Left: Suite Right: entrance
www.thearchlondon.com Left: the Martini Library Right: afternoon tea
50-62 Great Cumberland Place, London W1H 7FD
s far as I know Sir Winston Churchill never stayed here, but if he had I reckon he’d have written this in the visitors’ book (the Second World War equivalent of TripAdvisor): The Arch London is “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a boutique hotel”. It ticks all the boutique boxes: “Stylish” - check. “Small, between 10 and 100 rooms” - check, at the upper end. “Upscale accommodation” - check. “Situated in a fashionable urban location or unique setting” - double check. And yet it rises above the norm of boutique hotels, which too often aim at ‘quirky’ at the expense of being, well, just a great hotel. Not a trap The Arch falls into. It’s independently owned, evident from the attention I was given by the staff. It’s not the level of service - with prices running from £282 for a double room to £626 for a suite I’d expect high - but the ‘feel’. I’d not stayed at The Arch before, although we’ve reviewed Head Chef Gary Durrant’s HUNter 486 restaurant fully in a previous edition and suffice
to say the food’s still great (btw it’s not a typo - HUNter was the building’s original phone dialling code). But from the moment I walked in the concierge, manager, bus boy and waiters made me feel that I was a returning and favorite guest. Friendly, not false. Attentive but never over-the-shoulder overbearing. A neat trick for a busy city center hotel. Even dogs are welcomed, with a walking service provided. Shame I didn’t have one with me. Art lovers get a special treat too. Head Concierge Theo Dubroy shares his knowledge by planning itineraries for art enthusiasts. Specially curated works by British artists are dotted around the guest rooms and public areas and Vincent Poole’s collage New Shoes currently welcomes guests at the entrance and Peter Defty’s black and white Alphatecture prints run the length of the hall leading towards the Martini Library. The public rooms, like the bedrooms, are warmly individual without working too hard to be ‘unusual’. For true boutique status a hotel
Reviewed by Michael Burland
should be slightly unusual. The Arch’s 82 rooms (including 11 suites) are arranged over four floors, and not in an anonymous modern block. The hotel is actually a seamless blend of seven white Grade II-listed Georgian townhouses and a couple of mews homes. Incidentally the floors are numbered, one, two, three and five - four is an unlucky number in some Asian cultures. A danger with ‘boutique’ is that style overwhelms function - not a problem here. My 366 square foot Executive Junior Suite, decorated like all the rooms with with bespoke hand-painted wallpaper, also included a large bathroom the equal of any I’ve stayed in and the bed was so comfy I slept well, not always the case on the first night of a stay. As for that “fashionable, urban, unique location,” The Arch is set between Marble Arch and Marylebone, a stone’s throw from shopper’s paradise Bond Street, Hyde Park and the (current) US Embassy - and it faces Madonna’s London home. In a phrase, boutique but better.