This is not a hotel but a lifestyle stage, says Charles Oak firmly. He’s the perennially-youthful creative GM of The Londoner, the two months’ old theatre of a hotel at the south-west corner of Leicester Square. From many of the 350 rooms, look out at the buzz – the square currently hosts wood masts imagining mythical animals. Look around, at live theatres, audiences permanently coming and going.
And yet, inside, the eight-floor hotel is oasis of calm. Those who want the most space would go for the two-floor 200sq m Penthouse Suite, which comes with a car, and Olivia von Halle silk pyjamas. Personally I found 27sq m King Room #405 more than ample.
Of the many standouts in Yabu Pushelberg’s interiors are soft bedroom colours contrasting with dark green wall tiles in the bathroom: lie in its tub to look through to the bed, though from the bed you see a ceiling-high mirror instead of bod-in-bathtub. There’s Hollywood lighting, a Toto washlet, and a framed genuine formal letter from a recent PM to his Deputy with, thanks to artistic licence, 98% of words frustratingly blacked out.
I smiled, a lot, at The Londoner’s thought processes. I appreciated having well-labelled light switches, and ample wall hooks in the main room for the bird-handled stylish umbrella (their’s) and the distressed denim jacket (mine, and fashionista de rigueur, all ages). And the room has USB ports and electric sockets (UK), wherever.
Walk out, a few minutes, to Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square or wherever. Recover, 24/7, in The Londoner’s futuristic gym, in one of four floors newly created underground. The pool, nail bar, barber and spa naturally operate normal hours, only.
Decision time. Breakfast lightly in the lobby’s Champagne Bar, or healthily and/or more heavily in day-long Whitcomb’s, perhaps borrowing superficial glossies or today’s polysyllabic newspapers for celeb- or private equity-updates. For main meals, you have Japanese or, at all times, a cave-like Residents’ Lounge, a club free to all inhouse guests – its complimentary antipasti trolley is outstanding (try the aged parmesan cubes, marinated artichoke hearts and truffle grissini, and buy a flute of perfectly-chilled Charles Heidsieck Brut).
As General Manager Oak says, The Londoner is a lifestyle venue, the hub of town. Add more warmth, from young head concierge, Tom Wardley, another star player whom you quickly also rate as a real friend.
Lead image: Penthouse, The Londoner | Credit: Andrew Beasley