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One Aldwych hotel is a kind of modern London classic. It's location in the West End is ideal if you're heading out to the theater. (The towering marquees for The Lion King are visible through the lobby windows.) But it's also a great place to stay if you're looking to explore two other areas — Covent Garden, which is in the midst of a redevelopment wave, and Seven Dials, a series of seven streets that form spokes around a quaint, monument-crowned roundabout. Here's our review of one of the few independently owned hotels in London.
Budget Level: Luxe ($300+/night)
Lodging Type: Large Hotel (100+ rooms)
What You Need to Know
Straightforward and comfortable contemporary design is the perfect backdrop for the hotel's eclectic trappings, including its art collection, which includes 400 paintings and sculptures. You'll see art on display everywhere at the property, but it's especially noticeable in the lobby, where Justine Smith's papier-mâché dog (nicknamed Spencer) will greet you at reception, and Emily Young's Head of Dionysus will keep you company at the bar. The hotel's dramatic fresh flower displays, which change weekly, are anything but ordinary — when we arrived, giant amaryllis flowers were hung upside down, like chandeliers, from the ceiling.
At One Aldwych, you'll find none of the scene-y pretension that you'll find in many other London luxury hotels. The crowd that gathers and stays here feels like a bunch of easygoing — albeit sophisticated — locals, rather than a group of world travelers.
Who Will Love It
If you're in search of an intimate, polished hotel that puts you in the perfect spot for exploring on foot, you can't do better than One Aldwych.
Who Might Not
This hotel occupies an interesting sweet spot among London hotels: It's neither the trendiest, newest kid on the block, nor is it a venerable grand dame. If you crave either of those things, you can certainly find them elsewhere in town.
Excellent food and drink options are located right on property, including Eneko, a Basque restaurant by triple-Michelin-star chef Eneko Atxa, which occupies the building's lower level and still manages to feel as relaxed and welcoming as the rest of the property. A vegetarian beetroot tartare, hake tempura, and trigo — a wheat pasta with a red pepper sauce and truffle — are just a few things to try. At the hotel bar, the cocktail menu offers as much varied flavor as the surrounding art and flowers. Each drink comes with its own surprise, whether it's fanciful glassware, wood smoke, a piece of Italian cheese, or even an accompanying virtual reality headset. Our favorites included the Dionysus — named for, and served in glassware inspired by, the aforementioned lobby sculpture — which includes rum, Aperol, and blood orange juice; and the Three Reigns, made with gin, elderflower cordial, rooibos tea, and Champagne.
WiFi, access to free newspapers and magazines via the PressReader app, and the gym facilities — which include a pool, sauna, and steam room — are complimentary. Guests also have exclusive access to the One Lounge, a private space with a selection of Rizzoli books curated for the hotel by Paul Smith. Turndown service, fresh fruit and flowers delivered daily, and mineral water are also included.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
All food and beverages will cost extra.
How to Get a Deal
Stay in London's low season — typically from January to March — when rooms at this hotel go for around $300 per night. In summer, you'll find them for twice as much. Always check the hotel's offers page. The hotel is currently running a promotion that lets you stay for four nights and pay for three.
In the Neighborhood
Situated in a beautiful historic building along London's Strand — Winston Churchill once ran a newspaper out of the basement — One Aldwych is a stone's throw from Covent Garden, which is ringed with new high-end shops. If you're interested in beauty products in particular, you can hop from Bobbi Brown to Aesop to Dior to Charlotte Tilbury without having to walk more than two minutes between them. Be sure to save time for the picture-perfect streets around Seven Dials, including the atmospheric — though sometimes touristy — Neal's Yard, and the original location of the excellent Monmouth Coffee. And of course, given that you're a moment's walk from a dozen famous theaters, including the Royal Opera House, you can always see a show. Ask your concierge to help with tickets, or venture to one of the many reseller booths in the area.
Both London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports are about an hour away by car, or a little longer via public transportation. Before you hop in a taxi at the airport, remember that cabs in London aren't cheap. From Heathrow to One Aldwych, you can expect the fare to be between $80 and $100. You'll save a significant amount with Uber or Gett, sometimes as much as half. Our favorite way to reach One Aldwych from Heathrow, though, is the tube. Take the Piccadilly line from Terminals 1, 2, or 3 straight to Covent Garden. The lack of transfers, and the affordable fare, are a blessing when you're feeling jetlagged.
Nearest Public Transit
The Temple and Covent Garden tube stations are each a five-minute walk from the hotel.
The Bottom Line
Art-filled, homey, and plush without ever feeling snobby, One Aldwych is a great way to stay in the center of it all in London.