by Telegraph Luxury Travel Editor and John O’Ceallaigh, The Telegraph, June 14, 2019
If 2019 follows the lead of 2018 to become yet another summer scorcher, then the most seductive hotel suite in London could turn out to be the Rosewood Hotel’s Garden House. This lovely penthouse has an expansive private roof terrace perfect for intimate gatherings and al fresco dining, and offers an unexpectedly sweeping panorama of the city’s ever-expanding skyscrapers.
It’s not just the gold “Garden House” signage that sets this suite apart from the other rooms on the seventh floor of Rosewood London. Etched onto wallpaper, a tangle of flowering branches envelops the door; to the side is a silver owl on a perch. They provide the first suggestion that something pastoral may be in store.
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Guests enter the lounge, which, like the rest of the suite and hotel, was designed by Tony Chi. The Taiwan-born, New York-based designer did an excellent job of the entire property – although it debuted in 2013, its interior is still one of the most stylish of any luxury hotel in the city – and his garden shed really has the feel of an unusually chic cottage that somehow planted on a London roof.
Despite its size, the huge TV in the lounge is discreet and surrounded by a mirror. Instead, and more appropriately, the focus of my visit was the profusion of perfectly white hydrangeas that overflowed from a vase in the center of the coffee table.
On the right is the sleek bathroom, marble tub next to a marble walk-in shower, and Czech & Speake toiletries scattered around. Next up is the bedroom – smaller than expected – but comfortably furnished with Italian Rivolta Carmignani linens and embroidered pillowcases, followed by a walk-in closet with a dressing table.
As often seems to be the case with luxury travel, things rise when guests turn left instead. The hallway leading to the dining room has been converted into a drinking corner. A banquet on one side conveniently leads to a counter that is loaded with all kinds of spirits, and next to it a large refrigerator with non-alcoholic drinks and mixers. (The latter are free, while the first choice is two gins and one whiskey.)
On colder days, the dining room is a cozy place for long lunches or lazy evenings when the many shiny books are piled on the shelves – but those who book the suite can count on good weather.
A door next to the dining room leads to the suite’s terrace, and while I’m not sure it extends up to the 60 square feet, the Rosewood team claims it is an inviting, eclectic space, surrounded by bushes and with an unexpectedly impressive Views of the city skyline and a host of notable landmarks stretching from the Shard to the Tate Modern to the London Eye.
What to expect
London’s top hotels are full of fluffy supersuites and long-stay Anodyne residences. One of the strengths of Rosewood London’s Garden House Suite (and the nearby Manor House Suite, which is larger but doesn’t have any outdoor space) is that it’s easy to think of as a home away from home.
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Much of this is thanks to Tony Chi’s masterful eye for design (as evidence that Rosewood’s Chef Honchos continue to love his work in London, just take a look at their newly opened flagship in Hong Kong – he’s been brought to clarify that too) . But it’s also the attitude and the service.
While Holborn wasn’t seen as the obvious setting for a luxury hotel in 2013 – and some would say that hasn’t changed – the suite’s rooftop terrace offers a panorama that will be completely unknown and unexpected even to lifelong Londoners. Guests with friends in town will no doubt want to arrange an al fresco drink or dinner – the outdoor dining table for six is just the right size for intimate get-togethers.
Here, too, service has made leaps and bounds over the years. Every booking of a Garden House Suite includes butler service around the clock. Our French participant Serge has found exactly the right balance between personable and professional and has unexpected skills: After having worked in the New York bar scene for several years, he is happy to be recruited to serve cocktails to your guests on your temporary roof.
There are only a few shortcomings that can easily be corrected in places. For some unfathomable and frustrating reason, our group was unable to connect to the suite’s speaker system via bluetooth. For dinner, our Spotify playlist was instead streamed over a mobile phone. The listed status of the building is less easy to fix and means that the space allotted to the bedroom is surprisingly squat. Guests who are used to staying in the best suites in a hotel will be used to being much larger.
Without question the terrace. On warm summer evenings, it’s a particularly nice place for sundowners, maybe a few crisp G & Ts that your butler will prepare in no time.
Not that spicy
Though comfortable, the bedroom lacks the wow factor.
This pretty Holborn-Bolthole has always been around to business and recent improvements to its F&B offering have also improved its position on London’s Best Hotels lists. The mirror room is the setting for casual all-day dining and a clever, art-inspired afternoon tea (its delicious sweets and pastries are currently a tribute to Van Gogh). Scarfes Bar’s inventive cocktail list pays homage to an eclectic selection of singers and musicians, from Prince to Pavarroti. While there’s no pool and relaxation options are limited, the basement spa has a good range of well-administered treatments.
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The hotel is just a minute’s walk from Holborn underground station and is well located for visiting the British Museum and Sir John Soane’s Museum. Covent Garden and Soho are within walking distance; Mayfair and Bond Street are easily accessible by subway or taxi.
Rosewood London’s Garden House Suite costs from £ 10,000 a night. Rooms at Rosewood London (+44 (0) 20 7781 8888) start at £ 420.
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This article was written by Telegraph Luxury Travel Editor and John O’Ceallaigh of The Telegraph, and is legally licensed through the NewsCred Publishing Network. Please direct all license questions to [email protected]
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