The Arch London is a stylish haven in the heart of central London. Discover Britain pays a visit…
Tucked away on an elegant residential street a hop, skip and a jump from the bustle of Bond Street and the West End, the Arch London is a discreet, luxurious hideaway in the heart of the capital. The five-star property spans seven Grade II-listed Georgian townhouses and two mews homes but the welcome is so warm – and so warmly extended to the four-legged member of our family (the Arch is very dog-friendly) – that it feels like visiting a friend’s house. Inside, the sense of intimacy is maintained by the style: comforting English heritage blended with contemporary chic – epitomised perhaps by the presence of both an open fireplace and a moving art installation in reception.
The attention to detail prevails in the bedrooms. There is so much to enjoy: our suite had soft lighting and an elegant 1950s décor that made us feel as if we were in an episode of Mad Men. An enormous bed with duck down duvets and pillows dominated the bedroom, with classic British novels lining the walls (I tucked into Vanity Fair which seemed a fitting tale of Georgian luxury). Rare in central London hotels, a precious pocket of outdoor space featured a hammock chair and dreamy sylvan wallprint.
The Arch has 82 rooms including 11 suites, some of which, as well as private outdoor terraces, boast four-poster beds and stylish kitchenettes to accommodate longer stays. Soft drinks and water were free from the mini bar and our bathroom featured – surely the last word in luxury – a flat-screen television built into the wall above the bath. The “Maid Service” and “Do Not Disturb” signs were digital. Our pooch was offered a pillow, given a choice of different dog bowls and delivered a room service menu.
Food and drink
Fusing nostalgic glamour with contemporary touches, the Arch’s Hunter 486 restaurant features gleaming leather booths and a number of private “dens” with floor-to-ceiling silk voile drapes – perfect for romantic dining. Our meal started with homemade vegetable crisps (a house speciality) and exquisite cocktails in the bar. We had a choice of areas in which to dine: the restaurant, the Martini Library, where our dog could have joined us, or in the Salon de Champagne in one of the private booths. We opted for the latter sans pooch…
Named after the 1950s dialling code for Marylebone, Hunter 486 offers traditional British fare given a contemporary twist by head chef Gary Durrant. (Look out for this week’s specials in honour of British Pie week.) Hunter 486 is rightly proud of its stone oven, which operates at a high heat, producing particularly succulent meat and fish dishes. We started with crab cakes and the rare beef salad with winterslaw and horseradish dressing, one of the restaurant’s seasonal specials and deliciously tasty without being too filling. For our main courses we put the stone oven to the test with a roast whole sea bass in orange and rosemary butter, which was as succulent as promised and neatly filleted at our request, and the Rose County rib eye steak, which was exquisite. For pudding we shared the chocolate fondant with burnt orange ice cream and the coconut panna cotta with mango sorbet – both were divine.
Just moments away from Marble Arch, which was designed as the entrance to Buckingham Palace by John Nash in 1828 and moved to its current location in 1851, the Arch sits just off the northern edge of Hyde Park and offers dog-walking services to guests (though we preferred to explore the park ourselves). Close to Bond Street, Oxford Street and Soho and a mere amble from Sherlock Holmes’ neighbourhood on Baker Street, the hotel is perfectly positioned for exploring the sights of central London, but offers a peaceful haven to return to after a long day of sightseeing.
In a nutshell
Since our visit, TripAdvisor announced that the Arch London has been recognised as a winner in the 2016 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards, ranking ninth out of 25 among the best hotels in the UK. It comes as no surprise that the secret is out. Sublimely comfortable and stylish, but at the same time relaxed and relaxing, the Arch is incredibly warm and welcoming.
Nothing was too much for the attentive but friendly staff (so considerate is the Arch that floors are numbered one, two, three, and five, as four is considered unlucky in Asian cultures.) A current weekend break deal offers a minimum two-night stay, for both single and double occupancy, from £300 per night, including English breakfast each morning and afternoon tea.