by Kate Wills
  • 2 minute read
  • July 22, 2019
London’s Iconic One Aldwych Reopened In June With A New Look That Has Us Swooning

Step inside the lobby of the newly refurbished One Aldwych and the first thing you notice are the blooms. The impressively elaborate displays wouldn’t look out of place at Chelsea Flower Show, and call to mind the former glory of this London neighborhood—the site of the original Covent Garden Flower Market. These days, the vaulted glass ceilings of the marketplace have become one of the city’s hottest luxury shopping districts, and the neighborhood is more known for its theatres, museums and opera houses than for its orchids. But One Aldwych is keeping the floral tradition alive, with an in-house florist and fresh bouquets in each of its 102 rooms.

Interior views of One Aldwych

It’s just one of the individual touches that make this independent hotel a London institution. Originally opened in 1998, the distinctive, triangular building, which sits on the end of The Strand like a slice of ornate wedding cake, has had many incarnations over the years, most famously as the office of The Morning Post newspaper (the original sign now hangs over the entrance to the Lounge bar). One of the paper’s reporters was Sir Winston Churchill, and the site of the former printing presses in the basement is now the hotel’s dark blue, rectangular swimming pool.

My spacious suite feels elegant and modern, with billowing white drapes and a muted pastel colour scheme offset with copper touches. The bathroom is luxuriously spacious and features a marble tub you could get lost in and—the key to any happy relationship—two huge his-and-her sinks on opposite sides of the bathroom.

Interior views of One Aldwych

Part of the focus of the multimillion-pound redesign was to celebrate Britishness, so all the new rooms have British oak parquet floors, woolen throws by Skye Weavers and toiletries by Mitchell & Peach, the fifth-generation floricultural estate in Kent.

With over 400 artworks on display, One Aldwych gives the nearby National Gallery a run for its money. Alongside sculptures and paintings by rising contemporary stars such Joost Beerents, Emily Young, Justine Smith and Mimei Thompson, you’ll find pieces by more established artists, such as Cecilia Vargas and Richard Walker. And don’t miss the ‘Beano’ dog made of comics, who greets you in the reception, and the famous ‘Oarsman’ sculpture by Andre Wallace in the bar area.

The Indigo restaurant is as purple as its name suggests, with cosy leather banquettes, timber panelling and bronze lamps. The menu is seasonal British fare, such as Lancashire hotpot and Brixham mackerel. It’s the perfect place to dine before catching a show, which is literally on your doorstep.

Interior views of One Aldwych

A pleasing twist is that the grandfather of the present owner of Mitchell & Peach set up his fruit and vegetable stall around the corner in Covent Garden in 1922 and remained there until the market closed 50 years later. But it’s the view from the panoramic window that reminds you of just how much a part of London history this hotel is—the vistas stretch over Waterloo Bridge, Southbank and The City. Although this area of town has seen many changes since One Aldwych was built, this is a location that will never go out of style.

Images Courtesy of One Aldwych

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