The gal loves colour. But explanation is necessary. Black is too much in hotel bedrooms – please will luxury hotel owners, and self-important designers, take note. Any shade of brown from light tan up is rather masculine. Tone the hue down to milk chocolate and, even more acceptable, taupe, and good marks begin to become appropriate. Favourites for both sexes, probably, are bedrooms that allow the personality of the guest to be dominant, rather than the other way round (does anyone remember the short-lived Missoni Edinburgh which was stripes and blobs and every colour under the sun?). There is always the opportunity for the colour-deprived designer to go mad elsewhere, as here in an elevator at One Aldwych London, which has been a hit hotel ever since it opened in 1998.
The 105-room hotel‘s designer, brought in by developer Gordon Campbell Gray, was Mary Fox Linton, whose team member Martin Brudnizki has gone on to do great things in his own right. There have been many innovations here, from the start. Bedroom safes are, as sometimes in people’s own homes, hidden behind wall paintings – here, not so much to hide from raiders as to be more pleasing to the eyes of hotel guests. Public areas are so clever. A mammoth full-size sculpture of a single-scull oarsman, by André Wallace, adorns the cheese wedge-shaped lobby (the triangular building was slotted into a compact site, in 1907, by architects Arthur Davis and Charles Mewès, who also did The Ritzes in London, Madrid and Paris). Amazingly, no-one ever seems to bump into the full-length oars that soar above the Wallace piece. I love the ladies’ washroom, with sculpted washbasins and my favourite orchids, white of course.
The hotel‘s 2015 Christmas tree is white, a confection of little bird-houses and birds within. It was put up overnight by the One Aldwych florist, around a metal frame. Afternoon long, happy families with kids go Oooh and Aaah as they are brought candy floss lollipops as part of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon teas. They do clever things on the food side here. Under the guidance of imaginative chef Dominic Teague they introduced an all-gluten-free menu in Indigo, lunch and dinner. Yes, no-gluten breads, and fish and chips, and sauces and chocolate desserts … they ran with this menu for FOUR MONTHS without telling anyone. There was no sign on the printed menu. During those four months not a single diner noticed or commented. Then, two weeks ago, they announced that Indigo was now gluten-free (apart from breakfast, which offers alternatives).
This sensational fact was picked up by media in an enormous way and, thanks to ‘likes’ and other social media postings the luxury hotel’s GM, Kostas Sfaltos, says that last Saturday evening the 66-seat restaurant did 140 covers and week-long lunch and dinner are now fully-booked. One other idea here at One Aldwych, by the way, is to book a local walk around nearby Covent Garden with the hotel’s friendly certified tour guide, Sophie Campbell. Build up your bank of calories used so that you can enjoy a gluten-free chocolate dessert when you can get a table at Indigo!