24-hour Room Service: Dean Street Townhouse, Soho, London

The best of British in the heart of London

A recent survey of American tourists found that one in four US visitors to the UK would prefer the British to be more, well, British. When our transatlantic cousins fly east, they want Savile Row, not Starbucks; Marmite rather than McDonald's. It seems that an over-reliance on global brands is eroding our perceived heritage.

Perhaps this explains why the new Dean Street Townhouse, in the heart of London, has been almost fully booked since it opened just under three weeks ago. The hotel goes for sentimental Britishness in a big way, from the pair of Georgian buildings in which it stands, to the drawing-room ambience at reception, to the nursery-food menu and Brit-art in the restaurant. Happily, it does so in a way that also appeals to Brits – there is style and substance at the heart of this hotel.

The welcome-all-comers door policy and low room rates have helped, too. The hotel is the latest venture of the Soho House group, but unlike at its exclusive London members' clubs – Soho, Electric and Shoreditch House – you need not be a member to stay here.

Booked in advance, the smallest rooms start at just over £100, which is the average price of a London hotel room for above-average quality. (A £95 allocation-on-arrival rate is also often available.) They will even "endeavour to help with access to Soho House", which is just around the corner, though nipping round for a drink or bite to eat is on an "on request" basis – presumably as much to do with availability as to whether or not you possess the required glamour quotient.

The four-storey building itself has had several previous incarnations. Built in 1735, it once housed the Novello musical printworks, served as a venue for the Gargoyle Club (frequented by Henri Matisse, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud) and was later occupied by the post-production company that worked on the last James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

Not so cutting edge was the former incarnation of the Dining Room, formerly a Pitcher and Piano. However, the artistic flame of the Gargoyle Club is being rekindled here with displays of a spattering of work by Tracey Emin, Gavin Turk, Peter Blake, Damien Hirst, Jamie Hewlett and more. The menu hammers home the nostalgic English theme: there's a high tea offering of things-on-toast, potted stuff and sandwiches. The all-day menu includes Scotch-egg and caper mayonnaise, fish and chips with marrowfat peas and mince with boiled potatoes. Don't worry, though: you haven't travelled back to the times of Dickens. There's also red-legged partridge, grilled squid and roast Banham chicken. The average main costs a palatable £18.

Location

Dean Street Townhouse may not be a members' club but it is still rooted in luvvie-land, standing at the core of Soho's media scene and within stumbling distance of film production houses, the Groucho Club and some of the capital's best bars and restaurants.

It's a buzzy rather than scuzzy part of Soho, which also means that – despite the hotel's double-glazing – there is street noise in the front rooms, whether it's from late-night drinkers or twilight street cleaners.

Comfort

The 39 rooms come in a variety of sizes, but don't be scared of the "Broom Cupboard" or "Tiny" labels of the smallest: they are still on a different scale to their equivalents in New York's own Soho. The categories run up to "Bigger" rooms, which come with lounge areas. All have the same design concept and amenities, which the hotel bills as "granny chic", but is in fact more New England-meets-middle England. There are Georgian-inspired hand-painted wallpapers in dove greys and dusky pinks set above buttermilk tongue-and-groove panelling, plantation shutters, bespoke furniture and tactile fabrics (a grey wool sofa, crisp linens, plaited jute carpets and Johnstons cashmere blanket in my "Medium" room). It's discreetly hi-tech, too, with TVs set in wall recesses, Bose iPod docks and digital Roberts radios that don't look out of place against the classic décor.

The bathrooms are lined with sparkling white tiles and chequered floors and come with elegant chrome fittings, enormous walk-in monsoon showers and – in some rooms – antique roll-top baths. Best of all, though, the group's Cowshed spa products are everywhere – lined up in the shower, crammed into the bath rack, by the sink – and in proper retail sizes, too. But before I could clear space in my washbag, I was informed that any missing products would be charged to the bill.

To make up for any disappointment, there's a tray of samples to take home, as well as a thoughtful collection of items you'd need if you decided to stay on the spur of the moment (deodorant, toothpaste and face-wash, for example). And reinforcing the British spirit of tradition, there are silver pots filled with complimentary tea, coffee and home-made biscuits in the bedroom.

Dean Street Townhouse, 69-71 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 3SE (020-7434 1775; deanstreettownhouse.com ).

Rooms 5 stars
Value 5 stars
Service 4 stars 4 stars

Double rooms start at £95, room only.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
people
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
PROMOTED VIDEO
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
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

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice