Hotel Review: The Arch London
Published: July 2010
I first visited the Arch Hotel at its opening party on a cold and rainy evening in January 2010. Back then, I remember the friendliness of the staff showing me around the rooms, the remarkable artworks, the glorious canapés and the flowing champagne; six months later I returned there to spend a night: the smell of fresh paint had gone, guests were chatting around the reception area and the bars, the staff seemed very confident and over all there was a much cosier and relaxed atmosphere. Once you walk through the lobby, the ultra-modern video installation above the reception area hints that this is no ordinary boutique hotel: art is everywhere; attractive modern sculptures and artworks from emerging London artists are dotted in every corner.
The Arch has been opened for just over six months now and in a short time it has gained quite a reputation amongst London’s hip hotels. This elegant property incorporating seven listed Georgian townhouses and two mews homes has 82 elegant and individually decorated rooms. Period features are present throughout the establishment and create a perfect blend of classic English style and contemporary chic.
Located conveniently in the heart of London’s Marylebone, near some of London’s best landmarks, the West End and the busy shopping areas of Bond Street and Oxford Street, the neighbourhood is surprisingly quiet: once in my room on the 5th floor, I opened the window to be faced with a surprising image of urban calm, the sun setting over London’s rooftops and chimneys.
The room is thoughtfully designed and every detail has been carefully planned to deliver aesthetic and functional impact. The use of rich textures and the bold pattern on the feature wall complement the organic colour palettes to give the room a warm and relaxing feel; besides the usual gadgetry you find in most 5* hotels these days (flat screen TV, iPod docking station, concierge and the likes), the room offers as standard the full Sky HD package, internet radio, a Nespresso coffee maker with a good selection of teas and coffee, in-house movie library and complimentary wireless internet – a rarity these days. These are all home comforts and recreating the home away from home feel is the key to this hotel’s success, something that many other hotels have tried to accomplish, but often ending up with cluttered spaces rather than functional, friendly environments.
This relaxed atmosphere permeates every other space in the hotel: The Martini Library, definitely my favourite area, is where afternoon teas and cocktails are served on lush armchairs, by the fireplace, surrounded by a great selection of art books, vintage furniture and striking artworks.
The dining and bar area, HUNter 486, mixes classic glamour and minimalism with its open plan kitchen where the chef and staff usually provide colourful, animated entertainment whilst cooking! The food meets expectations. There’s a well balanced and simple two-paged menu of British and European classic dishes with a modern twist. I strongly recommend the ballotine of chicken with mushroom duxelle, exquisitely presented and packed with flavour. But if bubbly is what you are after, there is also a stylish champagne bar: The Bar or Le Salon de Champagne.
After dinner I finally managed to drag myself to the room and sink into the comfy bed into a deep sleep... only to awaken a few hours later by a very early sun peeping through the blinds, which do not seem wide enough to block sunlight entirely. It didn’t matter: a hot sunny day in London is not to be wasted in bed, so I had the Sunday papers and a great full English breakfast delivered to the room and eventually headed out to enjoy the glorious day in the city.
Overall I am impressed by the level of detail that has clearly gone into every aspect of this townhouse hotel and its restaurant and bars: from the designer cutlery to the art pieces, London’s eclectic life seems perfectly mirrored within the walls of the hotel, with its quirky blend of classic and modern. If I didn’t live in London, I would happily adopt the Arch hotel as a secondary home.
Hotel Review: The Arch London
Paolo has been at Travel Channel since 2008 heading the Digital department, where he’s been responsible for the rebrand of the company's online presence in 2009, the launch of new regional websites, including a mobile website. Originally from Italy, Paolo is a passionate traveller, having explored over 35 countries in the past few years, enjoying diverse travel styles, from luxury to backpacking.
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