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Short stay: Victory House London MGallery by Sofitel, Leicester Square, London, UK

MGallery by Sofitel is a collection of boutique hotels that combine luxury with a focus on literature and culture. Among this select group of hotels is Victory House London MGallery by Sofitel – the perfect launch-pad for all that London has to offer. The property has a fascinating and industrious history that mirrors the industrial changes in the city of London itself. Located in the beating heart of the West End, the hotel offers a home from home with everything you need to experience London, right on your doorstep. The welcome On entering through the double doors on Leicester Place, just yards from Leicester Square itself, you go through a small seating area to a desk at the far end. There you’ll find a very modest reception area – a tiny desk – but one that was continually manned by a friendly face throughout my visit. The room I stayed in a suite that looked out over Leicester Place. The room was not huge but afforded me ample space and had a separate living area. Within the design of the hotel, the architects and designers have added detail which reflects the golden age of cinema as inspired by the location. Black and white film footage is beamed on to the walls in the corridor as you exit the lift and pictures on the walls follow a similar theme. Next to the bed was a Nespresso machine and a Handy phone, providing a contact connection to the digital world without the need to worry about roaming charges. This is ideal for international guests, I would imagine, as it could be taken out and about and used in conjunction with Google Maps, Citymapper or any of your favourite apps. The living space was a welcome addition, giving guests a little more room than they might otherwise have. The TV included information about the hotel… …and literature about the hotel and the MGallery by Sofitel collection was also provided. The bathroom There was something of a retro style to the bathroom with herringbone tiles and vintage taps. Toiletries were from C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries – an American pharmacy currently founded in New York and the oldest surviving apothecary–pharmacy in the United States. The facilities On the ground floor of the building is the hotel’s own restaurant, Le Petit Bistro. Unfortunately, it was closed at the time of my visit so I can’t really comment on it but, as one of the newest additions to the dining scene in Leicester Square, it is said to offer French-inspired cuisine and is led by Ed Baines and Jamie Poulton (their third restaurant). Breakfast was served in Petit Bistro, with a buffet selection and items cooked to order if required. Location The hotel is very centrally located, just yards from Leicester Square, and in the heart of theatreland. With London’s Chinatown also on the doorstep, Chinese and other Asian influences are very evident in this part of London, even on street signs… …and there’s a multitude of Asian themed restaurants in the vicinity – predominantly Chinese, but also Thai, Vietnamese and other Asian cuisines. Other nice touches The hotel is well aware of its location and proximity to bustling Leicester Square that it provides ear plugs to ensure a good night’s sleep. I was working late and up quite early and was not aware of any outside noise that would keep you awake, but it’s a nice gesture all the same. As part of the hotel’s global green initiative, they do not post newspapers to your room each day. Instead, you have all major publications available to you in the palm of your hand via the Gold Key Media app on the Handy Phone provided. There was also a selection of reading material within the room. Cost Suites at Victory House London MGallery by Sofitel start from £325 per night, including breakfast The best bit The hotel has a very cosy, boutique feel to it which is very unexpected in such a central location where you would think larger chain hotels might dominate. The final verdict It’s a pleasant surprise to have somewhere as intimate as Victory House so close to the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square. It would have been nice to have sampled the restaurant so that I could give you some feedback on that, but on the other hand that also provides me with a good excuse to return! Disclosure: Our stay was courtesy of Victory House London MGallery by Sofitel.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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  1. Good to see that your coffeemaker wasn’t too sophisticated. Last week I was in a hotel on business with a group of well-travelled people. The hotel had installed the latest state-of-the-art coffee-maker and none of us had a clue as to how to operate it. Instructions were only available in German. Two people went down to reception for tuition. These coffee-machine wars between hotels can go too far.

    1. Hi Jim – I am not a coffee drinker so can’t really comment on its ease, but it looked reasonably straight forward, though. I hear you, though – I get a little frustrated for the same reason with hotel TVs sometimes!!

  2. Is that a portrait of a very young Paul Newman above the bed? And who is the other guy? I’m showing both my age and failing memory here.

