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.

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

    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
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable