St. Martin's Lane is a prominent design hotel with sleek, cheeky interiors by Philippe Starck and a fashionable A-list bar scene. The high price tags and inconsistent service are downsides, but the central location neighboring Covent Garden is a plus, as is the hip atmosphere. Luxurious rooms have stylish white decor and adjustable mood lighting.
Sleek, modern, and A-list trendy, with ironic Philippe Starck touches throughout
Billed primarily as a design hotel, St. Martin’s Lane sports a style that is instantly recognizable Philippe Starck: a blend of irony, fantasy, and Alice-In-Wonderland surrealism. Despite dramatic lighting, a lime green glass reception desk, the tallest front revolving doors in London, and oversized chess pieces paired with gold-gilded rococo armchairs, this Morgans Group establishment is actually less theatrical than its sister hotel, the Sanderson. Cheeky attitude still reigns in abundance, however, in the form of design pieces such as the ambiguously shaped bronze backside stools: It’s exceedingly difficult to tell whether the form is meant to evoke teeth molars or backsides, and whether the function is meant to be stool or mini coffee table.
Despite the quirky high design, the atmosphere is airy and pleasant: The dramatically soaring (not to mention fluorescent yellow) front revolving doors open into a sweeping central lobby, complete with shades of lime and lemon that punctuate pale neutrals and golds. Small touches such as the elevator TV broadcasting fluffy clouds and breezy bamboo leaves add levity.
Dim, dramatic mood lighting is present throughout the hotel, including in the upper hallways and the rooms. Humorous touches include the haphazardly arranged colonnade library in the restaurant, and the photography installation of giant faces in the bar.
Near Leicester Square tube station, smack in the middle of Chinatown, Covent Garden, West End theatres, and Trafalgar Square
Leicester Square and Covent Garden are prime tourist areas, with the former hosting many world film premieres, a number of cinemas, and London’s Chinatown. Evenings in Leicester Square can get a bit young and loud -- those looking for more tranquility and upscale dining and shopping should opt for the neighboring Covent Garden.
Just around the corner is Trafalgar Square, one of London’s most iconic public spaces. The architecture is virtually completely preserved from its original completion in 1845, all the way down to the four bronze lion statues guarding Nelson’s column (which, incidentally, Hitler tried to steal in 1940). When it’s not overwhelmed with dense throngs of tourists, the area serves as an official outdoor gathering space for protests, demonstrations, and performances – historically, the square was such a frequent site for expressing political discontent that water fountains were introduced in an effort to keep the public from gathering in too large crowds.
This area is exceptionally well-situated for exploring many of London’s major tourist sights, which can be easily reached by foot or a pleasantly short tube ride.
3-minute walk to Chinatown
3-minute walk to the National Portrait Gallery
4-minute walk to Trafalgar Square
5-minute walk to Covent Garden
7-minute walk to Piccadilly Circus theatres
7-minute walk to Embankment station and the South Bank
6-minute tube ride to Green Park station and Green Park including Buckingham Palace
9-minute tube ride to Oxford Circus station, including Carnaby Street and Oxford Street shopping
9-minute tube ride to Westminster station including Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, London Eye, and scenic walks along the Thames
9-minute tube ride to to Knightsbridge station and Knightsbridge shopping district including designer shops and Harrods
14-minute tube ride to Bond Street station and more West End shopping including Selfridge’s
21-minute tube ride to Notting Hill Gate station and Portobello Market
A sleek lobby space with the tallest revolving front doors in London, and access to Gymbox
Located just next door, Gymbox is a fitness extravaganza of sorts, sporting Olympic-sized boxing rings, laser-lit dance studios, and live nightly live DJs. Colorful attractions such as hip hop belly dancers, cage fighters, and drag queens seem to be provided more for entertainment than as a fitness aid: We're not exactly sure what "bitch boxers" are, but it sounds like some catty fun is in the cards.
A blend of Latin American and Asian cuisine, and concept-driven cocktails
Overseen by renowned restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow, Asia de Cuba serves shared plates of Cuban-Asian fusion cuisine. The ceiling is dramatically draped in cables and lines hanging single light bulbs, while the room’s colonnades are adorned by hodgepodge collections of portrait photos and library books.
Light Bar is a trendy spot bathed in various shades of dim light, housing a bold photography installation that soars on the surrounding walls.
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