London’s Theatreland area can sometimes feel a bit stressful, with its scores of tourists rushing to get to the attractions. That said, there are some places that manage to combine proximity to the city’s hotspots with a calm, laid-back, luxury environment. Slightly set back from the hustle and bustle of St Martin’s Lane (the street that runs from Covent Garden down to Trafalgar Square) you’ll find one of those places: a hotel of the same name.
St Martins Lane Hotel‘s open, welcoming lobby—originally designed by Philippe Starck—has been newly renovated and features fun, whimsical gold-tooth chairs and giant chess pieces. On top of that, the service is attentive and friendly.
The keyword for the rooms at St Martins Lane—which have recently undergone a redesign by Tim Andreas of Banjo—is light. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the white rooms (which all feature a media hub sporting USB, bluetooth, HDMI and LAN capabilities) with hazy London light. The views from the deluxe rooms across St Martin’s Lane juxtapose the modern design of the hotel with the older houses outside its doors. There’s a slight futuristic feel to the interior design. One of the rooms’ features is an LED color-changing light cove, meaning guests can set the tone for the night by changing the hue of the room. The pale blue-meets-turquoise color set at arrival is cool and soothing, while a potted flower on the wall and leopard-printed carpet nod to the quirky design of the lobby—and ultimately stops the rooms from feeling too stark.
One of the nicest features are the bathrooms which, in the deluxe rooms, come complete with rainfall showers or baths, and have a relaxing wet room-look with white porcelain sinks, evergreen succulents and fragrant toiletries from Malin+Goetz.
Head downstairs for food at the Asia de Cuba restaurant (which recently also opened a New York outpost), where the elegant dining room features an abundance of books, making sure you never run short of things to look at or talk about. The restaurant’s Asian/Cuban mix makes for exciting eating, and the dishes live up to the hype—ceviches are refreshingly different from the usual Peruvian styles, and unusual dishes like the lobster mash are expertly executed.
The cocktail bar at St Martins Lane has undergone a major renovation and is no longer the Light Bar but instead Blind Spot. Gone are the pop-colors of the previous incarnation, and in its place is a darker, more cinematic space that makes full use of the elegant room. The entrance is hidden, speakeasy-style, behind a tea counter in the lobby. Cocktails feature unusual ingredients like nettle cordial, but assistant bar manager Claire Magnenet says that rather than go in for crazy presentations, Blind Spot focuses on the precision and quality of the ingredients. The result is a luxurious space that should appeal to both hotel guests and the Londoners walking by outside.
St Martins Lane is located at 45 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4HX. Rooms start at £269 and can be booked online.
Lead and Asia de Cuba images courtesy of St Martins Hotel, all others by Cajsa Carlson