“Brash and brave, this designer hotel has gone from car park to über-cool London haunt for celebs and fashion icons”
The Soho Hotel has kept some of the grand, gutsy features from its previous incarnation as a city car park. There are pebbled pillars dotted about the restaurant and reception areas, and all bedrooms and suites feature distinctive floor-to-ceiling leaded glass windows facing traffic-free mews. Owner Kit Kemp’s trademark padded headboards, fabric wallpaper and matching mannequins are here; and she has decorated every room with a different print-and-tint scheme. The results are some of the classiest sanctuaries in the city.
Rooms ascend through the categories according to size and bed type. All have sitting areas with patterned upholstered chairs; one Luxury Room particularly caught our eye with its pinstriped black felt wallpaper and cerise silk bedspreads. Deluxe Terrace Rooms add a breath of fresh air.
We stayed in one of the airy Luxury Junior Suites with pastel-green walls and flower-printed linen drapes that framed a wall of windows. We couldn’t decide which was more comfortable - the squishy sofa with polished cotton cushions, or the lofty bed stacked with puffy feather pillows and clothed in fine Frette linen. The Deluxe Junior Suites are slightly more spacious, but all Junior Suites have double basins, Kit Kemp toiletries and walk-in showers in the oak and granite bathrooms.
The wow-factor really kicks in when you head up to the fifth floor. This houses the 2 terraced Penthouse Suites, one in warm caramel tones, the other in vibrant green. We were struck by the sophisticated One-Bedroom Soho Suite with its grey-and-taupe tones, retro cast-iron fireplace and canopied bedroom with a balcony where you can see over Soho rooftops to the London Eye. Equally impressive are the views from the Two-Bedroom Terrace Suite, the largest of all, with a living room in pink hues and a remarkably deep bathtub for 2.
All rooms are well-kitted with modern technology from flatscreen LCD TVs to Tivoli radios, plus high-speed WiFi and telephone voice mail for those who don’t use a hotel room to hide away from the world.
With its long colourful mural depicting, in a nod to Soho Hotel’s former life, the history of the automobile, the ground-floor Refuel bar draws the evening cocktail crowd; its adjoining restaurant keeps them there, with a kitchen serving modern European cuisine until midnight.
We were early diners so there were some empty tables but that meant the young waiting staff were attentive - they let us try several rosés before we settled on a fruity South African to accompany our supper. Seafood starters were tasty: smoked salmon blinis with caperberries and Sevruga caviar and seared scallops with marinated beets. There were appealing meaty mains such as fillet mignon, braised oxtail and roast Suffolk chicken with gorgonzola cream (and some vegetarian dishes), but we opted for more ocean fare: chargrilled monkfish and tuna steak with salsa verde.
At breakfast a big spread of seasonal fruit, yogurt, cereals and pastries is laid out on one of the tables. You can also order a hearty cooked English breakfast or go Scottish with raspberry and heather honey porridge laced with Glenmorangie whiskey.
You're in Soho's restaurant hub so there are plenty of other eateries to choose from for lunch or dinner. Round the corner is Marco Pierre White's former flagship, Quo Vadis, with its superb 1920s stained glass windows and leather banquettes, in keeping with its clubby trad Brit menu. Designer Japanese can be found at Aaya; Café Boheme is a perennial French bistro fave. Check the frequently updated folder in your room for more recommendations.
Children are very welcome - mini-bathrobes and kids toiletries are supplied, and milk & cookies are provided at bedtime. The concierge can arrrange tickets for kid-friendly shows.
All rooms can take a baby cot (apart from Superior and Luxury Room), and many of the suites can host a family of four. Interconnecting rooms are also available
Available by arrangement
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Children are welcome in Refuel, the hotel restaurant