Amid a bustling district in London’s Covent Garden, Jennifer McShane finds the ultimate R&R experience at St Martins Lane.
Floor-to-ceiling windows encircling a too-generous bed with crisp, plush white sheets in my room at St Martins Lane remind me that I’m far from home. The city looks busy and vibrant below but, above, I feel cocooned in luxury.
“Everything starts with a blank canvas” are the first words I see on a writing pad, encouraging each guest to breathe, unwind and bask in their surroundings.
Do not be fooled by the compact exterior of this boutique hotel; my Loft Double Room is ultra- spacious with two double beds, ample wardrobe space and a deluxe bathroom boasting a large shower and bath that invites a languorous soak. Its standout, polished aluminium, teardrop-style lighting fixtures against the quirky leopard print carpet and LED colour- changing light cove make the space look ethereal and modern, yet feel cosy once the evening glow sets in.
At the oasis – a restful room above the streets of London at St Martins Lane. Rooms start from £250. morgans hotelgroup.com
Down in the lobby, adorned with some wonderfully playful decor (the life-size chess pieces are a personal favourite), we take a step back to begin our journey of tranquillity. Starting in The Den, a modern gathering place, or “decompression zone” as it’s fondly called, we sip refreshing gin and tonics all made with tongue-in-cheek British flair. Even the art on the walls has a nod to moments of cultural significance – Anne Boleyn scowls at us from a portrait where her head and neck don’t quite align. You can also indulge in afternoon tea if you aren’t partial to a tonic.
If, however, you do fancy a cocktail, you must visit Blind Spot at the hotel, a speakeasy that offers guests bespoke and signature cocktails bursting with flavours influenced by the British Empire and its ancient tea trade. You’ll find it at night, located in a hidden entrance, which only adds to the fun of the surroundings.
We decide to explore the locality rather than dine indoors – though the hotel’s revered Asia de Cuba restaurant is packed to the gills, even when we return in the early hours. Covent Garden comes alive at night and, though we could gladly lose hours discovering its nooks and crannies, dinner and a show are the orders of the evening.
Asia de Cuba
A stones-throw from our hotel, on St Martin’s Lane, Cote Brasserie (cote.co.uk) is a charming French eatery offering us a delicious pre-theatre menu (two courses, £12.95, three courses, £14.95) which, my companion says, has the best meat board he’s ever eaten as a starter. And should you fancy a post-West End tipple, the Covent Garden Cocktail Club (londoncocktailclub.co.uk) has the best daiquiri (served in a jam jar, no less), I’ve tried in a long time.
Returning to Dublin surprisingly fresh-faced, my whistle-stop trip affirms what I’ve always known to be true about the city: there’s no place quite like London.