GTW introduces a new regular feature – each month, we choose a hotel and restaurant in a UK city, both of which really are the very best of the best and come with our highest recommendation.
A contemporary five star luxury hotel in Covent Garden, One Aldwych is a perfect example of the ultimate in British style and comfort. It effortlessly combines the charms of a beautiful Edwardian building and traditional British hospitality values with modern designer fixtures and fittings, creating an overall feel of splendour without ostentation.
105 gorgeous rooms and suites, each with original artwork, fruit and flowers, are designed in line with the hotel’s philosophy of understated affluence combined with modern convenience. Feather and down duvets, fine white bed linen, iPod docking stations and televisions in the bathrooms show an attention to detail that gives guests a truly relaxing and enjoyable experience. Deep spacious bathtubs and a generous selection of luxury toiletries are another feature aimed at welcoming all those lucky enough to be staying. Personalised little touches such as the daily card in rooms informing guests of the weather forecast for the next day show that the management takes the comfort of guests seriously.
One Aldwych has two great restaurants, Axis at One Aldwych and Indigo, as well as the Lobby Bar which buzzes with a stimulating atmosphere every night. Other facilities include a beautiful chlorine-free swimming pool with underwater music, a state-of-the-art gym with personal trainers and eight meeting spaces. The staff throughout offer a sincere friendliness and excellent service without being overly obsequious.
Lounge at One is a fully serviced guest lounge offering the ultimate in comfort and convenience for guests. It has been designed in three distinct sections; the first filled with cosy sofas conducive to conversation and catching up, the second offers iPads, daily newspapers, magazines and books, while the third area is aimed at being perfect for relaxation, even offering neck and back massages. Complimentary nibbles and a dedicated host and concierge service complete the all-round quality of the lounge and the service offered.
HAWKSMOOR AIR STREET
The Hawksmoor restaurants have received many plaudits including ‘best steak in London’, but they continue to work hard to ensure they only provide the very best food and service. Hawksmoor Air Street has branched out slightly from the other restaurants in concentrating equally on seafood as well as steaks. All the restaurants serve solely beef from carefully chosen British farms, and Air Street’s fish comes fresh from Brixham market in Devon. Both the steaks and seafood are mostly cooked over real charcoal.
Hawksmoor’s dedication to the highest quality ingredients shows clearly in their menus, as they allow the meat and fish to shine through without complicating dishes or making them too fussy. Traditional British delights such as potted smoked mackerel and shrimps on toast are combined with more modern combinations such as shaved fennel and watercress salads and triple-cooked chips. The steak or fish is always the main event however; steaks are sold according to type and then weight, with the price often per 100g, giving customers an opportunity to perfectly match their meal with their appetite. Air Street’s philosophy of serving only the best is apparent in the knowledgeable and genial staff too. Waiters are only too pleased to have an opportunity to share information about the meat and fish and cooking methods, and make thoughtful recommendations based on customer preferences.
The cocktail menu is a real treat, resurrecting some long-lost classics and giving a modern twist to some traditional options. Worthy of a good hour’s study in itself, the menu groups cocktails according to an 1874 timetable which starts the day with ‘anti-fogmatics’, and moves on through pre-prandials and post-prandials. ‘Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew’ combines gin, homemade ginger syrup and lemon juice and is topped up with London Pride, resulting in a tankard of something like upscale ginger beer. ‘Garden Party’, meanwhile, mixes white port, redcurrant Campari and prosecco and stirs it with cucumber for a refreshing pick-me-up.