One of three luxury London hotels run by the Doyle Collection – the others being the Marylebone (see businesstraveller.com/tried-and-tested for a review) and the Kensington – the Bloomsbury is a tasteful, modern design hotel housed in a beautiful listed building on Great Russell Street. It’s a one-minute walk from Tottenham Court Road and only a few minutes away from the West End and Covent Garden. It’s ten minutes to the City on the Central underground line.
Designed in 1932 by Sir Edwin Lutyens as a residential club and concert hall for the Young Women’s Christian Association, the building was converted into a hotel by Jurys Doyle Hotels (rebranded as the Doyle Collection in 2008) in 2000, and has now undergone a further extensive restoration.
At first sight it is eight storeys of clean lines and neo-Georgian architecture (sash windows and red bricks), entered via a double flight of stone steps. Once inside, the lobby has a parquet floor, oversized sofas and large antique mirrors. Staff are smartly dressed, make eye contact and are friendly. Rooms are accessed by two lifts so expect a short wait at busy times. Once you’re in the corridors, the layout of the hotel can be slightly confusing, but it gives an intimate feel – at 153 rooms, it’s not large.
The bedrooms and suites are on floors one to eight and, while all are slightly different because of the historical nature of the property, a common style runs through them – understated yet stylish, with attractive furnishings including elegant wooden headboards behind the beds, workdesks (some marble-topped), and comfortable armchairs. All have free wifi access, international plug sockets and large flatscreen TVs.
The 115 Superior rooms are 18-22 sqm and have queen-size beds, power showers, climate control, safes, iron and ironing boards, hairdryers and Temple Spa bathroom amenities. The 26 Deluxe rooms (22-25 sqm) also offer an evening newspaper, robe, mineral water and Nespresso machine (all rooms have tea and coffee-making facilities). Some have a separate shower and bath, while others a bath with a showerhead above it. The 12 Studio suites, measuring 36-53 sqm, have king-size beds and lounges. There are nine smoking rooms on the eighth floor.
The Landseer British Kitchen has menus devised by Michelin-starred consultant chef John Wood and executive head chef Paul O’Brien. Although it is on the lower ground floor, the dining room is bright with mother of pearl mosaics and Foscarini hanging pendants. As the name suggests, it’s a traditional British menu, using only locally sourced produce. The wood-panelled bar stands alongside it and, in the summer, there’s a terrace with wooden tables and a barbecue. Drinks are also available in the lobby.The hotel has a couple of surprisingly large event spaces – the George V and Queen Mary halls – both of which have original period details, lots of natural daylight and can seat 570 people in total. For smaller meetings, the first-floor Library and Chapel are also unique. In the basement there are five modern meeting rooms and a good-sized gym, installed last year with new equipment.
VERDICT A fabulous refurbishment of this historic property, in a great location, and with stunning meeting venues. Decent value too.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in April started from £206 for a Superior room.
CONTACT 16-22 Great Russell Street; tel +44 (0)20 7347 1000; doylecollection.com/bloomsbury