For a London staycation that doesn’t cost the earth, Sanderson – just a stone’s throw from Oxford Street – is an ideal base for exploring the city, but you’ll find plenty going on behind its doors if you can’t quite face the crowds – from indulgent spa treatments to an afternoon tea you’ll rave about.
Location… It doesn’t get much better than Berners Street, Fitzrovia – just moments from Oxford Street.
The vibe: Quirky but stylish: A Space Odyssey meets baroque. Ian Schrager (inventor of the boutique hotel) and internationally-renowned designer Philippe Starck designed the hotel – to much acclaim – back in 2000. All these years on, the design feels minimal, even a bit retro, but it still has something about it.
Who goes? Couples wanting a treat that, unlike so many of London’s hotels, is not ludicrously overpriced. If you live in or near the capital there’s something that feels unequivocally indulgent about a night or two away, but as you wander around the streets of London you so appreciate the feeling of freedom a staycation in your own city gives you.
It’s renowned for…. The Alice in Wonderland-inspired Mad Hatters Tea Party. So many hotels endeavour to create an iconic afternoon tea, and the Sanderson has nailed it – picture menus inside vintage books, crockery adorned with kings and queens, sandwiches in birdcages and even ticking clocks. From a goat's cheese croque-monsieur and white crab eclairs to a red velvet ladybird cake and pocket-watch macaroons, it is quite simply a delight for the senses.
What makes it unique? That it’s all under one roof. Owned by the Morgans Hotel Group like it’s younger sister the Mondrian, the Sanderson might have it all on its door step but it also has it all behind its doors. Drink, dine, drink some more and then stay – and that’s the beauty of it.
The rooms… Are simple, and at first glance, not at all that remarkable. But the baroque-style beds positioned off-centre are as sumptuous and comfortable as you might imagine. And the glass-walled bathrooms are spacious, slick and contemporary.
For dinner… The restaurant serves up a modern continental meets British menu that also features bar snacks such as Padrón peppers, the perfect accompaniment to a couple of cocktails. The interior is minimal and modern, and whilst it’s not a destination restaurant like The Haymarket’s Asia de Cuba (Morgans’ third London property) it does a decent job and a very good breakfast (smashed avo on toast, tick).
Have drinks…. At the iconic 80-foot Long Bar. You’ll appreciate the connection between the bright white runway-style bar and the fashionable parties that have taken place here. This is where the Sanderson comes alive – at no time more than on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings when resident DJs take to the decks. After somewhere that feels a bit moodier and more private members’ club? The Purple bar, which is open to hotel guests only, is both intimate and exclusive.
R&R: It’s not all about the evening action – the glamorous Agua spa with its wafting white silk curtains and treatments with brands like Eve Lom and Nuxe, is an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the West End.
Our verdict…. Fun in spades without breaking the bank.
Rooms from £323 per night (get 20% off when you book more than 7 days in advance).