Explore The Marylebone, London's ultimate secret retreat
The Marylebone in London's West End is on of the area's most welcoming hotels
Think of a grand London hotel and the obvious candidates spring to mind – The Dorchester, The Ritz, The Connaught, and so on. Fine places all but if you’re looking for somewhere a little more under- the-radar but no less special, then take a trip to the ‘village’ of Marylebone. This area of London has emerged as a go-to destination over the last few years – call it the Chiltern Firehouse effect – but it’s somehow retained its charm. From quirky independent shops, such as the brilliant Daunt Books, to a cute little Sunday farmers’ market – this is the sort of central London area where people actually live, rather than just visit.
And while the Marylebone Hotel is fairly big, at 257 rooms (including 44 suites), it has also managed to keep the feel of a more boutique offering. It starts with the smart decision to use local designers for the furnishings and to display works of art sourced from the nearby Rebecca Hossack Gallery. The result is a soothing palette of colour and texture, perfect for welcoming weary travellers on arrival.
Our suite was similarly well-appointed and set on the corner of the hotel, allowing us to do some people watching across two adjoining streets. e feeling of being in a bustling village, while sipping a glass of champagne from our second floor viewpoint, was a rare, tranquil treat. As we were travelling with kids, the hotel had even set up some milk and cookies in the room (they didn’t last long) and built a mini-teepee bed in one corner. Somehow two kids slept happily in there all night, despite the fact I suspect it was just meant for play.
We investigated the pool too, as guests have free access to the on-site third floor Space health club, which has a gym (including climbing wall), 18-metre swimming pool and health and beauty treatments. Although handy to have available, the pool is really for those doing laps and, despite children being allowed at certain hours, I got the feeling that those using it would have been happier had two kids not been splashing around in the shallow end.
The final part of the package was, however, frankly awesome. A special deal that the hotel has struck with Hamley’s – Britain’s most famous toy shop – saw our children visit and receive a personal guided tour of the whole store by an engaging guide, culminating in a free gift. It’s like every kid’s Willy Wonka fantasy come to life and worth booking the hotel for this alone.
If available, reserve the vast Marylebone Suite with its huge cedar-clad terrace featuring a retractable roof, outdoor television and fireplace. This exterior space reminded me of a sophisticated ski chalet, while the interior managed to combine homely and luxe in one satisfying package. And at £3,500 a night it does, in fairness, compare favourably with the cost of other high-end suites in London’s best hotels. Try it now and grab those essential holiday bragging rights before others wise up to the stealthy charm of this superb hotel.