Tried & Tested

Hotel review: The NoMad London

26 Mar 2024 by Hannah Brandler
Exterior of Nomad London - photo credit Emsie Jonker


This luxury hotel from the Sydell Group opened in May 2021, occupying the Grade II listed former Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station in Covent Garden.

The police station closed in 1992 after 111 years of operation, while the final case was heard at Bow Street in 2006 after 266 years of operation. It’s impossible to list the number of landmark events which took place here, but for some notable ones: Oscar Wilde was detained overnight in 1895, Christobel Pankhurst became the first trained female lawyer to cross-examine a witness in court in 1908, and Vivienne Westwood was held in the cells after her 1977 arrest.

Travellers are increasingly interested in experiences and stories, and the recent conversion of listed buildings into luxury hotels answers that demand. Along with the NoMad, we’ve also seen London’s Old War Office transformed into a Raffles, while the former Whiteleys shopping centre will soon be a Six Senses.

The opening marked NoMad brand’s first overseas property, with a sister outpost in Las Vegas. The original NoMad New York closed in March 2021 and reopened as The Ned NoMad, while the NoMad LA ‘remains temporarily closed’. The Sydell Group also operates London’s The Ned (in partnership with Soho House).

NoMad London, credit Hannah Brandler

Where is it?

In the heart of Covent Garden, opposite the Royal Opera House and within walking distance of various West End theatres. The hotel is a five-minute walk from Covent Garden Tube station, served by the Piccadilly Line, while Holborn is a ten-minute walk and offers the Piccadilly and Central lines.

NoMad London Hotel Reception, Credit Simon Upton

The NoMad Hotel is a great transformation of a historical building, with interior design firm Roman and Williams creating a fittingly theatrical property which retains the building’s Victorian features but adds New York’s jazz age into the mix – nodding to the brand’s stateside roots. Expect moody lighting, rich textures, dramatic murals and playful touches.

Key to the property is the impressive art collection, with over 1,600 works curated by Paris-based design studio Saint-Lazare – from photos to sculptures, ceramics, watercolours and tapestries. There’s a focus on creativity on both sides of the Atlantic but also nods to the area, including maquettes from the Royal Opera House and large-scale works by French artist and dancer Caroline Denervaud, where sweeping brushstrokes have been created by her body’s movement on the canvas (pictured above).

The history of the building itself is also referenced – Julie Green’s ‘First Meals’ series depicts dishes chosen by prisoners upon release from wrongful incarceration.

NoMad London Library, Credit Simon Upton

The lobby area is dimly lit but draws light from the conservatory-style main restaurant straight ahead (more on this later). The open-plan space houses a concierge and reception at either end, with check-in from 3pm and check-out at 12pm.

Off to one side is the red-hued Library, an inviting and warm space for all-day dining, working or a catch-up coffee with friends. Shelves divide the seating areas, so you can hide away at the back with your nose in one of the books. Guests can also sign out books during their stay, provided they return them.

Within the building’s walls is also the Bow Street Police Museum, and hotel guests can enter for free.

NoMad London Supérieur Room, Credit Simon Upton


Four floors house 75 rooms ranging from 23-32 sqm, including accessible rooms with assistance rails. There are also 16 suites, ranging from 35-70 sqm, and recent changes mean that Magistrates and Royal Opera Suites now feature sofa beds (so can accommodate four guests) whilst Grande rooms have the option to be transformed into twins.

Moody corridors give some notion of the property’s former dark side but rooms are thankfully flooded with natural light.

My cosy Superieur room (25 sqm) on the fourth floor overlooked the atrium and featured a royal blue colour scheme, hardwood floors and period touches such as an original fireplace, vanity table (which doubles as a good work table), rotary telephone and a drinks cabinet with beautiful glassware, a cocktail book and a mini fridge hidden behind its doors.

At the heart of the room is a comfy king bed, with a coffee table at the foot of the bed dividing a Jacquard-adorned sofa into two comfy armchairs. The bathroom, meanwhile, is a bright Carrara mosaiced marble area, featuring a large walk-in shower and refillable Argan amenities by Côté Bastide.

Rooms also have 21st century amenities, including flatscreen TVs equipped with Chromecast, QR code access to complimentary newspapers and magazines, and well-located plug and USB sockets beneath tables and beside the bed.

