The 373-room Hotel Russell is massive by London standards, and its grand Victorian architecture complements the hotel's scale. Rooms blend contemporary style with period detail, but don't quite live up to the expectation set by the common spaces; some are tiny and have old tube TVs. The hotel appeals mostly to couples and business travelers, with its historic character and numerous event spaces, and the location in central Bloomsbury is excellent. But it's also worth considering the nearby, and comparably priced, Ambassadors Bloomsbury.
With its sculpted ceilings, grand archways, giant marble columns, intricate mosaic tiling and looming crystal chandeliers, Hotel Russell is ornately styled and packed with beautiful Victorian features.
The grand decor is certainly not subtle: The tri-colored marble in the lobby and patterned carpet on the stairs may feel a bit overwhelming to some. And though the hotel's blend of traditional and modern styles is mostly successful, the strange pop music playing during our visit seemed ill-suited to the setting.
The modern glass reception desk is tucked neatly to the side of the lobby, and its dark wood surface helps it to blend in with the more classic surroundings. The glass motif is repeated in some bedrooms, where oak and patterned glass headboards stand out as a unique feature. Overall, though, the rooms are decidedly less impressive than the common spaces.
A two-minute walk from Russell Square tube station, in the heart of Bloomsbury
The local neighborhood of Bloomsbury, which stretches from Euston Road at its north border to Holborn at its southern border, is most famed for its strong literary heritage: The Bloomsbury Group, active throughout the 20th century, was an intellectuals’ collective that included notable members such as Virginia Woolf, and together promoted modern attitudes toward feminism, pacifism, the nature of consciousness, and sexuality. Other notable residents of the area included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Bob Marley, and William Butler Yeats. Bloomsbury also houses a lovely array of garden squares, as well as the simultaneously fantastic and odious British Museum, where you can view centuries’ worth of relics from all over the globe -- collected primarily as a result of British colonialism.
Stroll through the area now, and you will notice a vague mixture of academics, doctors, tourists, and businessmen -- a direct consequence of the central location, and the presence of nearby hospitals and esteemed academic institutions such as the London School of Economics. Bloomsbury also conveniently borders Covent Garden and Soho on the south, the West End shopping district on the west, great dining options in Clerkenwell on the east, and national and international rail connections via King’s Cross on the north.
8-minute walk to the British Museum
15-minute walk to Covent Garden
9-minute bus ride to Tottenham Court Road station and Soho
9-minute tube ride to Piccadilly Circus station, Piccadilly Circus and theatre district
11-minute tube ride to Green Park station, including Mayfair, and Buckingham Palace
13-minute tube ride to Hyde Park Corner station and Hyde Park
14-minute tube ride to Knightsbridge station and shopping district including Harrods
14-minute tube ride to Bond Street Station and West End shopping districts including Selfridge’s
16-minute tube ride to Embankment station, including Trafalgar Square, and the South Bank
21-minute tube ride to Notting Hill Gate station, Notting Hill, and Portobello Market
21-minute tube ride to Westminster station, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, and scenic walks along the Thames
Tempus Restaurant serves modern European cuisine in a classic period setting. Ornate brass chandeliers, giant marble columns, and beautiful sculpted ceilings are impressive. The restaurant was orinigally called Fitzroy Doll's, named after the architect who designed the dining room, as well as the nearly-identical dining room of the RMS Titanic.
Tempus Bar provides a stately setting to enjoy your favorite cocktail, with oak-paneled walls, traditional leather seating -- just ignore the tacky green-and-rose carpeting.
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