Who cannot fail to love London? Amongst the thickets of untidy streets, traffic jams and noisy construction sites, you will come across a rose. There are quite a few of them but The Bloomsbury hotel is one of the best. You’ll need to keep your eyes open or you will miss it. The Grade-II listed building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1928.
It lies on the very edge of Bloomsbury, home of literary and educational establishments, a stone’s throw from Tin Pan Alley, Soho, the bookshops of Charing Cross Road, The British Museum and two of London’ most delightful garden squares: the Russell and the Bloomsbury.
Leave the buses and taxis jostling for position down Great Russell Street behind and walk a few steps down a narrow private alley behind the Dominion Theatre. Look up to your left, you will see a bowered terrace where food and drinks are served all day. That’s the first clue that this is a gem of a place to stay. The entrance is discreetly hidden up some steps where the top-hatted doorman will welcome you.
In 2017, the hotel underwent a major refurbishment by the internationally acclaimed designer, Martin Brudnizki. The ground floor was re-orientated: the main entrance moved to the west end of the building, the cavernous reception area replaced by the Coral bar which opens up to the Dalloway Terrace named after Virginia Woolf’s eponymous heroine. The reception and ground floor rooms were re-arranged to create a series of small, seductive enclaves of comfort in which to work or relax.
As you enter, you become aware of the hush of a sanctuary. The décor owes everything to the hay day of the Twenties and Thirties. You might even notice the floors. Dark Oak parquet that has been beautifully distressed and brought to a glow with hard wax oil. It will take a while for you to realise that the floor is the common element that links the eclectic styles between one room and the next. It is in the Coral Bar that you can appreciate how the sweep and colour of the floor gives life to the coral wall covering and the Murano glass chandeliers.
It so happened that a guest was much taken by the floor that he went to a lot of trouble to find out who fitted it. His quest ended on the mobile phone of Tim Hobern, Managing Director of HS Wood Flooring. It turned out that the gentleman wanted exactly the same floor fitted in his home. “St Albans was a bit out of our way,” said Tim. “But since he has been to so much trouble to find us, we returned the compliment. Our patch is normally central and South West London.”