Rosewood, London: A new hotel that puts 'Midtown' on the map

Room Service

The practice of "rebranding" areas in order to hike up prices (so beloved of estate agents, restaurateurs and hotel groups) can be infuriating. But talk of the rather anonymous pocket of London between the West End and the City becoming "Midtown" does make sense. (It's just a shame that Boris Johnson was the one to coin it.)

Until the term catches on, what we know as Holborn is a brilliant location for a hotel – and the Rosewood group spotted this gap. The ultra-luxury brand last month plugged it with a very stylish destination hotel – the site was, until 2011, a Marriott, but after an £85m refit you'd never know it. In fact, the opulent public rooms look back to the building's Belle Époque past rather than its more recent incarnation. Built in 1914, it has an astonishingly beautiful seven- storey marble staircase and a private courtyard entrance, off the bustle of the street. (Yes, all right, it was the HQ of the unglamorous-sounding Pearl Assurance Company, but they knew how to make a statement in those days).

Once past the carriageway and into the hotel, it's a visual box of chocolates. To the left, a banking hall has become the Mirror Room which – until the more swish Holborn Dining Room opens next spring – is the main restaurant for residents. It is airy and casual, with low-slung chairs that are fatal after a drink or two. At breakfast, side rooms are where a chef knocks up scrambled eggs or where you find a tantalising variety of pastries, cheeses and cold meats. The juice comes in silver goblets, for goodness sake!

Turn right and find the bar. Once there you may never want to leave. Beside a roaring fire, you can have a cocktail and a curry or casserole. This alliterative combo is most alluring on wintry days and evenings. Add Kitty LaRoar and Nick of Time (a chic chanteuse and her pianist partner) to the mix, and shivering in a queue for a trendy no-reservations joint in Hoxton, loses any appeal.

In between the two, no corner is less than elegant. Near the lifts, vast cages house shimmering little birds, who cheep contentedly and (I hear) fly between cages when no one is looking. Those and the 4ft-wide floral arrangements that you want to bounce on like clouds make loitering in the lobby acceptable. There is truly something for every taste, but it doesn't look messy – perhaps that's down to the brisk, authoritative staff, led by Michael Bonsor (late of Claridge's).

This winter, visitors to London for a blowout shopping and theatre weekend will find Rosewood irresistible. Come spring, when the restaurant and delicatessen open, locals will flock through the doors, too. Looks like Midtown has arrived …

Location

Rosewood is close to shopping central Oxford Street in one direction, and the buzzy food scene of Old Street in the other. The delightful British Museum is a stroll to the north, and Covent Garden and Theatreland are to the south. In other words, it's handy.

Comfort

If your room overlooks the street, coming face to face across High Holborn with office workers might be a little unnerving, but once you've lowered the electronic blinds and pulled the thick felted curtains, you could be anywhere. Sink back on to a pick'n'mix array of fluffy white pillows and fire up the widescreen TV (the branding of which has been removed, a rather fabulous touch). For this guest, the only downside is the knowing certainty that going home to one's own bed will be a major disappointment.

In the bathroom, glorious Czech & Speake products and lighting that flatters to deceive. In fact, sexy lighting is a defining characteristic of the whole hotel. If one were in the mood to have a dalliance – or, as in my case, to have one night away from children pretending to be young, stylish and rich – this would be the place.

At its most dazzling, Rosewood contains the Grand Manor House Wing. To call this a suite would be like calling Buckingham Palace a house. The largest and grandest in Europe, it has its own postcode. If you know Beyoncé or Rihanna, let them know that here they can spread out over 6,100sq ft among groovy books and Hendrix photography, lounge in a 6ft diameter bath and visit their pals in the other six bedrooms. It's the most muted bling I've ever seen, which will appeal to megastars and royalty jaded by other luxe gaffs.

Travel Essentials

Rosewood London

252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN (020 7781 8888; rosewood hotels.com/London)

Rooms ****

Value ****

Service ****

Doubles start at £370, including breakfast and free Wi-Fi

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine