Deciding where to stay in London can be a monumental task. You want to be central, but in such a large city, central can mean any number of things. You want to stay somewhere nice, clean but not impersonal. You’d like to be able to eat out without going too far. Oh, and a pool and fitness center would be nice too. Well, you’re in luck- the One Aldwych Hotel has everything you’re looking for and more.
Upon arriving, an unfailingly polite doorman took my and Sophie‘s suitcases and brought them to our room after we had checked in. An elevator with a funky geometric light pattern that alternated between blue and pink whisked us up to the 6th floor. Our room was the perfect size for two girls, and had plenty of outlets for all of our electronics (and even a converter in the bedside table when I discovered mine wouldn’t work!). The king-sized bed had been made up as two twins so we could each sprawl out as much as we wished, and the bathroom had a gorgeous bathtub right by the window. We ran into a few room-related snafus during our stay, but the staff response couldn’t have been better, resolving any issues quickly and apologizing profusely. They really made us feel like they cared about the quality of our stay, which is super important for any hotel.
We quickly discovered our favorite aspect of the room- the view! The windows overlooked the back of the hotel, so we could see the Lion King posters hanging on the theatre behind, and even caught a glimpse of the London Eye over the buildings.
Sophie decided to stay behind and do some work, but I wanted to see if the sunset would be any good from down by the river. Fortunately, One Aldwych is right next to Waterloo Bridge, so I took my camera down there and managed to capture some lovely sunset colors over the London Eye, Blackfriars Bridge and the houses of Westminster.
The hotel’s convenient location made it really easy for us to catch buses or the tube, as the Covent Garden stop was less than a 10 minute walk away, but it’s also so central that we spent a lot of time exploring on foot. After dinner with some old friends of mine from my hometown in the US, we went back to enjoy a cocktail at the bar.
The menus (yes, more than one!) were extensive and made our choice difficult, but we were quite taken with the options on the “theatre” menu, inspired by famous plays. I opted for the rum-dominant Sancho Panza, after the squire from Don Quixote (above left), while Sophie chose the lighter gin-based Three Reigns, inspired by King Lear (above right). After taking our photos at the bar, we settled into a couple of lounge chairs to properly enjoy our drinks. The barman was even kind enough to let us taste one of their new concoctions for the winter!
The next night, we headed down below the hotel to their restaurant, Eneko at One Aldwych, where triple Michelin-starred chef Eneko Axta serves up modern takes on Basque dishes, along with an entirely Spanish wine list. The restaurant is sleek and modern, yet still feels cozy. Much of the interior design was even created by Basque craftsmen- it’s truly a testament to Axta’s dedication to bringing his culture to the world. Though Sophie is a vegetarian, there were still plenty of menu options for her to choose from, making it a perfect last meal in London for both of us.
We both started out with tempura- avocado for Sophie, adorned with little pansy flowers, and egg yolks for me, which were eaten whole and surprisingly delicious. Moving on, Sophie had a delectably rich oyster mushroom risotto, while my braised pork cheeks didn’t even need a knife to be cut. Afterwards, so full we weren’t sure we could make room for dessert, we chatted and sipped a delicious white wine recommended to us by our adorable server, the Herencia Altés Garnatxa Blanca, which surprisingly appealed to both of us given Sophie’s preference for sweet wine and my preference for dry. Ultimately we ended up getting dessert (because of course)- pineapple sorbet for Sophie, salted caramel mousse for me. It was the perfect finish to an amazing dinner, one I would recommend to anyone visiting London, especially given the incredibly reasonable prices considering the quality fo the food.
The next morning we ordered breafast to our room, having eaten it in the hotel’s restaurant on the mezzanine floor the morning before, and ate in our bathrobes. Breakfast in bed will never fail to be one of my favorite things about hotels- who doesn’t want a warm, delicious breakfast delivered straight to you without having to put pants on? We both opted for the vegetarian breakfast- although I’m not vegetarian, I wasn’t going to say no to avocado toast and poached-to-perfection eggs.
When we checked out later that morning, I was genuinely sad to be leaving. We had a fantastic stay and I definitely hope to be able to come back one day!
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