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Long Bar, Sanderson hotel

Starkly original design in a 21st century hotel that feels like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ directed by Jean Cocteau. Just be prepared for a party vibe in the bar.

In 2000, the combination of Ian Schrager, Philippe Starck and a classic modernist Grade II-listed paint showroom proved a seriously winning mix, but how is it holding up 16 years on? The short answer: pretty well, thanks to Starck’s originally smart but whimsical design throughout a space that takes in starship-themed lifts, barely visible portraits of dogs and arty wall lights behind full-length silk curtains, and exuberantly rich touches like John Piper’s soaring stained glass wall in the regal billiard room.

The rooms, in a pared-down palette of silver, dove grey and lemon, are similarly ethereal, especially when cool green lighting spills out of the huge glass-box bathrooms. Here too an off-kilter ambience is created by silver sleigh beds, fittings set at odd angles, and Starck’s sculptural dumbbells for XO mounted on the walls. The spacious rooms aren’t quite perfect – noise from the Long Bar and courtyard leaks in – but they’re close to it, especially if super-comfortable kingsize beds, crisp white linen, great products, smartphones and an impressive number of premium channels are what make you happy in a hotel.

At weekends, the Long Bar and its outdoor courtyard garden become the party spot for international bright young things from as far afield as Moscow, Tel Aviv and, er, Essex. However they don’t intrude too much on the adjacent restaurant, which serves modern British food as well as a great breakfast, and in any case wise residents head for the Purple bar to sit in a tiny, jewel-like space from which the hoi polloi are excluded. Open until 3am, it’s a space in which to feel cosseted and privileged in equal measure – rather like the Agua spa. Here, white silk curtains help divide a lofty space into heavenly white relaxation rooms and ‘pods’, while upstairs, 14 treatment rooms offer a wide range of treatments by brands including Natura Bisse, Eve Lom, Nuxe and Ciate. Like the rest of the hotel, it’s original, different, and enjoyable enough to make you forget both the teeming masses on nearby Oxford Street and the vociferous hordes in the bar.

Time Out tip
The tiny Newman Arms on Rathbone Street is a godsend in an area where eating and drinking well can be tricky. Here, you can do both in an eighteenth-century pub which also appeared as a location in Michael Powell’s 1960s 'Peeping Tom'.

By: Yolanda Zappaterra


Venue name: Sanderson
Address: 50 Berners St
Transport: Tube: Tottenham Ct Rd/Oxford Circus
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Average User Rating

4 / 5

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I walked straight into the bar to the restaurant and straight to where my friend was seated in the restaurant. No-one batted an eyelid and even bothered to ask where I was going. We luckily had a voucher for which we were entitled to 50% of the menu so we decided to have a full 3 course meal! We shared 3 small plates between us: butternut squash standing, salted beets (which were delicious with the bread on the table and my favourite small plate) and the kale crisps (these were quite greasy I felt but my friend really enjoyed them).

For mains I had an interesting take on a cesar salad, which came with beautifully cooked broccoli and kale. We shared a side of roots which was roasted carrots and parsnips which were pleasant to cut through the richness of the ceasar salad dressing.

Although we were stuffed, we powered on to order dessert. It was a chocolate dessert that came with poached pears and ginger bread. The accompaniments to the dessert were definitely a highlight of the meal.

It was excellent value for money with the voucher however if I'd gone on a normal day it would have been an expensive feast! They also charged me for hot water and lemon...

After my initial issues with the service, all was forgiven when they started to serve the food as they were very attentive. We also discovered the Zen courtyard, which I will be returning to soon to have a few drinks in the sun!


Take a break from hell (Oxford Street) and treat yourself to a glorious cocktail from here. The decor kind of resembles the 1978 depiction of Krypton in that Superman film (i.e trying to be contemporary but actually just a bit naff and dated), but the general setup of the long bar has an awesome buzz and is perfect for people watching.


Visited the Purple Bar at the hotel, what a hidden gem, had no clue this little bar existed. Beautiful and relaxing, felt as though I was a million miles away from the city. Very chic and dramatic decor with attentive staff. Drinks make it worth the visit.