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Courthouse Hotel 4.5

Soho, London, England

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Historic courthouse building where many famous faces have appeared
  • Spacious and bright guest rooms with minibars and marble bathrooms
  • Luxurious suites have whirlpool baths and open fireplaces
  • Features include gym, private cinema, spa, sauna, and swimming pool 
  • Fine dining restaurant, brasserie, and two bars
  • The Sky Terrace serves cocktails on the roof
  • Centrally located in Soho, near a wealth of shops, bars, restaurants, and theaters
  • Quick walk to Oxford Circus tube station
  • Wi-Fi is free throughout the property
  • Parking is available (there’s an extra fee though)

Cons

  • Some guest rooms and public areas need updating
  • Decor throughout is an odd mix of styles
  • Breakfast is not included in the room rate
  • Fee for parking

Bottom Line

This luxury hotel has 116 rooms over six floors, and is notable for its unique history as a 19th-century courthouse, many original features of which have been retained. Prices are lower here than at other nearby luxury hotels, such as the Sanderson or the Langham, but the decor isn’t quite as cohesive, and aspects feel disjointed -- such as the Union Flag rug alongside Japanese statues in the lobby. However, the property makes use of interesting historic features in the restaurant and bar, and offers a private cinema, spa, and swimming pool. Rooms have minibars and marble bathrooms, but decor can be hit and miss, as some have been recently renovated, while others show wear and tear. The location is top-notch, right in the heart of central London, with every type of shopping, dining, and entertainment on the doorstep. 

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Scene

Disjointed decor, but lots of history and original features 

The hotel has a unique and fascinating history as a former courthouse dating back to the 1800s. It retains many original features of the courthouse, including the judges' bench, witness stand, and dock, which are now part of the Silk restaurant. The prison cells are now private booths within The Bar, too. Adding to the history is the fact that many famous faces actually appeared in court here, including John Lennon, Mick Jagger, and Oscar Wilde. Charles Dickens worked here as a newspaper reporter, too. Nowadays, the hotel looks a little worn in places, and the decor is slightly confused as the owners gradually change and update it from its days as a chain hotel; now independently owned and managed, it used to be part of the Doubletree by Hilton chain. There are Asian-style bronze statues, which seem out of place with the rest of the decor, and clashing colors like pink sofas on red carpet in the lounge. But the building’s character and period architecture, with high ceilings and ample natural light, still shine through and help give it a luxurious feel. The hotel seems equally geared towards business guests and tourists, and attracts both due to its prime location in Soho.

Location

In the heart of London’s bustling Soho

Map of Courthouse Hotel

The hotel’s location in Soho is among its main draws. Within a 10-minute walk are the main shopping streets of London, home to world famous stores like Hamleys and Selfridges. There are independent boutiques around the corner on Carnaby Street, high-end designer shops on Bond Street a half-mile away, and the major high street names within 10 minutes' walk on Oxford Street. Soho is a busy, crowded area that's packed day and night with tourists and trendy young Londoners, and is also noted for having many gay bars and clubs. Legendary music venues, like the 100 Club and Ronnie Scott's, are within a five- to 10-minute walk, as are a heap of trendy nightclubs, including The Box and Chinawhite. Some of London’s top dining options are within about five minutes on foot, including Sketch, Quo Vadis, and Hakkasan; or for a more casual bite, there are loads of sidewalk cafes. The famous Liberty department store and the Palladium theater are within a couple minutes' walk from the hotel, too. And getting further afield is easy, as the Oxford Circus tube station is just five minutes' walk away. 

Rooms

Suites are extra special, but Standard rooms are hit and miss

Guest rooms are spacious -- particularly for a central London hotel. The quality of the rooms varies wildly, though, as some have been refurbished in recent years, while others have frayed carpets and worn furniture. Each room has air-conditioning, a minibar, flat-screen TV, laptop compatible safe, desk, and bathrobe and slippers. For a really luxurious stay, the Magistrate Suites offer bags of space and character. They have parquet flooring, modern patterned wallpaper and chandeliers, and sumptuous furnishings like velvet armchairs with silk cushions. Some rooms have original features, like sash windows and open fireplaces. All rooms and suites have elegant marble bathrooms with shower/tub combos; some suites have whirlpool baths. 24-hour room service is available, as is free Wi-Fi.

Features

Good dining options and a fantastic private cinema

For guests who don’t want to venture out of the hotel to eat, there are a good range of dining options on-site. Silk restaurant serves Asian-fusion fine dining for dinner. The Carnaby brasserie is open for lunch, dinner, afternoon tea, and snacks throughout the day. Buffet breakfast is served in The Waiting Room, once the pre-court waiting area, and includes pastries, fruit, cereals, and cooked items, like full English breakfast. For evening drinks, The Bar offers light snacks and cocktails, and there's also a popular outdoor cocktail bar, the rooftop Soho Sky Terrace. The hotel has one of the biggest private cinemas in London, with seating for up to 94 people, and showings of international cult films; Friday night magic shows are put on, and the space is available for private functions. In the hotel’s basement is a small spa with a treatment room, sauna, and swimming pool; beauty treatments are available. There's a fitness center with a few cardio machines and weight equipment. Parking is available on-site, and there’s a business center, too. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property -- previous guests have had problems with the Wi-Fi, but the hotel is making an effort to improve the service. 

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Things You Should Know About Courthouse Hotel

Address

19-21 Great Marlborough Street, London W1F 7HL, United Kingdom

Also Known As

  • The Courthouse Doubletree by Hilton

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