Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Rosewood London

30 Jan 2014 by Tom Otley


The former Marriott Renaissance Chancery Court has undergone a huge renovation after being acquired by New World Hospitality, owner of Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, and in October reopened as the Rosewood London.

It's the first Rosewood property in Europe, though the brand previously managed London's Lanesborough hotel until 2002. It will also run the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris when it reopens in 2015.


Arriving on a winter's evening from busy High Holborn, the sight of the opulent bar was welcome, with hundreds of bottles glowing in a golden light. You enter through large wrought iron gates and arrive into a courtyard.

Rosewood's new owners have spent a fortune on the hotel – US$130 million – all the more astonishing considering that it's only 13 years since it was restored and opened as the Renaissance in 2001.

The 1914 Edwardian Belle Epoque building has a Grade II Listed frontage and dome and, inside, a grand Pavonazzo marble staircase rising through all seven storeys to a 50-metre cupola.

The new designs are by Tony Chi and Associates, and the hotel has lots of London touches, with modern art referencing everything from Aston Martin to Dr Martens. There are also nods to the building's history as the HQ of Pearl Assurance Company, including black and white photos of the City of London in the guestrooms.


On High Holborn, a ten-minute walk from Covent Garden. The hotel is situated between the West End and the City, and is right next to Holborn Underground station for direct connections to Heathrow on the Piccadilly line.


The number of rooms has dropped from 343, including 13 suites, to 262 guestrooms and 44 suites.

Rooms are on floors one to seven, with ten smoking rooms distributed among all of these. There are views of High Holborn, the courtyard or Whetstone Park (street) at the back of the hotel, and they all have good sound-proofing.

Entry-level Deluxe rooms (31 sqm) have a Geneva Sound System iPod dock by the bed, 46-inch LED TV, free wifi, and a good circular workdesk with lots of international plug sockets next to it – this desk/table can also seat two people for dinner. Each room has a Nespresso machine, Czech and Speake toiletries, and bathrooms in Italian marble.

Other room categories are Executive (33 sqm), Premier (35 sqm) and Grand Premier (42 sqm). There is a selection of suites – from Premier (70 sqm) up to the 585 sqm Grand Manor House Wing, with its own postcode, private entrance and six bedrooms.


Until now, the Mirror room has been the main venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its menu will be adapted when the new Holborn Dining Room opens this month, although no details were available as we went to press. Formerly the East Banking Hall of Pearl Assurance, the Martin Brudnizki- designed restaurant will be operated by chef Des McDonald. It will have a heated, covered terrace in the courtyard and a small bar. The Holborn Delicatessen, with its own street entrance, is at one end.

Scarfes Bar is named after cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, whose illustrations line the walls. Also designed by Brudnizki, it looks like the library of a British mansion, with a wooden herringbone floor and book-lined shelves.


There are 11 event spaces, including the Grand Ballroom in the basement – which holds 340 guests for a banquet – and three heritage boardrooms on the first floor.

The Living Room and the Dining Room seat up to 12 people, and are located on the ground floor – the latter has its own show kitchen.


The Sense spa has seven treatment rooms, and there is a small gym with Technogym equipment.


At the time of staying, the Rosewood had yet to fully open, but the rooms were very impressive, as was the service.

The Rosewood is positioning itself to be one of the top hotels in London – if it succeeds, it will be in spite of the location, but the restaurants, bars, public areas and courtyard may make people reluctant to leave in any case.


  • HOW MANY ROOMS? 262 rooms (36 Deluxe, 139 Executive, 11 Premier and 13 Grand Premier) and 44 suites (15 Premier, 21 Grand Premier and eight Signature suites)
  • HIGHLIGHTS The inviting bar is something special. Rooms are similarly residential in feel
  • PRICE Internet rates for flexible midweek stay in March started from £450 for a Deluxe room
  • CONTACT Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn; tel +44 (0)20 7781 8888; rosewood

Tom Otley
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