What’s it Like?
The curved ten-storey building is swathed in a glass “veil” dotted with tiny lights. Inside is a dark-walled entrance and, coming out of the lift, you are greeted by a huge glitterball display that leads around to the lounge and bar. The concierge desk is ahead and there are three reception desks to the right, next to which is a clothing and accessories store. The design is young and fun, aiming to reflect “the duality of British culture” – buttoned up versus buttoned down. As such, the lounge features interlinked sofas dressed with tartan, tweed and pin-striped cushions, and a floor-to-ceiling shelf unit in the shape of a Union Jack, upon which is displayed plates depicting attractive models in racy attire, along with lifestyle books and games. Next to it, the bar has a black wrap-around Chesterfield sofa, a parquet floor and open fires inside glass cylinders.
Where is it?
On the north-west corner of Leicester Square. This may not be the most salubrious part of London, but it is being re-landscaped and there’s no doubt this is a prime spot in the heart of the West End. Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus tube stations offer links to Heathrow and mainline stations.
There are 192 rooms in several categories. The majority are 26 square metres and differentiated by view, which ranges from Soho to Chinatown and Leicester Square. The rooms are modern and funky with a white, red, gold, silver and black colour scheme. They are cleverly designed to make best use of the space, most notably by eschewing a traditional bathroom for two mirrored closets holding the toilet and a superb rainshower. In the centre of the room is a long white bar with a sink at one end and workspace at the other, with international plug sockets and a media hub for linking your gadgets to the 37-inch flatscreen TV. Standard facilities include comfortable beds with 350-thread-count sheets, mini-bar, iPod dock, robe and slippers, safe, iron and ironing board, free sparkling water, Bliss toiletries, turndown service, 24-hour room service and Wi-fi (approximately R180 per 24 hours or free for Starwood Preferred Guest members – it is also free in the lounge). Suites (from 38 square metres) have a separate bathroom, most with large tubs, and a living area with a table for working at.
Restaurants & Bars
W lounge and bar is relaxed by day and buzzing at night – open until 02h00, it attracts a smart crowd on the weekend. It also serves food. Leading off from here is the glamorous, 70-capacity Wyld bar – access is by guest list only with a minimum spend of approximately R5700 for up to six people. It’s open 21h00-02h00 Sun-Wed, 21h00-04h00 Thurs-Sat. On the ground floor is Spice Market – open all day until 23h00 (23h30 Thurs-Sat), it’s a lively spot across two levels with black, red and gold décor. The cuisine is Asian fusion and the philosophy is to share, so dishes are placed in the middle of the table. I had a delicious meal. A good breakfast is also served here.
Business & Meeting Facilities
On the second floor are two meeting rooms that can be joined together to hold 60 people for a reception, and a 24-hour business centre with two computers. There is also a 39-seat screening room off the lounge.
On the sixth floor is a good-sized 24-hour fitness centre with gym equipment and a spa with five treatment rooms, a sauna and steam room.
A welcome, classy addition to the London hotel scene and Leicester Square in particular. The look is funky and the rooms are innovatively designed, although the lack of a traditional bathroom in the lower categories might not be to everyone’s taste. The restaurant is impressive.
Address: 10 Wardour Street, London, W1D 6QF, UK, +44 (0) 20 7758 1000, wlondon.co.uk