A terrific addition to Kit Kemp’s Firmdale portfolio, this block-size building (a private townhouse within the hotel can be rented) was designed by John Nash, the architect of Regency London. The public spaces are a delight, with Kemp’s trademark combination of contemporary arty surprises (a giant light-bulb affair over the library’s chessboard, a gothic little paper-cut of layered skulls above the tray of free afternoon canapés) and impossible-to-leave, bright, plump, floral sofas.
Wow-factors include the surprisingly bling basement swimming pool and bar (shiny sofas, twinkly roof) and the couldn’t-be-more central location. Rooms are generously sized (as are bathrooms), individually decorated and discreetly stuffed with facilities, and there’s plenty of attention from the switched-on staff. The street-side bar and restaurant are top-notch, the breakfast exquisite.