls are covered in hand-made Italian wallpaper and artwork by rising British talents, and bedrooms are kitted out with all the technology you could wish for.
Round the corner from London’s best boutiques
On a calm residential street, seconds from the city bustle
Sexy champagne bar and hearty British fare in HUNter 486
A signature cocktail each, of the guests' choice, on arrival
In the know
Also need to know:
In-room beauty treatments can be arranged, and guests can get 20 per cent off at Beauty & Melody spa a few minutes down the road (+44 (0)20 7723 5028).All rooms have a snazzy button system on the door – with a call for a maid, a doorbell and a ‘zzz’ for do not disturb. If serious sightseeing is on your agenda, book one of the hotel's London Pass packages, which offers access to the city's notable attractions.
Your authentic Londoner wardrobe (Savile Row suit for Mr Smith and Mary Quant minis for Mrs Smith) – the Arch’s residential street will make you feel like this prime London postcode is your own.
Unearth whatever’s in your Bond Street bags and don it for dinner.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
We’re only just through the immaculate, urbane entrance of the Arch and it’s already made quite an impression. Particularly when we compare this smooth arrival into this art-adorned reception to the 24-hour process it took to get to this city stay from our hometown of Barcelona. The sleek sandstone flags and the multi-coloured Marylebone collage in the entrance are a stark contrast to our arrival in snowbound rural England. Our first night was in a rickety old country pub, followed by a train and underground journey distinctly light on luxury. And did I mention I had three children in tow? By the time we surface in a sleet-splashed Christmas-crowded Oxford Street, we are desperately craving calm.
The bright lights and big flagships of Oxford Street, while not my favourite strip of London, dissects some of my most beloved parts of the Capital. Lucky for us, the hordes of bag-carriers rarely turn left or right off this shop-lined thoroughfare, leaving the streets and squares blessed with some of the finest examples of Georgian and Victorian architecture practically deserted. When we find the Arch, with its large Union Flag billowing above the golden sandstone entrance, it is suitably soothing.
What makes this just-opened hotel such a sanctuary is that as central as it is, it’s just far enough from the madding crowd. Close to elegant Bryanston Square, with a perfect view down Great Portland Street right through that famous triumphal landmark that it’s named after, the traffic and harried shoppers of one of the world’s most famous retail streets seem a world away. This is a place for refined relaxation instead, for gentle champagne sipping and dainty nibbling of elegant finger pastries.
Three children, all under six, is all a bit noisy and unruly for the calm sophistication of this immaculately renovated hotel – so we fob them off for the night with friends around the corner. After all, we’re on Smith duty and we need to test if the accommodation is ‘aphrodisiacal’, as I recently read is one of the key criteria for a Smith hotel. The bed is certainly very comfortable – but there are other factors. Excellent margaritas from the bar help get us in the mood – as does the distinct absence of small children.
Seven converted Georgian townhouses comprise the hotel and provide a surprising number of rooms; perhaps because of the historical dimensions (though most of the original features have been airbrushed away), it feels smaller than an 82-room hotel should. This lends a sense of intimacy, while at the same time allows it to be big enough to support a high level of service. Our room, with a standard-issue wall of statement paper, is well appointed, especially in technology terms. As well as the HD TV, there’s the too-many-to-scroll-through channels on the radio, and a TV built into the bath – very MTV Cribs.
The Arch has set out to be an archetypal city boutique hotel and does most things well – a cosy lobby with a fire, a library with martinis on tap, and a champagne bar with high-backed armchairs. The dining area has an open-plan kitchen, which has some interesting aesthetic features as flavours to offer. It’s contemporary yet classic – the brown landing carpets with their large orange flowers may not be my personal taste, but there’s not much to offend. The fact that it produced the best kipper I have ever had for breakfast certainly earned my affections; Mrs Smith was more taken by the artful arrangment of shiny saucepans.
Located where it is, there’s no limit to what guests at the Arch can get up to. We flit from a dinner at Providores in Marylebone, to boutique shopping in the West End. We even cross Hyde Park for a little museum visiting in Kensington. But we are also equally happy holed up in our bedroom ordering room service. Now, I have a confession. I arranged a business meeting, just before cocktail hour – sin of sins on a Mr & Mrs Smith escape. But how can you blame me? It is such a perfect location for it. And instead of allowing the four suits who are loitering in the lobby to discuss their dreary financial projections, as is so common in the larger London hotels, we are seamlessly ushered to a comfortable glass-fronted room to the right of the entrance. Here we keep our business-school babble well and truly to ourselves, while luckier folk seek out a Tom Dixon-designed seat in Le Salon de Champagne, say.
But back to our Smith tour of duty: what proves the most romantic moment of our stay? Finishing up my financial forecast, I invite Mrs Smith for a stroll across a very calm and quiet Bryanston Square just after nightfall on the shortest day of the year. As we take a spin through the virgin snow and trot back to the Arch's cosy Martini Library for their signature lemon-rind-enhanced HUNtini, we leave two sets of footsteps in what has just blanketed the whole of London. It’s not often a finance meeting is followed by something quite so soul-stirring.
50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London, W1H 7FD, United Kingdom
1.8 mi / 2.9 km from city centre
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- Onsite laundry
Chef Gary Durrant devises tempting British seasonal menus at Hunter 486 (named after the 1950s district dialling code for Marylebone). Enjoy old classics like beer-battered haddock with hand-cut chips and a range of dishes that put a tasty twist on British flavours and ingredients; tuck into Dorset crab with avocados and pink grapefruit or Cornish mackerel with Jersey Royals, quail eggs, apples and a mustard dressing. It’s open plan, with refectory tables, glass light fixtures, large white metal lamps and lots of dangling pots and pans. If you’ve come for afternoon tea, be sure to sample the range of éclairs – they include strawberry and Veuve Cliquot and foie gras and Sauternes. For something even more decadent, opt for the champagne flight tea, which includes a round of delectable sandwiches, fluffy scones and sweet treats, all paired with a different Taitinger champagne.
Snuggled up at one of the circular banquettes, or sat under the champagne bar’s ceiling scribbles in praise of the bubbles.
Breakfast is on offer 6.30am–11am (from 7am on weekends). Lunch is from noon til 3pm, afternoon tea is between noon and 7pm, and dinner is from 6pm to 10.30pm. The bar keeps is open 24 hours a day for guests and until midnight for everyone else.
Choose from HUNter 486’s menu 24 hours a day.
This sexy space has a slick bar backed by a dazzling array of premium spirits, with Philippe Starck bar stools and a pressed-tin ceiling. Le Salon de Champagne has a graffiti-covered ceiling, enormous-backed armchairs and floor-to-ceiling banquettes. There’s also the Martini Library, whisking up the obligatory martini cocktails, including the rich and delicious Earl Grey Marteani (for something less sweet, try the impeccable ginger and passionfruit mojito). The Martini Library is open for guests to use 24 hours a day.
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