One Aldwych review


A luxury hotel in central London that’s perfect for families

With holidays having been off the radar for too long, I’m making the most of every opportunity to get away – even if it is just a short overnight break. There’s usually a dilemma though – opt for a pampering retreat that will leave you refreshed and ready for Monday, or go for a hotel in the heart of a city to catch up on a cultural fix, cramming in museums, theatres and galleries to make up for lost time?

Decisions, decisions. With the family split on what they wanted to do most, when we looked at our options, we realised that a central London staycation in a top hotel would offer the best of both worlds. And we could simply hop on a train and be there in 30 minutes, so no sitting stuck in a motorway traffic jam. Plus, with the absence of overseas tourists, it’s really quiet right now.

One Aldwych looked like the perfect choice for our stay. Bang in the heart of theatreland, it’s within striking distance of many of London’s best attractions. Plus, there is a lush spa and pool, it welcomes families, and promises super-luxurious rooms.

We checked in and were shown to a stunning corner suite with tasteful pastel décor, marble bathrooms (there were squeals of delight when the kids saw the TV screen over the bathtub), a large living area and two big bedrooms. We settled down on the sofa while we weighed up what we wanted to do during our stay – book into the spa for a swim? Absolutely. Make a reservation for afternoon tea – it’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed so how could we not?

And some culture? Anyone? It was a tough sell getting the family out of the gorgeous suite but with so many amazing places on the doorstep, it would be a shame not to make the most of the location.

Despite living in London for 20 years, there are many places that I’ve been meaning to see but never quite made it. Charles Dickens’ house is one of them – I have a bit of a thing for the smaller, quirkier museums. Tucked away on a Georgian terrace, this is where the author lived from 1837 and wrote some of his most popular novels including Oliver Twist. It’s an atmospheric spot, decked out in Victorian furnishings and well worth a look. The British Museum is also nearby – but we were eager to get back to the hotel for our reservation for the pool. The museum could wait until the next morning.

And what a pool – the tranquil basement space is so soothing, and there is a projection on one wall of an under-the-sea vista with fish swimming by. There’s also a sauna and a steam room. We could have happily whiled away the afternoon there.

After a leisurely early evening in our suite, we headed out into Covent Garden to explore – it had been too long since I’d been into this part of town. With theatres opening again, One Aldwych is the perfect spot for the big shows as it really is only a couple of minutes’ walk from several of the West End’s best.

One of the things I love about being on holiday is having a civilised breakfast while I pore over the Sunday supplements, drinking decent coffee. The breakfast here was divine. So many hotels do the traditional English and it can be found wanting. Here, every element was perfect. We greedily ordered extra hash browns, they were so good.

Having burned off some calories at the British Museum and a stroll around the shops in Covent Garden, we wandered back to the hotel for afternoon tea. This has to be the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The elegant basement space was filled with families and couples, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. The menu features some kids’ favourites for the sandwich course as well as some rather more adventurous savouries. My husband loved a salmon and beetroot macaron – I wasn’t so sure. There’s Swudge milkshake (mixed by waterfall), scones with snozzberry jam and ‘blue as a blueberry’ chocolate tart.

The cakes were superb – and we were all taken with the vast clouds of nostalgic candy floss sticks that adorned the cake box. The children also loved the mocktail trolley where they got to make their own drinks – sheer delight as they transformed a pink drink in a glass teapot into an incredible smoking concoction.

Back on the train home from Waterloo, it had been only a night away but it had felt like so much more. We loved One Aldwych – it’s a luxurious high-end spot but one that is utterly welcoming. We’d have loved to have stayed longer – there is a spectacular-looking bar and a restaurant – which you can combine for a Film & Fizz night in the private screening room.

Now, if only that suite could be our weekend pied a terre!

Classic Rooms start from £500 per night

One Aldwych will be fully reopening on Wednesday 9 June, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea will be available from Wednesday 19 May.


The top adventures on our wanderlist