Free Wi-Fi throughout (high-speed Wi-Fi available for a fee)
Not for families with young children
Loud music can be problematic for light sleepers
Open room layouts not for everyone
The Sanderson is an edgy Soho hotel with original and extravagant design by Philippe Starck. Innovative rooms feature a mostly all-white color palette, layers of sheer curtains that divide different areas of the room (in lieu of interior walls), and luxurious bathrooms, some with separate walk-in showers and freestanding soaking tubs. Beyond the rooms, the Sanderson seems to have one highlight after another, including an iconic lobby bar, a tranquil spa with meditation beds and a chill-out zone, and a Mad Hatter-themed afternoon tea served in the striking courtyard. Travelers could also consider the whimsical Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington; the five-pearl boutique trades some of Sanderson's overt sexiness for more traditional elegance.
A lavish fantasy playground is equal parts minimalist and extravagant
The corporate face of a landmarked 1950s office building belies the eccentric, eclectic interiors at this temple of pleasure, part of the Morgans Hotel Group. Philippe Starck's original, whimsical design -- updated by designer Tim Andreas in 2014 -- is at once extravagant and streamlined. The dreamy aesthetic centers around contrasting textures; a soft color palette of white, silver, and lavender; and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Sheer white curtains frame the lobby, a wide open space with pale, gleaming hardwood floors and dotted with a weird, wonderful motley crew of seating options: There's the suspended clear Lucite bubble chair, hanging from a chain covered in fluffy white fuzz. There's the green and silver chair, with regal swans for arms, that looks like its previous life was spent somewhere in the Austrian Empire. There's the teal French chaise that stretches to a near-absurd length, diagonal from the surrealist lip-shaped red foam couch. Sofas and chairs (and stools and baubles) aren't just eye-catching pieces of decor -- they illustrate the hotel design's devotion to irony and whimsy. Coarse, industrial-concrete columns in the lobby contrast with the illuminated-from-within white onyx bar in the lobby bar, Long Bar. The glowing, 80-foot-long bar here is 180 degrees from the rough, meteorite-like bar that's at the helm of hotel's theatrical Purple Bar. A striking courtyard patio features regular DJs -- and a hanging garden surrounded by pebble flooring and a flat-rock fountain. Even the elevators are in on the Sanderson's trippy party vibe: Beyond their classical etched-mirror facades (fringed with silky violet curtains) are dark purple interiors, glowing with cosmic lights.
The Sanderson Hotel is located on the north edge of Soho, an under-10-minute walk from both the Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road tube stations. Soho is one of the most entertaining areas of London, home to the red light district, gay quarter, independent dining, record shops, and boutique shopping. The neighborhood is ideal for people-watching at cafes and mingling with the hip, local crowd.
Two-minute walk to Oxford Street shopping
12-minute walk to Piccadilly Circus theaters
13-minute tube ride to Charing Cross Station and Trafalgar Square
17-minute tube ride to Green Park Station and Buckingham Palace
14-minute tube ride to Leicester Square Station and Covent Garden
15-minute tube ride to Notting Hill Gate Station and Portobello Market
17-minute tube ride to Westminster Station and Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, London Eye, and scenic walks along the Thames
20-minute tube ride to to Knightsbridge Station and Knightsbridge shopping district including designer shops and Harrods
From the 300-square-foot Standard Room to the 2,400-square-foot Penthouse, rooms at Sanderson were compellingly designed with tranquility and urban escapism in mind. The lack of interior walls and presence of layers of movable sheer curtains results in an environment that's both relaxing and starkly sexy. Rooms come with bathrobes, slippers, classic gray umbrellas, minibars, and interactive flat-screen HDTVs with 80-plus channels and BBC iPlayer.
Silver sleigh beds (queens in Standard Rooms, and kings in higher-lever rooms) are often freestanding, with Respa mattresses, plush down bedding and pillows, and contemporary glass bedside tables with built-in chrome lamps on either side. Taupe banquettes, matte-gold tables, and silver armless chairs form work areas by the windows. Loft Rooms have wall-to-wall windows overlooking the courtyard. Big, sleek bathrooms have modern marble counters with floating sinks, curtained-off closet and shelving areas, and -- memorably -- glass walls separating them from the rest of the rooms. (Curtains are available for privacy, and the toilet is behind frosted glass). Some bathrooms have freestanding tubs and separate walk-in showers with two shower heads, and all come with Malin + Goetz bath products (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, and bar soap). Cribs and cots are available, and the hotel provides nightly turndown service. Coffeemakers can be provided upon request.
A courtyard with a fountain, billiards room, and tranquil spa
Features at the Sanderson range from tranquil to theatrical. The 10,000-square-foot, 14-room Agua Spa (called the hotel's "urban bathhouse") is a relaxing, all-white space with silver Rococo furniture, meditation beds, a chill-out zone, and a spa menu, and the contemporary fitness room has cardio machines with individual TVs. The billiard room is a dramatic space with an antique silver-leaf billiard table and a two-story stained glass window by modern British artist John Piper. An 80-foot-long white onyx bar is the centerpiece and namesake of Long Bar, Sanderson's lobby bar. At the helm of Purple Bar -- the Sanderson's second, more intimate, and more dramatic cocktail spot -- is a rugged rock bar that looks like it was cleaved from a meteorite.
The Restaurant at Sanderson has a rotating menu of brasserie-inspired items like poached chicken, roasted venison, and grilled Scottish salmon. Guests can either dine inside the Restaurant's contemporary cream-and-black setting or in the courtyard garden, where the hotel's daily Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon tea is served. The Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea menu (which are displayed in vintage books) is also constantly evolving, but always feature a selection of classics-with-a-twist, like goat cheese Croque-monsieurs, red-velvet ladybird cakes, and chocolate-covered coffee macarons. Also available is an assortment of five teas exclusive to the hotel.
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