So where are we?
Slap bang in the centre of London’s tourist Ville, just a hop, skip and jump away from musical theatre land and fashion week’s Somerset house, yup, we’re at the newly refurbished St Martin’s Lane hotel in Covent Garden.
Do we really want to be staying this close to that many tourists?
No word of a lie, you can’t even hear them. Stepping into the discreet entrance (which admittedly took us a little while to find – hint, it’s the one that looks like Christian Grey’s imaginary London HQ, in a good way) we’re immediately struck by how quiet it is. A central London sanctuary without the top hats and trad razzmatazz of other major hotel hotspots, this one’s for the under the radar cool kids. Selfie stick obsessives need not apply.
Alright, we get it, it’s secret and super cool, what about the furniture?
We’ll get there but first take a deep breath. Smell that? It’s the St Martin’s Lane signature scent. Yup, that’s a thing. A mix of white tea and lemongrass, it’s the comforting smell of home but if your house was entirely decked out by the White Company. That good.
Sorry, back to the furniture. Ummmm it’s awesome. An eclectic mix of completely unique and artsy pieces make the expansive lobby seem like a high end art gallery you just happened to wander into. The concierge desk alone feels like you’ve stepped into someone’s private study complete with ginormous black and white ballet dancer print and wooden lacquer writing desk.
Tres chic, yes, but almost everything has an air of tongue and cheek. Look down and you’ll see the sleek gold chair is complete with heels instead of the usual chair feet, door handles are literally hands that you shake to enter secret bars whilst oversized gold teeth provide lobby seating. It’s kooky, but in a cool, curated way.
Are the bedrooms as experimental?
Refreshingly no, not to say that they’re boring. Minimal décor in crisp white is satisfyingly clean without being cold. Fancy setting the mood? We had great fun adjusting the lights around the bed frame that illuminated the entire room in a blue/purple/green glow. When the walls are floor to ceiling glass with a view out onto the centre of Covent Garden, it sort of feels like your own private club. Safe to say we lost a few hours in here…
SNEAKY TIP: Check out the outside of the building when it’s entirely lit up and enjoy the Rubik’s cube effect. Groovy.
Ok, we’ve napped and now we’re hungry, what’s for dinner?
First things first, drinks. Head to the Blind Spot bar appropriately hidden through a door at the back of the lobby. Stop briefly to admire the wall-scaling apothecary style jars full of dried herbs, spices and rose buds. Just remember to take a picture and make a mental note to add it to your Interiors Envy Pinterest board.
Shake the gold hand and enter the most secluded speak easy ever. A world away from the bright lights, big city upstairs, Blind Spot is a plush cubby hole with super hip but amazingly friendly staff and totally delicious botanical cocktails. We ordered the Camellia, full of black tea vodka, Aperol, Chambord and raspberry. Super sexy sounding and worryingly drinkable. We dare you not to have two. Perfect for a cheeky night cap without any prying eyes.
Right, now we’re definitely hungry, dinner?
Glad you asked, back upstairs to Asia De Cuba. Literally what it says on the tin, it’s an Asian meets Cuban food fusion restaurant but in a good way, trust. The higgledy piggledy goes chic vibe continues on from the lobby but with a travel twist. Imagine you were visiting your suave Cuban Uncle and this is roughly what his home would look like.
Think columns surrounded with books, flowerpots and retro seventies radios meets plush Chesterfield sofas and giant black and white prints of old Hollywood stars and you’re somewhere close. Treading the fine line between cluttered and predictable and nailing comfortable but interesting, we were happy to sit sipping on a Mojito and Cuba Libre for a few hours. Well, when in Asia/Cuba…
We get it, the seating solutions are amazing, what about the food??
Let’s just say it didn’t disappoint. We went tapas style and picked a selection of dishes to share, few of which we actually knew what they were. Game faces on, dish after dish of fusion deliciousness arrived. Roasted duck salad with bitter radicchio, scallop ceviche with sharp grapefruit and the best crackling ever and Shrimp churros with the most addictive coconut sauce (so good we almost drank the leftovers) were exciting, intriguing but most importantly tasted amazing.
The kind of meal where you learn about a new exotic ingredient and immediately formulate a dinner party for the sole purpose of showing off your impressive new culinary knowledge. But, as delightful as the main course was, it was all about dessert. Namely, the Mexican Doughnuts. Going down in history on InStyle’s instagram as the ‘best doughnuts we’ve ever had’, these are an absolute must eat. Light as air doughnuts filled with chocolate or salted caramel, words just aren’t enough to describe them. They’re cracking. Go and eat them now!
Feeling sufficiently full and completely happy with ourselves, can we chill out now?
Alright, you’ve earnt it. Plop yourself down in one of the uber cool retro armchairs in The Den. Slotted conveniently next to the lobby, a mere stone’s throw from the restaurant, The Den is the old-school trad living room that’s perfect for an afternoon nap or read of the paper. Think Victorian lounge meets last series 70s Madmen.
Tongue and cheek artwork (check out the portrait of Anne Boleyn cut in half just around her neck area), wood panel walls and squishy leather sofas create a room just begging you to relax. So we did. A glass cake stand full of custard tarts and an old school cocktail dispenser of iced lemon water meant we really had little reason to leave. So we didn’t. If we’d have been allowed we may have stayed forever.
Book HERE for a chic London escape minus the tourists.