I went to this hotel for a night in the Summer, although I live in London, I stayed here as a treat for a friend of mine.
It was such a great surprise for him, he had no idea we were booked into somewhere so swanky.
The exterior is very discreet (no name at all) and the lobby is very glamorous - full of bizarre art objects, video screens and music. It felt very Miami as I'd been to the Delano in Miami and it reminded me a lot of that hotel.
Our room was gorgeous, really stylish with a predominantly white decor saved by a splash of lime. There was a huge bed, a funky white unit containing TV and mini-bar and a long table with chairs.
The bathroom has no door which is quite groovy but caused me some consternation as the maid knocked on our door while I was in the shower so was worried at revealing rather more than I'd have liked if she'd come in!!
The shower is huge though and that and the toilet are behind a frosted glass door. There are Agua products available and some storage space available.
The check in process was smooth and efficient and all the staff we met were lovely. They were happy to store our bags on departure for a few hours til we left for home.
The big star of our stay was our dinner in Asia de Cuba which is the in-house restaurant. Very glamorous and arty and apparently the haunt of celebs although we spotted none. The food is delicious but served in massive portions so although quite pricey - probably still good value.
We couldn't finish the shared dessert though but took it away in a doggie bag.
We also went into the Light Bar which is hotel guests and members only but it wasn't very jumping when we were there and the drinks were extortionate. It was also quite small - I was expecting something bigger. Bungalow 8 is in the building but we didn't try to get in there.
My complaints would be that everything is available - but for a charge. Mini-bar prices were shocking, they had various bits and pieces for sale in the room (t-shirts, full size products) but they were covered with warnings about if you remove the tags you'll be charged and it all felt a bit money grabbing. They offered to bring CD's or DVD's to your room but again for a huge charge.
We didn't have breakfast there as it wasn't included in room rate and was very expensive, we visited a small cafe next door that was good value and tasty.
One thing that was missing for me was the tea-making facilities. I know St Martins Lane is for the hip crowd but after a nights clubbing there is nothing better than a cup of tea or a pick-me-up coffee in the morning!!
Overall a very stylish hotel and definitely a great experience staying there
Imagine, if you will, a bare white room. Add a Scandinavian-style double bed with crisp white linen, a tall white unit set at a jaunty angle in the middle of the floor, a glass desk which lights up and a white plastic stool. Odds on, the room you are imagining has a door. Shut it and paint it white so that there is no clue that there is a door there. Welcome to your bedroom at the St Martins Lane hotel.
The St Martins Lane hotel is more than a hotel, its an experience. Part of the Morgans group of hotels it is known for its quirky nature which is aided and abetted by Phillipe Starcks rather unique designs
Situated in the heart of London, within spitting distance of the National Gallery, Leicester Square and Covent Garden, you could be forgiven for walking straight past the rather underwhelming entrance. The hotel exterior hides behind a 60s facade the gem that is inside. The presence of manicured shrubs and discrete doormen might just point you in the right direction and through the revolving doors but then again, like me, you might just walk straight past!
Then again, thats not a problem for most clientele. They will, of course, have been brought to the door by a chauffeur, who will fetch a bell boy, who will alert the receptionists, who will have you all checked in before youve even set foot on the pavement. This hotel comes at a price.
Reception service could not be faulted. Bookings were swiftly located and the needs of the guests ascertained. On subsequent visits to the desk one was greeted by name. Similarly, the concierge was superb. Simple tasks, such as the booking of cars and restaurant recommendations were met with enthusiastic responses which felt personalised. This hotel seems to know about service.
The reception area itself gives you a taste of what is to come. Large gold tooth shaped seats, gnome tables, chaise longs, oversized flowerpots and giant chess set the scene. Not forgetting of course the video doors immediately in front of you as you enter it may be an aquarium scene or the night sky, depending on the mood I wonder what lies behind. At night votive candles are placed throughout adding to the atmosphere.
Passage to the bedrooms, is, unsurprisingly, via lifts. These, though, are no ordinary lifts. Tiny video screens shoot pictures and sounds at you eclectic would be one way of describing them. Then again, you might just think that they are downright odd. Art is what I guess we are meant to call them!
Nothing in the hotel is quite what you would expect from a normal hotel. The room numbers are situated in the carpet outside of the doors rather than on (or by) the doors themselves. On entering the rooms you are greeted with a huge sense of space. In a deluxe king sized room youll find yourself in a hallway, opening to a closet and bathroom on one side and the bedroom straight ahead.
Theres a bit of a thing going on with doors in this place. Youll recall the video doors downstairs? Well forget the over the top treatment here! The closet has voile curtains rather than doors, the bathroom has no door. The toilet and shower are, however, screened behind frosted glass. The door to the actual bedroom is left open and with good reason. Its a plain white, frameless door, which, when shut looks rather suspiciously like the wall all a bit disconcerting in the middle of the night! Its like this with reason, however.
