The new-build hotel is part of Preferred Hotels’ upscale luxury LVX collection and is owned and operated by Shiva Hotels – the owner of Middle Eight in Covent Garden, Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and Lincoln Plaza London, Curio Collection by Hilton.
The Guardsman opened in May following a soft launch in October, and has 53 rooms and six residences that range from one- to three-bed apartments.
What's it like?
Guests get a taste of the design from street level, with gold touches and the grey façade mirrored in the colour palette inside. A keycard is required for entry and the reception is concierge-like, with just one staff on duty, creating a sense of exclusivity. This is reflected in the members club-style interiors, where a geometric golden pattern across the floor-to-ceiling windows prevents people from peeking in.
Design is courtesy of Dexter Moren Associates and Tonik Associates, with lighting provided by Tom Dixon. The ground floor has a drawing room featuring bespoke furniture including plush Napoleonic armchairs and a replica of Jackie Kennedy’s deep-buttoned sofa from the White House, and an art collection offering modern twists on classical works. There’s also a homely fireplace and a drinks cabinet that is fit for royalty at the end of the room – it’s close to the palace, after all.
The moodier Library on the back left has more muted colours and is a fitting space for nightcaps and contemplative moments. A sleek, winding staircase takes you down to the restaurant, which is only open to hotel residents and their guests.
On the sustainability side, The Guardsman uses 100 per cent renewable energy sourced from its rooftop solar panels and is BREEAM-certified.
Where is it?
On quiet Vandon Street, just off Buckingham Gate. It’s close to the palace and the Houses of Parliament. St James’s Park Underground station is a three-minute walk away.
All rooms and residences have sumptuous, queen-sized beds, Nespresso machines and tea facilities, a minibar, a safe, Noble Isle toiletries, and an HD TV with Chromecast. Rooms come in four categories and range in size from 13 sqm to 28 sqm, with bathrooms clad in black and white marble. Each has a walk-in shower, and some have underfloor heating.
The six residences are all named after former female politicians, including my Astor penthouse, named after the first female MP in Britain to take a seat in parliament in 1919. All have an open-plan layout, full kitchens, a work area and views of Westminster. Additional options include a private chef and valet.
The Astor Residence is an expansive 117 sqm space that includes three bedrooms and a wraparound terrace offering views of Buckingham Gate and St James’s Park.
The interior design is contemporary, with a neutral colour scheme, splashes of brass, herringbone parquet flooring and large windows that flood the space with natural light. As you enter, there’s a vast living and dining space, and a well-equipped galley kitchen with a wine fridge (a nice touch). A leather-topped desk made for a lovely workspace, though I was tempted to use the luxe study down the hall, which also converts into a bedroom.
To the left of the entrance are two bedrooms, each of which has its own USP. The master features an en-suite and access to the terrace, while the other has a Japanese soaking tub in the bathroom. The TVs in the bedrooms are surreptitiously disguised as mirrors when turned off, and provide information about the hotel services and surrounding area.
It’s a bit too technologically advanced, with a touchscreen panel of light switches which seemed to stop working during my stay, but I informed reception and staff were friendly and eager to help.
Food and drink
The Dining Room and Bar is open all day and offers a menu of seasonal dishes based on modern British cuisine and a drinks menu with 250 whiskies.
Highlights include the Cornish crab on toasted sourdough with guacamole and lemon vinaigrette and a steak with King oyster mushrooms, beef dripping hand cup chips and bearnaise sauce. My pan-fried cod was slightly overcooked though it was redeemed by the bed of garden peas and smoked pancetta.
The restaurant’s décor resembles the remainder of the hotel, with brass elements, marble-topped tables, comfortable chairs, and a wall covered in gild-framed portraits of differing shapes and sizes, which gives the impression of an aristocrat’s mansion. An à la carte breakfast is also served here, including the humorous boiled eggs and guardsmen dish.
Guests can also choose to dine in the Living Room area, with afternoon tea on offer.
The Library and residences can be privatised.
The Guardsman offers stylish stays, and a design that pays homage to its political milieu. What it lacks in leisure facilities, it makes up for in luxury, with inviting public areas and ultra-plush residences that have ample space for work and entertainment.
High-end apartments with a homely feel for long stays in the centre of London
A nightcap in the Library
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in November started from £280 for a Superior Double room
1 Vandon Street, Westminster, London; +44 (0) 207 309 9200; guardsmanhotel.com