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Short stay: Roseate House, Hyde Park, London, UK

Roseate House London is a white stucco confection of a 48-room boutique hotel within a five-minute walk of Hyde Park. An invitation to revisit an era when London aspired to become the next Athens or Rome. Dating back to 1842, three Grade 2 listed townhouses with classical columns and balustraded balconies, make up this dignified retreat from modern life. Yet, with a quiet jazz-funk soundtrack playing in the bar, chic grey carpet and lamp room grey paintwork – Roseate House London is fashionably contemporary. Westbourne Terrace, named after one of London’s lost rivers, which now runs underground, is frequently acclaimed as one of the capital’s finest streets. Tall architectural, shade-giving London plane trees recall a Victorian era that built and planted with one eye on posterity. Although Roseate House London is currently popular as a staycation, The Hyde Bar, with its 72 page Story of Whisky, offers a global tour: Campbelltown, Highland, Japan, India, USA and beyond. Nor are cocktails, gin, vodka and wine neglected. The welcome Clarissa, from Rome, warmly welcomes us. She checks our temperature and sanitises our luggage whilst we admire the decor. Long ago, the hotel offered an honesty bar in reception. Although the bar no longer operates, its shelves of back-lit gins and whiskies have been incorporated into the internal architecture. The room A hand-crafted four-poster Bellestrata bed, topped with an opulent silk ceiling culminating in a cream rose, and dressed with finest Irish linen, takes pride of place in our Junior Suite. A sitting room provides a paisley salmon tapestry sofa, a comfy chair, upmarket tea and coffee. Vast lined curtains, thicker than a clipper’s mainsail, hang down over the tall windows. Original oil paintings hanging on the warm Roseate walls and crafted mahogany furniture create a reassuring Victorian ambience. The bathroom A light spacious bathroom is distinctly contemporary, featuring limestone fittings, rather than Victorian. Lefroy Brooks, the Rolls Royce of plumbing, supply the gleaming taps. Blenheim Bouquet toiletries by Penhaligon are provided. It’s a heady fragrance of lemon, black pepper and pine first created for the Duke of Marlborough at his Blenheim country seat. Facilities Before the pandemic, Executive Chef Rajesh Maharjan had planned to create a new innovative menu from his experiences in Delhi, Dubai and Bray where he had developed his ideas working with a range of international cuisines. Currently, those ideas are appearing on the pared down all day dining menu. Both a mango and avocado relish plus a cucumber and fennel salad accompany the crab cake starter. King prawn tagliatelle is a regal east-meets-west fusion of pasta including bock choy, coconut and Thai red curry. The key to a meaty, red-juiced vegan burger, is the jack fruit mimicking beef’s texture, accompanied by a jenga-block stack of chips. A star of the dessert menu is a sunken volcano of a dark chocolate fondant with a molten middle contrasting with cherry ice-cream, enhanced by a sweetened caramel sauce. Equally tempting is a vanilla cheesecake with a mixed berries compote. Location Merely five minutes-walk from Paddington Railway Station and The Heathrow Express, Roseate House London is a quietly sophisticated alternative to an airport hotel and a great option for those visiting London for the weekend and wanting to explore all the city has to offer. Another five minutes-walk away is the 350 acres of Hyde Park where you can watch and listen to the Great British democratic tradition of Speakers’ Corner or take to the Serpentine Lake. Nor is it far to the Puppet Theatre Barge and Jason’s Canal Boat which will take you on a tour of London’s Little Venice. Other nice touches Jonty Hearnden, Antiques Roadshow expert, has curated a collection of original art, including many oil paintings, that create the sense of Victorian decorum. In our suite, alongside still-life oil paintings of flowers there are line-drawings of two chubby cardinals sharing a joke and a barrister whispering to a gaunt defendant. Recently launched is a Work from Roseate offer which provides a quiet luxury work-station away from busy households. Conference speed internet is suitable for video calls and streaming services. Throughout the day, guests have access to coffee, tea and water, lunch in the Hyde Bar and Restaurant or delivered by room service, as well as a well-deserved end of day cocktail. The cost A junior suite begins around £250 for the night including breakfast. The best bit “For medicinal purposes only” reads the label on a Old Mock whisky that was distilled early in 1916 and bottled 18 summers later, during prohibition, in Louisville, Kentucky. “Patients” paid their doctors to write a prescription for a dose of whisky. Today, whisky connoisseurs, ordering this dram of Bourbon history, unsurprisingly kept in the safe at the Hyde Bar, will have to pay handsomely. The cocktail list is an archive of taste. Presumably a Modern Maid from 1905 is still popular with young ladies whilst a Vowel from 1927 may improve your elocution. The final verdict When Westbourne Terrace was built, the UK was on a mission to export culture and civilisation to a growing empire. Now, originating from India, Roseate House London returns discrete Victorian decorum to one of the capital’s grandest streets. Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Roseate House London.

Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards is a travel writer from Oxfordshire, UK. Although Michael had his first travel pieces published nearly four decades ago, he is still finding new luxury destinations to visit and write on.

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  1. Its a good time to visit London. I’ve had to go into town twice now for some work and it’s like a ghost town. Although I was working I went for a walk after lunch and there were very few people around. Could be a great time to go round all the sights, no queues in the shops either.

  2. The work from a luxurious hotel is an interesting one. Can’t see the company footing the bill for that one at the moment. Though if the schools close down again I can see that my boss would much rather me made my Zoom calls to important clients from a calm hotel room than the chaos of home with dog barking, kids bickering and wife doing Zumba in the background. Wouldn’t say no to a cocktail at the end of a tough day.

  3. What a wonderful classical building. I can’t help but think that our architecture has taken a step backwards over the last century. If I’m going to stay at a hotel it’s the sort of grand hotel that would make you think that you were somewhere special.

    It is very “Upstairs, Downstairs” only a lot grander. I can imagine the servants busy in the kitchen in the basement before squeezing into their tiny rooms up in the attic.

  4. I stay in a lot of beige cubes for business in some bland hotels, well I used to before Covid. Having some original art on your walls is very different, knowing that your room is unique is a nice touch. Dropping into conversation, when making a Teams call, that the oil painting behind you is an original is a nice piece of one upmanship.

  5. I love these kinds of Grade 2 listed townhouses with columns and balconies. They’re so regal and gorgeous. Looks like they’ve done a great job here of keeping it classic with the Victorian touches, yet modern and clean looking, and it’s an ideal location for transport links. I wouldn’t say no to spending time in the bar either. I go to London, or used to before the pandemic, somewhat regularly but I tend to go for cheap and cheerful; I do like the idea of splashing out the next time I go because it will have been a long time since I’ve been by then, so I’ll keep Roseate House in mind.

    1. It’s a good time to visit London. There were very few passengers on our train into Paddington so we were all very socially distanced.

      I felt very safe at Roseate House with the guests well spread out in the Hyde Bar and Restaurant.

      Also as there are relatively few people in the galleries and museums you’ve got time to appreciate everything.

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