• Steve

A ROSE BETWEEN TWO THORNS – LONDON

Updated: May 11

Prominently placed in one of London’s most historic districts, Holborn, is Rosewood London, a distinctively elegant luxury Five-Star hotel, with a typical British flair and a real sense of history.

Rosewood London is located on the historic thoroughfare of High Holborn, a road that can be dated back to Roman times and was significant in the development of the capital. With its position close to Covent Garden, The West End and iconic streets such as Drury lane and Fleet Street, Rosewood London is in a prime position for all the enchanting delights of London.

When I arrived at Rosewood London, I couldn’t help but be immediately taken aback by the grandness of the building, standing almost palace like in stark contrast to the modern office blocks of the numerous legal and corporate headquarters that line High Holborn.

Originally constructed in 1912 and designed by H. Percy Monckton, the Edwardian style building was the headquarters for the Pearl Assurance Company up until 1989.

Turning off the busy High Holborn to the entrance of Rosewood London you have tom walk through their central carriageway. A striking grand domed space leading into the hotel's central courtyard, transporting you immediately into a calm oasis.

The breathtaking courtyard is a real sanctuary amongst the hustle and bustle of the city and you feel immediately transported to a typical country English stately home. The flamboyant Edwardian Belle Époque building is Grade II listed and under the guidance of the English Heritage, it has been beautifully restored to its historic glory.

Walking through the beautiful cobbled courtyard with evergreen topiaries and large bay trees, the entrance to the hotel lobby is elegant, reminiscent of an Italian Renaissance Palazzo.

Entering through the main door you are greeted by 'The Rose Bronze Gallery', this stunning galley entrance is made up of 8,000 pieces of rose bronze, in reference to the hotel's name and contrasts well with the striking black and white geometric mosaic floor.

Continuing through to the main lobby area, the feel and inspiration for the entire property is to replicate a modern luxury residence inspired by homes found in Belgravia and Knightsbridge. Tony Chi and Associates were the creative minds behind Rosewood London’s renovation, the New York based designer wanted to reflect Rosewood Hotels & Resorts philosophy; ‘A Sense of Place’

in which the property reflects its location’s history, culture and sensibilities – Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Chi wanted to create a real residence feel, where guests felt like they were entering a luxury home rather than a hotel. In the main lobby the marble black and white floor creates a dramatic entrance, softened by intimate “living” areas surrounded by gilded eglomise glass partitions filled with unique art, books and decorative items.

At the centre of the lobby is a giant one-of-a-kind painting by the Chilean artist, Eduardo Hoffmann, depicting a scene of rolling countryside surrounding an English country estate. Underneath the painting, is home to Rosewood London’s very own resident dog, a golden retriever by the name of Pearl…such a great little touch.

The lavish interiors feature Cuban mahogany, lacquered textured wood veneers and even seven different types of marble including rare varieties such as Swedish Green and Statuary. Rosewood London features many intricate details within its interior design, I particularly loved the signage in the hotel in ‘book’ form, a nod to the many novelists and writers that called Holborn home such as Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens.

Rosewood London features several exclusive dining and drinking venues, open to hotel residents and the general public. 'The Mirror Room' is a beautiful salon captivating the essence of traditional British high tea culture in a relaxed atmosphere. The room features floor to ceiling mirrors (hence the name) and like a jewellery box, it dazzles with elegance and glamour.

The design was inspired by glittering diamonds and pearls that adorned the ladies of high tea culture. In contrast, the masculine columns are in a dark shade to represent the gentlemen that accompanied the ladies. Soft low-level lighting and lounge style seating in muted taupe and mustard set an elegant but relaxed atmosphere.

'The Mirror Room' is open from morning till evening serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.

At either end of the stunning 'Rose Bronze Gallery' separated by the carriage entrance way, is 'Scarfes Bar' and the 'Holborn Dining Room.'

Entering 'Scarfes Bar' you are instantly immersed in the character of the room. Named after The Sunday Times editorial cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, the renowned British illustrator not only provided his artistic vision for the bar, but it displays his entire collection of artwork.

Gerald himself described it as:

my personal art gallery, where you can see my life on walls

The artwork is constantly changing with whatever is current in world affairs. The bar has a "members only" lounge feel, with beautiful wooden herringbone flooring, over-sized hand-woven rugs and a huge focal fireplace at its heart. The bespoke fireplace stands at 1.8m high and is made from metal, antique brass and bronze whilst featuring a walnut art deco mirror. An eclectic mix of velvet armchairs, intimate tables and shelves stocked with over 1,000 antique books, hand-picked by a Portobello antiques dealer, create a warm drawing room atmosphere.

Designed by renowned interior designer Martin Brudnizki, 'Scarfes Bar' features 1950’s antique cocktail chairs, custom made bar stools inspired by an original Edwardian armchair and even a lollipop rocking chair sourced in New York from 1870.

