London: Rock'n'roll is the R&R served up at this hotel
You can smash up a guitar, then hop on a Harley. Or why not fill up the bath with Jack Daniel's and wait for the groupies to arrive?
Sunday 19 July 2009
Billed as "London's first rock'n'roll hotel", the Soho Sanctum presents itself as the perfect refuge for ageing rockers and their fawning entourages after a hard night out in trendy Soho.
Its owner is the restaurateur Mark Fuller, the man behind the Embassy nightclub in Mayfair and the designer chippie, Geales of Notting Hill. He promises that anything goes in his hotel "as long as it's legal". In this spirit, Fuller recently promised guests that, should the mood take them, they could order a bath overflowing with Jack Daniel's.
The always-open rooftop bar, the 24-hour room service and the rooftop Jacuzzi all make valiant attempts at securing these party credentials – the Jacuzzi was briefly off-limits after workers in a neighbouring office complained that naked guests were distracting them from their spreadsheets. Yet this luxurious retreat – a £10m conversion of two charming townhouses formerly occupied by the spooks of MI5 – is really more suited to relaxing than rocking.
Art deco gets a modern, rather glitzy twist in the bedrooms courtesy of Lesley Purcell from Can Do, complemented by an ever-changing array of moody artworks from the London-based artist Xavier Pick. All 30 rooms, from the tiny crash pads (no wardrobes and designed for little more than sleeping) to the deluxe suites, have wet rooms and are individually styled using six distinctive schemes of mirrored columns, glass-beaded or rococo satin wallpaper, and pale pinks. Most rooms have iPod docks and Wii consoles.
The food and drink
The 60-seat No 20 Restaurant is overseen by head chef Gavin Austin, who joined from Searcys St Pancras Grand restaurant. He has a seasonal British menu with dishes as varied as Rockefeller oysters, fricassee of rose veal, macaroni cheese and burgers. The result is an identity crisis: is it a high-end eatery or a diner? Three courses cost around £35 per head plus wine. An excellent traditional breakfast costs from around £10.
Live like a rocker. Thrash an electric guitar from the guitar and amp hire service, then hit the open road with the Warr's Harley Davidson motorbike rental. For less wild times, there's a private cinema, and in-room spa treatments are available.
The ground floor is accessible by wheelchair, but users may struggle in the tight corridors, smaller rooms and bathrooms. Children are welcome.
Double rooms come from £175 per night. However, a night in the two-bedroom garden suite will set you back a seriously cool £3,500.
Sanctum Soho, 20 Warwick Street, Soho, London W1B 5NF (020-7292 6100; sanctumsoho.com).
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