One of the selling points of the rooms is the mood lighting. In theory you can change the colour of the lighting in the rooms to suit your mood. In reality, there is a rotating filter, not dissimilar to early disco lights, which allows you to adjust the light just behind the bed. Rather than bathing your room in cool blue, mellow yellow, raging red or luxurious lilac youll get a bit of a hue running down the wall behind the bed .
Whilst were in the main bedroom, you may be astounded by the floor to ceiling plate glass windows. These are draped with voile also but how much fun is it to rip this back and be amazed at the drop below!
As with most hotels toiletries are provided in the bathroom. These are AGUA branded. For the uninitiated Agua is the name of the spa at the sister hotel, The Sanderson, just behind Londons Oxford Street. Its an even stranger experience, but more on that another time.
This is a hotel where anything is possible but at a price. A KitKat from the mini bar? Thatll be £4 Sir! A CD for the player in the jaunty white cabinet? Thatll be £25. There is a Tesco metro just around the corner, use that! A call to room service for some drinks elicited a swift response, but then so it should have for the price. A call to housekeeping for some fresh towels was similarly met with a positive response. Whats more, we had a choice as to when we wanted them delivered we were off out, so it suited us to have them later in the evening.
There are various options for dining within the hotel. Room service is swift and portion sizes are good. The prices? You guessed, extortionate! Our room service breakfast came to over £50 for one cooked breakfast, cereal, French toast with a berry compote, tea and juices. It was very nicely presented, arrived on time, was set up in the room on a trolley table with crisp napery and so on, but was it worth that much?
Breakfast in the restaurant is better value. A full cold English and Continental buffet is available which is discretely restocked at every opportunity. A cooked menu is also on offer and ordering off-menu is permitted.
For meals at other times of the day your best bet by far is the Asia de Cuba restaurant. This is a renowned restaurant in London frequented by the beautiful people. It produces Asian-Cuban fusion cooking in a way unrivalled by many. For lunch bento boxes are the order of the day (although a full menu is available). Afternoon tea is also taken with a twist of the East. Dinner though is really where this place comes into its own. Portion sizes are excellent, if anything they are too large. Prices are not as hefty as one might expect (having seen the KitKat for £4 in the room) but you wont get much change out of £100 for a basic meal for two with drinks. Its worth dining here just for the atmosphere, however. Bare bulbs hang from extra long wires above the tables, pillars are adorned with objects dart ranging from books to mini-tvs showing arty pictures, to flower pots to well its art! Dishes are designed for sharing, service is first class and presentation is to die for. The crispy calamari salad comes highly recommended to start. Leave room for dessert though not only are the desserts fantastic, they are works of art in their own right! Justice to this restaurant can only be done in a full opinion, however!
For drinking you have two options (other than room service); the Rum bar and the Light Bar. The Rum bar is situated at the entrance to Asia de Cuba. A rather odd little area, it features tall brushed chrome tables designed by Starck taking a pop at the traditional English pub. The tables are tightly packed, about 10 square and there are no seats. Odd, slightly uncomfortable, but strangely appealing. Service is slick and individual with the bulk of drinks coming from a rotating cabinet.
The more comfortable alternative to the Rum bar is the Light Bar. This is hidden behind those video doors I mentioned earlier. When the bar opens in the evening, the doors are replaced by a charming hostess at a podium and a rather burly bouncer. The bar operates a hotel guests and guest list policy. On a Friday and Saturday night it is packed full of those beautiful people I mentioned previously. It is possible to get on the guest list, a discrete call to the hotel will usually suffice. Its also possible to get in if you are not on the list, however, unless you are a guest, be prepared to be looked up and down before you are granted entry. If your face, clothes and demeanour dont fit, you wont get in, list or no list. Whilst this type of discrimination doesnt appeal to me I think I can understand why they operate such a policy. There is a buzz about the place which shouts money and good times. The Light Bar is, primarily a cocktail bar. An average of £15 will buy you a beautifully presented cocktail selected from a long list. The waitresses serve you at your table and are happy to recommend. This is a place to people watch, to sip slowly, and to remember that there is a real world lying outside of the bar.
The name of the bar derives from an extension of the lighting theory on display in the hotel bedrooms. The only difference is it works in the bar. Areas are bathed in different coloured lights and huge back and white prints by Jean Baptiste Mondino adorn the tall modern-vaulted walls. Top DJs take to the decks on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights dont expect the party to get going until at least 11pm though!
So, what do I actually think?
My husband and I had an absolute blast when we spent two nights here. We had a ball to go to one night in Kensington and this hotel provided the perfect pre and post ball setting. Friends we invited round for pre-ball drinks were equally impressed.
There were a couple of negatives, tired carpets in the hallways and a rather poor gym by London hotel standards but nothing that could spoil the trip.
