As a central London dweller, I am delighted when I discover a new venue that surpasses my expectations in terms of ambience and service, and is not extortionately expensive.
And apparently Madonna agrees with me. As she has been known to order a few takeaways and even have a discreet aperitif in the champagne bar at The Arch which is a stone’s throw from her London mansion.
I first learn about The Arch at an event organised by Pride of Britain Hotels, an association of leading luxury and boutique establishments. All are unique and not part of a chain and include the likes of Bovey Castle and Hambleton Hall. I was surprised I didn’t know about The Arch as often walk home along Cumberland Place.
The hotel is a far cry from one of those purely tourist establishments where the locals would not dream of setting foot. On the day I visited, the Hunter 486 restaurant, was packed with guests and locals – a party of smart office folk turned up last minute and were graciously accommodated.
The restaurant serves tempting seasonal dishes and also has a pizza oven. The variety of choice on the menu excellent. So good in fact, that there was not one item I didn’t like which made choosing difficult. So I pick the Seared south coast scallops on a bed of cauliflower puree, with caper and raisin vinaigrette (£15), followed by fillet of south coast seabass with grilled Jerusalem artichokes and saffron-flavoured cream sauce with clams (£17.50). It was cooked to perfection and absolutely delicious.
I decided not to have a dessert but the friendly chef popped out to offer me something he was trying out – a tiny doughnut with a chocolate dip…
Director, Rafi Bejerano tells me that the combination of a room service pizza and the free film DVD collection is hard to resist for some guests pure heaven who disappear for days on end in their rooms. The hotel was the first in London to install Sky HD in every bedroom. Every room also has a its own espresso machine with complimentary coffee. And every window in the rooms also opens so you can get ‘fresh’ air whenever you want and soft drinks from mini bar are complimentary.
But it’s this to detail which makes this 82-room hotel stand out. The hotel has a luxurious feel but its a comfortable and laid-back kind of luxury. The sort you might have in your own home – well OK if you could employ an interior designer!
There are nearly 100 members of staff make a point of getting to know guests and their likes and dislikes. There are special touches in all the rooms, including the fact you can keep your lap top secure in the safe and charge it up at the same time. General Manager Michael Voigt was apparently poached from a much larger 5 star.
The Arch definitely has my recommendation as a place to stay – and a place to meet up and revitalise in the middle of the West End.
50 Great Cumberland Place
London W1H 7FD.
Prices: Standard rooms from £240 per night and suites from £522 per night
Reservations: 0800 089 3929
Enquiries: 020 7724 4700