The Sanctum has been billed as London’s first rock’n’roll hotel – a Soho pleasure-den where touring bands can kick back and enjoy some discreet fun, and even us civilians can feel like rock stars for the night.
The hotel is made up of two very smart Grade-II listed Edwardian townhouses once owned by ‘MI5′, and the public areas are decorated in a sophisticated mix of dark aubergine and chocolate. The bedrooms, though, are a riot – all 30 are unique, and feature flamboyant furnishings, rainforest showers and, in some rooms, huge circular beds.
Our room is a glittering high-camp fantasy, from the diamante-studded door handle to the black and white tiled bathroom with a hint of asia! It seems as if every possible surface has been covered in mirrors, from the wardrobes, to the huge columns, to the bedside tables. Even the waste-paper basket is mirrored. To be honest it does feel a teensy bit like stepping inside the mind of Peter Stringfellow, but it’s all done light-heartedly enough to be a giggle rather than seriously sleazy.
Not everything is silly though. The Tempur mattress is amazingly comfortable, the windows open (almost unheard-of for a London hotel) and we sleep better than we have in days. After a quick tour of our room we decide to go visit the rooftop garden bar.
The sleek roof garden and residents’ bar with its own alfresco hydro spa is the place to see and be seen. Intimate and cosy, tucked away on the 5th floor and open 24/7, it is the ideal place to relax and unwind at any time of the day or night. The wall to wall glass doors open fully onto the roof garden, bringing the outside in and making the beautiful garden an extension of the lounge bar during the summer months.
The alfresco Hydro-Spa is a rare find in a central London hotel and overlooks the garden from its elevated position. With two separate seating areas that cater for the sun worshipper and those who prefer the shade alike, the garden is a tranquil roof-top haven, filled with luxurious seating and beautiful plants – perfect for whiling away the hours with a glass of wine at the end of the day.
There’s some intriguing decor within the restaurant (No 20) and bar at the swanky Sanctum Soho hotel. Most of that’s down to some fascinatingly left-field artwork, with subjects ranging from Hollywood A-listers all the way down to dandruff-dodging England goalkeeper, Joe Hart. It’s all purchasable too, should any pieces tickle your fancy.
There’s certainly plenty of choice when it comes to the food, with dishes influenced by cuisines across the globe. Expect, then, New England crab cakes with a red pepper dipping sauce, a terrine of bang bang smoked chicken, a pea and lemon mascarpone risotto and rump of lamb served with dauphinoise potatoes, confit garlic and rosemary. Steaks from the grill prove popular, too. Prices in this tasteful restaurant are surprisingly reasonable – spit-roast Goosnargh chicken with peppered creamed leaks costs £12.50, and the Aberdeen Angus burger, at £10.50, is cheaper than that at my grotty local pub.
And here’s the funny thing – for all the talk of excess, the rooms aren’t actually that expensive. Book online and you can get a huge mirrored suite for £360. Not cheap, of course, but comparable suites in other top London hotels go for several thousand pounds.
We have a sneaking suspicion that after playing at the o2, real rock stars probably want a nice subdued room where they can unwind and catch up on their reading in peace. Perhaps, then, the Sanctum is best suited to us mere mortals, letting us splash out and play rock star for the night.
R & S x
Sanctum Soho, 20 Warwick Street, London, W1B 5NF