The service was first class and could not be faulted. The atmosphere was great in the restaurants and bars. It was perfect for people watching. It really was an experience that was most unlike anything we had done before. Were not into the clubbing scene and we certainly dont count ourselves amongst the beautiful people but that didnt seem to matter. This was all about having a good time in comfortable surroundings and to hell with the cost.
Regarding cost do I think it was worth it? Absolutely! Id do it again which speaks for itself! I think that the room service items were a rip off but the price of the room, bars and restaurants were acceptable and not that far out of line with other London establishments. Id pay for the atmosphere alone.
Rates from approx. £200 to £800 per room per night.
- 45 St. Martin's Lane
London, England WC2N 4HX
- Tel. 020 7300 5500
- Fax 020 7300 5501
- UK 0800 634 5500
This was a special treat for our wedding anniversary!! We walked from Covent Garden tube station (under 5 mins.) and walked toward what was actually a rather shabby looking building. I joked to Hubby that the building with scaffolding was probably the hotel knowing our luck. Unfortunately it was! We checked in with a young man on reception who was very friendly and approachable (as seemed all the staff). I cheekily asked for an upgrade as it was our anniversary and he smiled and said we already have upgraded you. So there was a good start! We tried to check in at around 3.10 pm but our room was not ready. He asked if we would like to go in to Asia de Cuba for a complimentary drink. We chose to have the Raspberry and Champagne cocktails, very yummy. After being told our room was ready, we walked out of the restaurant towards the lifts, at which point I started running with the exciting prospect of seeing our room - unfortunately the waitress was running after me to ask for the bill to be paid (oh the shame!) I explained that it was complimentary and she was very nice, didn’t make me feel any worse than I already did, she just asked me to write my name on a bit of paper. The lifts were quite small, with little plasma screens showing grass blowing and playing ambient music, the lighting was green I think? All very pleasant. The room numbers are cut out of the carpet next to your door, they have a light shining on them, plus the guy at reception asked if we had been here before and when we said we hadn’t he had pre-warned us that floor numbers were located on the floor. We opened our door to a bright hall and a facing floor to ceiling window, we turned the corner to find on our left a beautiful, modern bathroom. Straight ahead was the bed area and another floor to ceiling window. Where shall I start? The bathroom? Okay…. You enter the bathroom, it’s all tastefully decorated. Minimalist, as was the bed
room. There was a huge free standing bath tub on the left (big enough and deep enough for two) above it was a mirror and a shelf with two votive candles on. The fixtures were chrome and came out of the wall into the long side of the bath (so you don’t have to fight over who gets the end with no taps!). Opposite the bath was the free standing sink with the same fixtures, mirror and shelf. The tiles were all stony coloured granite. Then at the end of the bathroom was a walk in shower and next to that a toilet (with phone) and fancy flush (you just touched the chrome circle). You got little Agua toiletries which were really lovely and you could buy the full size products if you liked (£20 a bottle though!) The bedroom was pretty much all white. The bed was queen sized and nothing special if I’m honest. In the corner of the room was wide screen tv, dvd and cd player and mini bar (extortionate don’t go near it! e.g. Flake £3.50, Evian small bottle £4.00 - there’s a Tesco 2 mins away, use that!). The other corner had a simple desk (which lit up) and Perspex chair. Unfortunately there was scaffolding all around our room but we still loved staying there. There were no builders, that would have been a huge problem! Our tv aerial was broke but they sent up an engineer promptly to fix it. The overhead lights on the bed were nice, you could turn the dial and choose any colour you like but you don’t have to have them on, there are plain lights if you prefer! Breakfast in bed was lovely and that was all we ate for the rest of the day, despite having it at 9.00 am, and I’m a big eater! So that was a result?! DVD’s are £11 a night to rent and they only really have older titles. We bought our own CDs to play. If you liked anything in the room, you can probably buy it. They have a price list in their in-room brochure. They also have (hidden behind a curtain, so it’s not in your face) a few litt
le go odies for sale by the bathroom things like candles, relaxation cd’s, sewing kit, disposable camera, shoe-shine kit etc. All very expensive, but like I say they are hidden away. We had a great time!!!
I was taken here as a suprise and you will not have another hotel stay like it. I will admit it was expensive although there are discounted rates around. All the rooms are different and as it was we made friends with a couple we met in the hotel, saw their room and it was COMPLETELY different. Plus they upgraded my room upon arrival for free as they found out it was my birthday. The whole decor and ambiance of the hotel is amazing, the lighting and furniture is unique. When you stay you MUST visit the restuarant Asia de Cuba which yes is above the average cost but then the food and service is also above average. Amazing stay and would definitely visit again for another special occasion. Plus it's proximity in the centre of the city makes it an ideal base for sight-seeing. Even if you never stay overnight, do go in for a cup of coffee, believe me, you won't want to leave!!!!!!!!!!