Just a couple of roads away from the infamous Oxford Street hustle is an old converted textile factory, now the very fashionable Sanderson Hotel. It is part of the Morgans Hotel Group which offers luxury accommodation in Miami with The Delano, Shore Club and Mondrian; New York with The Hudson, Mondrian, Morgans and Royalton; Los Angeles with another Mondrian; San Francisco with the Clift and most recently in Marrakech with their latest Delano experience. As well as The Sanderson in London they also own The St Martins Lane Hotel. It was with this prized group of hotels that the ‘boutique’ concept was born, giving you a lavish, unique setting to spend the night.
On entering the hotel, the first thing I noticed was the décor. Sofas that looked as though they had just been prized from the latest Lanvin campaign were perfectly placed, quirky art adorned the walls and each piece, it was obvious, was chosen for that specific reason; each added in its own way to the story of the hotel. Take the long bar to the right of the hotel entrance for example, each of the elongated bar stalls is decorated in an art deco way with the female eye – they watch you as you pass by. I remember staying at The Hudson in New York when I was eleven and being so excited by the oversized plant-pots, which mother went on to explain were just part of the Alice in Wonderland theme. But here, at the Sanderson, such a theme is taken to a much more over zealous level. Although opened in 2000, what I found interesting is that no wall had been moved since its textile days. The floor plan to this boutique, is exactly the same. Every room in the hotel is slightly different for this very reason.
My room was white. That was the first thing I noticed. Of course white is pretty common now, but it was that pure, pristine white. It lends itself to the notion that you are the rooms first ever guest – it was that white. Separating the main bedroom with the bathroom, was a glass wall decorated with white curtains, that you can maneuverer at the switch of a button, giving you the choice for a peekaboo show with your guest. If your into that sort of thing. And above your bed, a framed painting, glued to the ceiling to give you a pretty picture to wake up to. It is this level of detail that one can expect with the Morgans Group.
The first thing on my agenda during my staycation was a treatment at the Agua Spa. The first of the ‘urban spas’ it offers you that little piece of tranquility in an otherwise frantic London. Imagine even more ‘whiteness’ down in the spa, with triple high ceilings and thick white curtains used as walls for everything. There was a constant sound of running water which really empties the mind, or at least tried bloody hard with mine. I had what they call the Milk and Honey Treatment, an experience that will set you back £80 yet leaves you feeling ready to take on anything, but only after you have come out of your happy coma. At first you are exfoliated, then massaged with warm honey, before being washed with milk. It left my skin feeling nourished and smooth and smelling great, almost yummy.
After the relaxing treatment we met at the Suka Restaurant, which is located in the middle of the hotel, in a courtyard open to the elements. A risky development for London and the British weather, but on that day we were very lucky to get to enjoy our Mad Hatter Afteronoon Tea without a side of rain. A delicious appletinini cocktail was served with an array of culinary treats. Intricate cakes, sandwiches dyed pink, scones (of course) and even lollipops that on one side caused your tongue to warm and on the other a chilly sensation. I could have devoured the pretty offering, but knew better to save myself for the dinner we were to enjoy in less than a few hours at the same location.
After a quick sprucing up, we met in the Purple Bar, now one of London’s well known luxury watering holes. A bar known to create a cocktail from even as little instruction as what mood you are in. Described as a chic lounge, the quaint yet mysterious little room of lilacs and violets is filled with round tables and tiny chairs that create a certain mood, one were a £250 cocktail might be the most natural thing in the world. Back to our table at Suka I contemplated the Malaysian menu with utter wonder, having never tried their cuisine before. But oh was it delicious. Served in my favourite fashion, each dish is placed in the middle of the table allowing you to try many dishes in one meal. Something us Greeks are very accustomed to. I had scallops that melted in the mouth; prawns, lobster – a feast. Dinner was my favourite part of the whole experience, not due to the delectable offering but because we also had a show.
Sanderson Sessions is an event that happens every now and then in the courtyard. The hotel will play host to intimate gigs by the right sort of acts. I was very excited to get to witness Saint Lou Lou play live. Having heard their song Maybe You, their haunting voices and eerie aesthetic are exactly what I love musically. The twin sisters, just four minutes difference in age performed a few songs. They have only released just one song with their French label and are currently living in east London writing their first album – something I can’t wait for. Their style and sound was beautifully in tune, so drinking cocktails and enjoying a grand meal only a metre away was the perfect way to spend a Thursday evening.
After dinner we moved on into the Billionaire’s Room, to play a round of pool. Something I am mercifully terrible at, but either way each of us enjoyed the company and had a laugh. In the room an entire wall is made from stained glass, a feature part of the original textile building, which only adds to the hotels unique character.
After a comfortable sleep, once the party ended downstairs that is and all was quiet, we met for breakfast back at the restaurant but this time we enjoyed our coffee inside. There was a lavish buffet with all the usual ingredients for a continental breakfast, but you could order eggs and other dishes if you liked too. It was an elegant stay at a stylish place that I cannot wait to return to. Even better that its so close to home.