As I sat by the fire drinking my ‘Sense of Place’ gin and tonic, I could imagine the executives of the legal professions of Holborn drinking in an establishment like this when the building was first constructed. The atmosphere is further enhanced by live jazz, blues and cabaret acts during the evenings.

As I moved across the carriage way, at the opposite side is the 'Holborn Dining Room', a grand brassiere in a traditional British style which was the former East Banking Hall. Reclaimed oak, antique mirrors and statuesque columns are combined with red leather banquettes with tweed detailing.

The bar and dining counters are finished in beautiful patina copper, whilst the bar itself features a large brass drinks display inspired by a Victorian hospital trolley.

On the subject of drink, the 'Holborn Dining Room' features the 'Gin Bar' London’s largest collection of gin, quite a statement with the popularity of the gin industry in the UK.

Adjoining the 'Holborn Dining Room' is the 'Holborn Delicatessen' a cute little space offering takeaway hot drinks, soups, salads and pastries. Every week day from 4pm-7pm the deli is transformed into a boutique wine, cheese and chocolate shop.


ACCOMODATION

Moving to the upper floors and in particular the guest rooms and suites, guests can either take the elevators, or in my opinion, the best way is via the iconic Italian Grand Pavonazzo marble staircase.

The staircase features seven different types of marble, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world, underneath a 166 ft cupola.

Rosewood London offers 262 guest rooms and 44 suites. Rooms also designed by Tony Chi and Associates, like much of the public areas, are styled to reflect that of a British residence offering “privacy, warmth, quality and nobility”

All rooms feature high quality materials such as luxury linens, lacquered, textured wood veneers and prismatic mirrors, while the bathrooms feature Italian marble and hand beaten alpaca silver finishes.

What makes the Rosewood London extra special though are the eight signature suites or ‘Houses’ as they are defined. All 'House' suites are individually designed and totally unique, varying in size from 60 to 585 sq mt.

Each one of these unique 'House' suites feature marble and smoked oak flooring and black lacquered paneling that took a lengthy eight coats and two weeks to complete. These suites feature bespoke high quality materials throughout, such as custom made furniture, hand-knotted rugs and horse-hair upholstery.

Two of my favourite 'House' suites have to be' The Garden House Wing' and 'The Manor House Wing.'

'The Garden House Wing', located on the top floor of Rosewood London, is a stunning suite covering 347 sq mt of living space, featuring five bedrooms and its own outdoor roof top terrace.

With its position on the 7th floor, the outdoor terrace enables guests a view over the London skyline, complete with a dining table seating six and a lounge area for those summer evening cocktails.

The suite also features an indoor dining room, den and pantry. The spacious living room is sumptuous with aged brown leather wing back armchairs, velvet damson sofas and ornate Oriental style lacquered furniture.

Elegant upholstered walls and rugs in taupe hues soften the masculine look of the smoked oak flooring, whilst soft warm lighting creates a real homeliness to the suite. The giant 52″ TV, a Geneva sound system throughout with iPod/iPhone connectivity and wireless telephones all add to the residential feel to the suite.

'The Garden House Wing' boasts marble bathrooms with TV and powder rooms and hand beaten alpaca silver vanities. Fine Italian bed linen is featured in all of the sleeping quarters, which compromise of the master bedroom, three deluxe king rooms and a junior suite.

The most lavish and impressive suite at Rosewood London has to be 'The Manor House Wing', a palatial 585 sq mt residence featuring its own private entrance and elevator and is the only suite in the world to have its own postal code.

Set privately on the second floor, 'The Manor House Wing' has seven bedrooms including the master bedroom, five bedrooms with king-sized beds and an additional room with the option of one king-sized bed or two depending on the guests preference.

The suite offers a large formal living room with state of the art technology and also two smaller additional living areas, if the family are getting that little bit too much. A sophisticated dining room which seats ten, a pantry and kitchen area along with a “carefully curated wine selection” in a temperature-controlled wine fridge, are also part of 'The Manor House Wing.'

Bedrooms feature personalised Rivolta bed linen and bathrobes, whilst in the six bathrooms and three powder rooms, all feature the highest quality fixtures and fittings such as TOTO bathroom facilities.

The master bathroom has a breathtakingly huge freestanding circular marble bathtub with a built in TV, a waterfall feature, underfloor heating and his/her vanities.

If all this hasn’t impressed you, though I’m not sure how it hasn’t, the suite comes complete with a full complimentary mini bar with 'Fortnum and Mason' products, a daily selection of newspapers and magazines, fresh fruit and treats and flowers from the über flash London florist, McQueens.#


So there you have it, Rosewood London is an exquisite property, carefully restored to its originally historic glory with a sumptuous interior design with “home” at its core.


I know next time I’m in London I’ll be making a little stop at Rosewood London for my ‘Sense of Place’ gin and tonic and maybe a little cuddle from Pearl (that’s the hotel dog remember).


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