    The retro bathroom fittings look very different. I stay in a lot of hotels and recently the “corporate look” has largely been indistinguishable from one establishment to the next: sometimes I forget where I am. I am all in favour of some design originality.

    1. My knowledge of celebrities – both past and present – is not very good at all, I’m afraid, so I’ll have to bow to your superior knowledge, Roger. Perhaps another reader can help?

  3. Useful tip. Never heard of London M Gallery. Looks as if it could take the pain out of a London stay. I have to spend far more time in London than is good for me. Thanks for the info.

  4. More and more I’m finding magazines, and usually they are local magazines, in the room. If you have time to read them they can give you a real feel for the area.

    Once in San Francisco the in-room reading was so good that I nearly forgot to go out.

    You had some good reading provided here.

  5. Have I missed something? I don’t get why it is called MGallery. Is that something to do with the black and white prints?

    One of the things I like about the Leicester Square location is that you are right on hand to go and queue up at TKTS for some last minute theatre bargains. You can probably get them online anyway but there’s always an excited atmosphere there.

    1. That’s a good question… I don’t actually know how the name came about. I know they talk about ‘Memorable hotels from Accor’ and have a ‘Memorable Moments’ campaign, so maybe the M is for ‘memorable’…??

  6. My problem is that I get most of my interior design ideas from hotels. Usually hotel room decor makes the most of the available light and space. After all they are designed by experienced professionals. Whenever I get back from a stay I’m inspired to decorate one of our rooms at home.

    I’m not sure that I’d be as bold with my carpet choice but there are a lot of nice touches that I like. I know I’m an amateur but this all works well for me, nice taste.

  7. You got me at Nespresso! Went to visit London last month and had I known about this then maybe I considered staying in this new boutique and unique hotel. I think it’s very cozy and suitable for an outdoor person like me since all landmarks are very accessible. Looking forward to my next visit and I wish to get a room with the Leicester Square view too.

  8. In room phones or I-Pad like devices seem to becoming more and more common.

    At the moment I think that there’s plenty of scope to develop them. Recently I was in Dubai and not having a great experience to be honest, then I picked up the I-Pad and discovered that I could use the gym, pool and spa at the neighbouring sister hotel which transformed my stay.

    It would be great to see a lot of local apps on the devices so that you can take them out and about and explore.

  9. I like the fact that you write about the welcome. A lot of hotels forget that first impressions matter.

    Recently I was at a huge hotel at Heathrow, which had better remain nameless. There were 8 people in front of me queueing for reception to check-in, a lot of them had endured long flights and were not in a great mood. Of course we started moaning to each other.

    Good to hear that MGallery gets it right with a friendly face always available on reception.

    1. Thanks, Ted… yes, the first impression of a place is crucial. I recently stayed somewhere (that will again remain nameless) where I had to ring the bell at an unmanned receoption several times on both check-in and check-out. As soon as that happens, you can invariably find yourself starting to find fault in other areas, just because of a bad first impression. Thankfully that wasn’t the case here!

  10. I cannot tell you how delighted I am to read this. I’ve been a fan of Sofitel for many years and this is exciting news. Sofitel are so much more luxurious than many people realise and the service is top notch. I really love the boutique, elegant but homely look of this place. On the list for our next trip to London!

  11. This place sounds fantastic in terms of location, and I quite like some of the more unusual touches, especially the retro taps & the huge plant pots. I have to ask though, what’s the Handy Phone? I’m curious what it actually is as I’ve not come across a hotel providing something like this before. Is it just like an actual mobile/tablet that has the app where you can view the papers via the Gold Key media app? Surely people would just walk out with it..? I’m glad they also have paper-based reading material in the room as well though, too much focus on tech can alienate some people who don’t feel comfortable using it.

    1. The handy smartphone has been popping up in a number of hotels over the years and the company behind it (a Hong Kong start-up called Tink Labs) was once valued at over $1 billion. However, there’s clearly been a turn of events this year as apparently the service was terminated at short notice in most markets at around August time. I don’t know if this hotel still has it, but you could wander around the city with it from memory (I never actually used it outside of the room). Sure, people could walk out with it on check-out, like they could a bathrobe, but I’m sure that wouldn’t be the end of the matter if they did!!!

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