Anyone with a penchant for both literature and London will be well aware of perhaps the city’s most lauded literary figures – The Bloomsbury Set. Made famous in the first half of the twentieth century by the heady days gone by of a collection of writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists, the area is steeped in a rich literary history, and – as home to the likes of The British Museum and Persephone Books – is one of my favourite places to spend a lazy afternoon, perusing its many independent bookshops. The recently re-opened Bloomsbury Hotel, carved out of a Grade II listed building on Great Russell Street, boasts and impressive entrance, leading to a stunning and stylish interior, that features a bustling bar, The Dalloway Terrace – a restaurant named after the eponymous character created by Virginia Woolf – a sumptuous sitting room complete with plush armchairs and a roaring open fire, and a fitness centre to boot.
As perhaps London’s most famed literary neighbourhood, it seems fitting that The Bloomsbury Hotel is nestled among the very streets that such authors used to walk. While just seconds from bustling Tottenham Court Road and New Oxford Street, the entrance offers guests a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, and is surprisingly tourist-free.
We stayed in a King Studio Suite which was the perfect fusion of sumptuous luxury and contemporary cool. With a generous Italian marble bathroom – complete with stand alone bath (and flat screen TV at the foot of the tub), walk-in shower, and double vanity unit – a writing desk, velvet armchairs, dark wood floors and designer wallpaper, guests can stay in the height of regal opulence at The Bloomsbury Hotel. We were greeted with a fruit platter, macarons and a bottle of champagne, which made for an extra-special stay in the heart of literary London.
Food and drink
The hotel’s Coral Room is a lively bar, and undoubtedly one of the most glamorous destinations in the city, whose high-gloss coral finish adds a touch of glamour to what is already a spectacular space. With high ceilings, bespoke chandeliers, antique mirrors and a marble topped bar, its menu features bar-bites, colourful cocktails and a premium list of British fizz. With friendly waiters on hand to offer table service, we enjoyed a champagne cocktail each before moving on to the Dalloway Terrace for dinner. Given the time of year (we visited in December), the terrace had been transformed into a picture-perfect winter wonderland and the tables were decked out with sheepskin rugs and hot water bottles, which made for the crème de la crème of cosy dining experiences. The food in the Dalloway Terrace – which focuses on British dishes and locally-sourced produce – is high quality and hearty with a polished finish. We dined on oysters and scallops, followed by grilled organic salmon and 28 day dry-aged Aberdeen Angus beef, finishing with a sumptuous chocolate fondant to share. We then retreated to the Bloomsbury Club Bar for a post dinner drink. A cosy, candle-lit corner, perfect for an intimate tipple or two, there’s live jazz every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and the literary-inspired cocktails are the perfect way to end the evening.
Breakfast is served in the hotel’s Club Dining Room as well as on Dalloway Terrace, and features an excellent buffet as well as everything from a cooked English breakfast to a highly-Instagrammable acai bowl.
Once London’s most fêted literary corner, the borough of Bloomsbury was made famous by the so-called Bloomsbury Set; a variety of literary and artistic personalities that included Virginia Woolf, and her sister Vanessa Bell, who relocated to Bloomsbury after the death of their father in 1904; with the likes of E.M. Forster and John Maynard Keynes joining later in 1910. The Bloomsbury Hotel pays homage to its rich literary heritage with thoughtful touches throughout its many rooms; from the well-stocked bookcases in the hotel’s stunning Living Room, to The Bloomsbury Club Bar, which, inspired by the lives of the famously hedonistic Bloomsbury Set, features a novel cocktail menu, with each drink named after one of the infamous literary heavyweights.
Given the unrivalled literary location of The Bloomsbury Hotel, guests are spoilt for chose should they want to peruse the shelves of a nearby bookshop. As well as well-known favourites Foyles and Waterstones just a stone’s throw from the hotel, there too are a wonderful selection of characterful bookshops within easy walking distance of the hotel. Try the London Review Bookshop for their 20,000-strong selection of books that are ‘intelligent without being pompous’, the pretty-as-a-picture Persephone Books, best-known for reprinting neglected mid-twentieth century fiction and non-fiction by (mostly) women writers or Jarndyce Antiquarian Books, a specialist bookstore named after the protagonist in Dickens’ Bleak House.
Worth staying in bed for
You might have London’s bustling streets on your very doorstep, but after enjoying dinner on the Dalloway Terrace and a literary tipple or two in The Bloomsbury Club Bar, why not opt for a night in bed with your nose between the pages of a book? Choose from one of Virginia Woolf’s best loved books such as To The Lighthouse, or Mrs Dalloway, or – like me – opt for some EM Forster – whose most popular tomes include A Passage to India and Where Angels Feat to Tread.
Useful information about The Bloomsbury Hotel
16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN
The district of Bloomsbury is London’s literary heartland, having been home to many famous authors & poets including Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster & John Maynard Keynes. Just minutes’ walk from The Bloomsbury Hotel you will find The British Museum (formerly the British Library), as well as many antiquarian bookshops, galleries and an array of eclectic cafés.
Rates at The Bloomsbury start from £295 on a bed and breakfast basis.
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