The area around Baker Street is full of tall, dark brick townhouses, the same kind of house Sherlock Holmes lived in, with black painted railings and huge thick front doors. Montagu Place Hotel has taken over one of these townhouses and, from the outside, it retains its Georgian looks – brown brick and white-painted sash windows, and two lanterns flanking the door; only a small metal plate on the wall alerts you to its new identity.
Inside, however, you swiftly move a couple of centuries forwards in time; beige walls, rich textured brown and cream fabrics, and dark-framed prints create a feeling of contemporary luxury, though the huge fireplace has been preserved.
Reception was friendly, though my room wasn’t quite ready yet (I’d arrived a few hours early). My bags were quickly checked in, and as I had some business to do at the local post office, to which I was given clear and accurate directions, I got that sorted out and returned about half an hour later to find my room had been prepared. Rather than the usual scripted conversation, I had a nice chat with the member of staff who showed me upstairs; she asked about my future travel plans and what time I needed to check out, and showed me where to get breakfast in the morning.
It was just my kind of room; right at the top of the hotel, with a view over the rooftops, big and light (there’s no lift which gave me some welcome extra exercise). Quite large by London standards, the room had contemporary furnishings – vivid-green potted bamboo, colourful abstract paintings, and the bed-linen and carpet in various shades of brown-and-beige and cream-and-grey. The original townhouse fireplace had been retained – a nice touch – though the muted colour palette gave it a bit of a bachelor pad feel. Not that I normally prefer chintz, but perhaps it just needed another small piece of furniture to fill the space.
The bathroom gleamed; Molton Brown toiletries, heaps of soft white towels. The bed was comfortable, the sheets wonderfully crisp cotton. Never mind the décor – this hotel delivers on bodily comforts. And best of all, real coffee and a cafetiere, instead of either an espresso machine or Nescaff. That little touch really pulled it all together for me.
Montagu Place doesn’t do lunch or dinner, though you can order in from a local Thai restaurant. It does do breakfast – a bang-up buffet, with good croissants, lots of fruit, yoghurts and juices, and, rather oddly, eggs but not sausages or bacon. The cold buffet was excellent.
The best was reserved for last. When I checked out, I was accompanied to the door and waved off with the words, “Enjoy Cambodia!” There are friendly staff. There are efficient staff. And then, on a higher plane entirely, there are staff who actually remember where you’re off to next.
Top marks, Montagu Place!
Disclaimer: I enjoyed a complimentary stay at Montagu Place.
Photo credits: Montagu Place Hotel.