Chic Boutique Feb '11
The Edwardian Hampshire Hotel
London - Leicester Square’s historic presence
By Morissa Pawl
This splendid hotel in the heart of London’s West End is not only in a perfect location, but is steeped in history. Although Leicester Square itself dates back to the 1600s and the second Earl of Leicester, the hotel itself was built as a dental hospital in 1901 under King Edward VII’s royal patronage and remained as such until 1985. By 1987 Edwardian Hotels purchased the property and began a two year renovation to open a five star property at one of the most desirable addresses in the city.
Not all hotels are created equal, and the first thing guests notice is that the staff knows your name when you arrive. While they are not psychic, they are clever. Whenever possible they do an Internet search for the guest name in the hopes of coming up with a picture for reference. A nice and unusual touch to be sure, and special touches such as this are what set the true boutique hotels apart from those that simply use the moniker. At 127 rooms the Hampshire has the ability to make guests feel comfortable and welcome while not being overly intrusive.
The eclectic Edwardian era feel of the hotel is a delight for both the first time visitor and London regular. Each room is individually designed with elegance and care, and the suites are extremely spacious by any standard, much less the typical confines of London. The amenities are top notch, and the room comes with everything a traveler could possibly need.
One should not miss the archetypal high tea served in the restaurant complete with scrumptious scones and clotted cream, cucumber sandwiches, and sweet treats for every palate. If there is time, return for a late night meal and drinks after the theater because you are after all in the heart of the West End theater district. In fact, the half - price ticket booth is right outside the door, but the friendly concierge can also arrange fantastic theater packages as well. For a special treat the General Manager arranged room service via text message, but that may have been because we kept him laughing for two hours! Whatever the reason, service is their number one goal and they deliver with high marks.
London may seem overwhelming for many, but the Hampshire is so centrally located that one can walk to just about every major attraction. A short walk can take you in several different directions towards Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, the shopping of Oxford and Regent Streets, or even Hyde Park. Don’t be afraid to venture out beyond the square no matter what the weather, and if you are not familiar with the city grab a map from the front desk. They will be more than happy to point you in the right direction or make a suggestion of things to see and do.
So when in London be sure to check out the Hampshire for your next stay or even high tea, and don’t forget to order room service!
The Hampshire Hotel
Leicester Square, London WC2H 7LH,
Reservations: 800 333-3333 US - Toll Free
0800 37 44 11 UK - Toll Free
Telephone: 44 (0)207 839 9399 Fax: 44 (0)20 7930 8122