Following the recent opening of the hip, stylish new ME London hotel across the road, you might expect to find One Aldwych – open as a hotel since 1998 – in midlife-crisis mode. But while it caters well to the demands of twenty-first century travellers, there’s no down-with-the-kids awkwardness here either.
Housed in an ornate Edwardian building that once served as the HQ of the MorningPost newspaper, there’s certainly a more mature feel to the place than its fresh-faced competitors. It’s conservative yet stylish – exactly how you might expect the home of a banker with a subscription to Wallpaper magazine to look.
The high-ceilinged lobby bar is an ideal spot to get a feel of the place – sipping a cocktail to the sounds of a live pianist as buses and taxis thunder past outside makes a great warm-up for a first-night wander around the West End, all of which is just a walk away.
For the crowd-averse, there’s good food on your doorstep – on-site restaurant Eneko is the first London venture for Michelin-starred Spanish chef Eneko Atxa, whose Basque-region dishes – though a little on the fussy side – will delight those who enjoy seeing simple ingredients transformed into dainty, exciting plates of food. Breakfast, meanwhile, is served on the mezzanine, and includes a first-rate full English, plus a larger-than-your-usual menu of hot and cold alternatives, including a dedicated section of gluten-free options.
Rooms are spacious and comfortable, though could feel a touch corporate were it not for the fresh flowers and the mix of abstract art hanging on the walls (the hotel has a collection of 400+ pieces). Thoughtful touches abound, with strategically placed little cards giving guests a heads-up on tomorrow’s weather forecast and nearby events and exhibitions they might want to check out.
Gimmicky high-tech touches may be thin on the ground at One Aldwych (the basement swimming pool with underwater music being the one exception), but this is one place where that can be counted as a positive. It’s not exactly old-school glamour, but this established luxury hotel is certainly ageing gracefully.
Time Out tip
The Courtauld Gallery, just steps away from the hotel, has one of London’s best collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings outside France.