Well-situated on the edge of Covent Garden, One Aldwych Hotel proves that, after a multi-million pound renovation, everything old really is new again.

London is one of our favourite cities in the world, and One Aldwych is one of our favourite hotels to stay at when we visit.

The first time I booked the hotel was a decade ago; as a journalist, I was fascinated (and still am!) by the building itself. It’s been a landmark on the edge of Covent Garden, the Strand and Fleet Street since the early 1900s, purpose-built as the headquarters of The Morning Post newspaper. The building really is a beauty – its location made it ideal then as now. 

One Aldwych Hotel

Courtesy of One Aldwych Hotel

Fast forward to 1998, and One Aldwych hotel made its debut. But that was then, and this is now. After a multi-million pound renovation, the hotel has had a complete makeover. British designer Robert Angell (The Connaught, The Berkeley, Lime Wood Hotel) has redesigned guest rooms and suites with a nod to an elegant modern residence.

With 86 reimagined guest rooms, the hotel feels cosy but never crowded. If you’re able to really splurge, book one of the gorgeous one-bedroom suites, which sit in the hotel’s curved and domed tower that faces Waterloo Bridge. Cross the Thames, and you’re in trendy Southbank, where the British Film Institute and weekly used book fairs make their home. 

One Aldwych Hotel

Courtesy of @onealdwychhotel

Spectacular Somerset House is across the street. Once belonging to the Duke of Somerset, the Georgian-era palace is now the site of art installations, outdoor exhibitions, interactive spaces, even a skating rink in winter. It’s also the home of the Courtauld Gallery, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist Art. This is only one highlight of the neighbourhood; from West End plays (The Lyceum Theatre next door has featured The Lion King for nearly 30 years); to the new pedestrian/public space area in front of St Mary Le Strand Church invites strolling, without the traffic. 

I love a bit of history in a hotel, and this one’s rich with it. The original architects, Mewès and Davis (famed for their work on The Ritz in London and in Paris), were hired by The Morning Post to create an office that had the bones of a proper Grade II-listed Edwardian building but with the panache of Paris.

Since, it’s hosted other media outlets, including The Tatler and the Illustrated London News. There was no shortage of intrigue either, when the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Works moved in.

One Aldwych Hotel

Courtesy of One Aldwych Hotel

Guests can take advantage of a unique-to-One-Aldwych program, The Curators, which enlists experts of local history and lore. Go behind the scenes at one of London’s storied theatres with Donmar Warehouse director Silvia Melchior. Get the inside beat on the city’s influence on pop culture globally from curator Victoria Broackes, the director of London Design Biennale. Or, take a stroll with Dr Matthew Green to discover London’s coffee – and wine! – history. 

Speaking of intrigue, this piqued my interest. Spending a morning with Dr Green on his Medieval Wine tour learning about London’s Roman roots, and how the Legions brought vines with them, was something I highly recommend. He even revealed a secret park, where you can sip a plonk while sitting on the grass among these ancient vines. Green is also the author of London: A Travel Guide Through Time. Next time, I’ll join his Coffeehouse tour. 

There’s plenty to recommend within the hotel as well. Another secret: the swimming pool. And this is no plunge pool; it’s a full-on, chlorine-free lap pool, wonderful to get your exercise and to chill out by. A steam room and sauna are a few steps away, no spa appointment required. It’s a retreat that’s open to all guests – and not a common amenity in hotels in London. And if you’re looking for some quiet time to read the newspaper, try The Library off the lobby, a guests-only lounge. 

The stunning Lobby Bar is a wonderful mix of old-world Brit cosy with a dollop of contemporary thrown in. Floral arrangements are designed by resident renowned florist Mark Siredzuk. They play spectacular garden party roles around the softly curved room, colourful blooms revel in the light let in by enormous arched windows that line the sides of the bar (not bad for people watching either), but the eye candy gets even better. 

The Lobby Bar at One Aldwych Hotel.

The Lobby Bar at One Aldwych Hotel

Works of art from the hotel’s private collection of more than 400 pieces also inform the cocktail menu. Whether sipping on a Horseradish Martini inspired by the London-based sculptor André Wallace’s bronze, “The Boatman,” or the Blueberry Enzoni – a take on the Negroni and the abstract splashings of Philip Diggle’s “Michel Foucault,” from his series of paintings created while on stage to the live sounds of his brother’s punk band The Buzzcocks, there’s refreshment for all. 

But the classics are also spectacular works of art: A bit of performance theatre acts out with an Old Fashioned served tableside from the traditional cocktail trolley; an Espresso Martini will boost any pre-theatre goer’s mood – and why not add a little extra? The Martinis are a perfect foil for the Buckwheat blinis begging for a tiny spoonful of Exmoor caviar. Toss in live jazz every Thursday, and you’ve got a sultry night out.

Need to Know (For the Deluxe room category):

  • Size: 32m² / 344ft²
  • Relaxing seating area
  • A complimentary curated mini-bar of drinks and snacks, and a Nespresso coffee machine
  • Bathroom products from British brand Mitchell & Peach
  • Rain shower head
  • WiFi
  • Easy-to-use technology including a Loewe UHD TV with Google Chromecast

Throughout the hotel:

  • 24-hour Technogym studio
  • 24-hour in-room dining
  • Dedicated pet-friendly rooms
  • Kids stay free with two adults; includes English breakfast (and the concierge can make reservations for the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea in the basement bar of the hotel


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