Dean Street Townhouse, London
“If I wanted to show someone a really successful hotel room, I'd bring them here.”
Review by Fiona Duncan, published 4th March 2010.
If there were Oscars for hotels, then Nick Jones should get one for this near-perfect creation in Soho, home, as it happens, of the British film industry. Like the best sort of film, it is engaging, beautifully crafted and looks gorgeous. And like the best sort of film, I didn't want it to end and I want to see it again. It could even become a hotel version of "Doctor Zhivago", to which I returned nine times and from which I had to be helped, weeping uncontrollably, on each occasion.
Take the rooms. If I wanted to show someone a really successful hotel room, I would lead them here. Neither superficially trendy nor boringly traditional, they are cool yet timeless, soothing yet spoiling, decorated to reflect the Georgian town house that contains them. Either handsomely panelled or prettily wallpapered, they have huge, elegant beds piled high with pillows, and bathrooms tiled in black and white, with big bottles of Cowshed products, a bowl full of thoughtful extras, and deliciously soft bathrobes (not those heavy towelling ones that practically floor you when you put them on).
In the bedrooms, the period touches continue with a brass rack and rail for clothes (little else in the way of storage though: minus point) and silver containers for coffee, tea and homemade biscuits. The sideboard reveals a well-stocked minibar with complimentary milk and water, a kettle and coffee pot, hairdryer and straighteners.
The television, inset into the wall, has Sky Plus and there's a Bose iPod dock by the bed. My "Medium" room has a rolltop bath in an alcove, and a pot of grape hyacinths on the central table. "Old fashioned" (read sensible) touches include a Roberts radio, a manual alarm clock, a room key and good old light switches.
My tearful Doctor Zhivago moment comes in the late morning when I hear the dreaded words: "madam, we must ask you to vacate your room now".
You think I've lost the plot. But what cheers me about this place isn't just the moreishness of the rooms, but the fact that a brand new, seriously trendy city hotel, from the makers of Babington and Soho House, looks to the roots of hotel keeping, to the past, and to its surroundings, to create a place that feels glamorous, but also simple and without gimmicks. Robin Hutson, with Hotel du Vin, and Tim and Kit Kemp, with Firmdale Hotels, have already championed the trend; Jones and his partner Richard Caring are continuing it.
So how much does all this cost? Not too much if you're lucky – a few rooms sell each day for £95, reasonable by London standards, and the cost of the nearest Travelodge. They are tiny (literally: they are even called "Tiny"), but they are so sweet and cleverly equipped that you will not, for a moment, complain. Smallest of all is the Broom Cupboard, with spiral staircase: honeymooners will love it.
- 69 Dean Street, London W1 (020 7434 1775; deanstreettownhouse.com). Doubles from £95, excluding breakfast. Access is possible for guests with disabilities.
The Hotel Guru verdict
Superb, even the tiny ones
Proper: smart and courteous staff
The 'new-old fashioned' makeover works a treat
|Food and drink|
Top marks for food: “new old-fashioned” (again) British cooking – mince and boiled potatoes; ginger
|Value for money|
Not budget prices, but fair value