NoMad London Royal Opera Suite, Credit Benoit Linero

Further amenities include a Nespresso machine with coffee capsules, Good & Proper teabags, complimentary water, a steamer, and soft bathrobes and slippers. You can also purchase various in-room amenities including the umbrella, cocktail book, mugs and shower products.

I found the room comfortable and easy to work from, though found it a little noisy at times, with my neighbour playing loud music in the early morning.

Pricier rooms include views of the Royal Opera House, and upgrade yourself to the Royal Opera House Suite to enjoy a freestanding clawfoot bathtub, partially hidden by a beautiful dressing screen with a backdrop of various artwork.

NoMad London, Side Hustle (provided by Rachel Harris Communications)

Food and drink

The NoMad differs from most hotels in that it is just as well-known for its restaurants and bars as its hotel rooms – perhaps even more so.

I’ve been a fan of the dining establishments here since the opening, and believe it’s a great example of a hotel that draws in London locals and visitors rather than just satisfying hotel guests. For instance, this might be the first time I’ve stayed at the hotel but the fourth time I’ve eaten here.

We dined at Side Hustle during our stay, the dimly-lit Latin American restaurant and bar which resides in the former Police Station, with a separate street entrance for non-guests. Side Hustle’s full kitchen is open from 5pm on weekdays (and from 12pm on weekends).

One step in the door and it’s full of life, even on a Monday night, with bar staff shaking up tequila and agave-based cocktails (the list is lengthy and you could be drinking all night – don’t miss the Sergeant Pepper) alongside a short menu of snacks, small plates and larger sharing dishes.

Grab a stool at the bar for an interactive experience, with charismatic staff detailing the ingredients behind each cocktail and dish. We loved the chunky guacamole with crisps (£10), spicy padrón peppers with a citrus zing (£9) and the inventive plantain topped with ricotta and a generous drizzle of truffle honey (£11).

Side Hustle, NoMad London (Provided by Rachel Harris Communications)

Then there are the various tacos – shiitake, baja-style fish or pork carnitas (one for £8 or any three for £22). While it’s easy to fill up on the various dips and spices, I highly recommend leaving some room for the two desserts on offer (each £12). The salted caramel ice cream sandwich combines crispy wafers with crunchy sweet corn, while the chocolate ice cream with cinnamon is served with two buñuelo doughnuts which you’re meant to break over the ice cream to create a crunchy topping.

If you’re a bigger group then there are booth tables, though I recommend dining at the main NoMad Restaurant as it’s noisy at Side Hustle.

The NoMad Restaurant is located in the light-filled atrium area, but I won’t go into much detail as we have a separate review from 2022. Room service is also available on a daily basis from both restaurants, with a late night menu (11pm-7am) too.

Restaurant review: NoMad Restaurant, Covent Garden


The hotel boasts over 800 sqm of meetings and events spaces. The dramatic 109 sqm Magistrates’ Ballroom (the former Magistrates’ Courtroom) features a fresco-like mural by Claire Basler and seats 70 or 120 standing. From here there are two adjacent private dining rooms (Fielding Room at 46 sqm and De Veil Room at 39 sqm), with a separate bar – plus a dedicated street entrance using the original courtroom entrance.

And below ground is Common Decency, a decadent lounge and bar which was formerly open to guests but is now an events-only space given the huge demand. The Belle Epoque-inspired space nods to Oscar Wilde’s trial for “an affront to common decency”, and expect plush furnishings, theatrical curtains and an eclectic mixture of patterns – plus snugs which work well for activations or secret discussions.

NoMad London | Magistrates Ballroom (provided by Rachel Harris Communications)


There is a guests-only 24-hour gym on the lower ground floor, equipped with cardio machines and free weights. The hotel also has a partnership with spa Katie England for treatments, which take place in the former womens’ cells of the police station.


A fantastic example of the respectful renovation of heritage buildings, offering characterful facilities that draw in locals and visitors alike – not just for overnight stays but for decadent dinners, inventive cocktails or simply a coffee in the Library.

  • Best for creatives with a penchant for good food and an eye for detail
  • Don’t miss tacos and a tequila-infused Sergeant Pepper cocktail at Side Hustle
  • Price Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in April start from £555 per night for a Superieur room
  • Contact 28 Bow Street, London WC2E 7AW; 020 3906 1600;
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