For years The Soho Hotel was a seedy multi-storey car park wedged in between Dean and Wardour Streets. Then, back in 2004, the Kemps tore it down and replaced it with the area’s first deluxe boutique hotel. Years on, it’s still the stay of choice for Hollywood A-listers and London media mavens.
As ever with the work of Kit Kemp (the hotel’s interiors director), eclecticism and playfulness are the name of the game. The rooms are a mix of the serious and the light-hearted – there are vibrant floral curtains, patterned wallpaper in greens and pinks, striped sofas and colour-flecked cushions, while the odd sombre face glowers out from the gothic prints that decorate the walls and the trademark Kemp tailor’s dummy stands in a corner of every room.
The rooms are certainly no style-over-substance show ponies, though. They also come packed with thoughtful practicalities like multi-region adaptors, a painstakingly put together directory, flat-screen TVs and Tivoli radios, a lavender spritzer for the pillow at turndown and magnifying mirrors alongside the Miller Harris toiletries in the speckled marble bathrooms.
Back downstairs, there’s a bar that constantly buzzes with industry chit-chat as the great and the good of the London media and music worlds settle into the low chairs and survey the scene. For all the style and fabulous people-watching opportunities, the food at Refuel is rather average (although it has a surprisingly reasonable set menu). But this is the heart of Soho, and there are plenty of other places to choose from within easy stumbling distance.
- Celeb-watching in the bar
- The cocktails whipped up by the friendly bar staff (the watermelon martini particularly)
- The genuinely passionate and informed staff
- Settling back into Poltrono Frau-designed cow-hide seats and watching a movie in the hotel’s private screening room
- Pouring yourself a drink in the honesty bar
- No free WiFi
- The mural that adorns the wall behind the bar – oddly out-of-sync with the rest of the place
Need to Know: Soho Hotel
Number of rooms: 91
Check-in/check-out times: 2pm and 11am
Room service: Yes, 24 hours
Swimming pool: No
Spa: There’s a sizeable gym and a couple of treatment rooms (with specific men’s and women’s menus) and international jetsetter’s treatment of choice, the ‘Jet Lag Renewal’, overseen by Gina Hemmings Health & Beauty
Dogs welcome: No
Eating and drinking: Refuel is solid without being exceptional, with a modern British and European menu stretching from breakfast to late dinner. There's a very reasonable set menu, a chic afternoon tea option, a pre/post-theatre menu and a private dining room area.
Near to? Set in the heart of the buzzing West End, you have a huge selection of nightlife on your doorstep, from the bars and clubs of Soho to dining in Chinatown across the road and taking in a show. For shopping, Covent Garden, Oxford Street and Marylebone High Street are also all nearby.
Getting there: The Soho Hotel is close to Tottenham Court Road, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus underground stations. The nearest mainline station is Victoria, only 15 minutes away in a taxi. London Heathrow airport is around 40 minutes in a taxi (allow a little longer in rush hour).