Hotel Review: The Arch London Hotel, Marylebone in London
Words by Tom Gatehouse
After having given me the tour of my deluxe room at the five-star boutique hotel, The Arch London in Marylebone – which included a glorious en suite complete with a built-in, flat screen TV above the bathtub – my concierge led me to the window to the right of my Egyptian cotton-adorned king-sized bed overlooking Great Cumberland Place and said, “Do you see just over the way there? That’s one of Madonna’s London houses.”
It was clear at that point that I had a choice to make. Stay and enjoy my lavish, hand-decorated, Georgian-style room – one of 82 at The Arch London, through standard to executive and suites – and wait to see if the Queen of Pop herself stuck a hand or leg out from behind a curtain over the road, or continue with my original plan: to dine at The Arch London restaurant, Hunter 486.
Named after the 1950s dialling code for Marylebone, Hunter 486 has recently seen the addition of a number of new dishes from head chef, Gary Durrant. A classically trained chef, with ten years at The Savoy London under his belt; Durrant has developed dishes in keeping with British seasonality and include Cornish mackerel with jersey royals and quails eggs, lemon sole fillets with samphire and potted shrimp butter, and roasted Norfolk black chicken with tarragon sauce.
But I had a short while to wait before dinner, with my companion held up by a gin and tonic in Covent Garden. In the meantime, complimentary Sky HD and a plasma screen TV kept my patience in check along with the complimentary Wi-Fi access. The minibar holds complimentary soft drinks and juice, along with affordable stronger stuff, with a Nespresso coffee machine standing ready to assist my getting out of the fabulously soft bed the following morning.
The hotel itself is found just off of the sprawling Hyde Park, with the famous London landmark Marble Arch visible from just outside the foyer, and is the epitome of quiet glamour in heart of the English capital.
Spread over seven grade II listed Georgian townhouses and two mews homes; The Arch London is a member of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World”, was named as one of the top 20 luxury hotels in the UK at the 2017 Travellers’ Choice Awards, and is chock full of vibrant and expressive art pieces, the first of which being a moving art installation above the reception desk.
Consistently echoing English heritage, my way to the Martini Library – the hotel’s cosy cocktail lounge on the ground floor – was permeated by a series of prints by English artist Peter Defty named ‘Alphatecture’ – a collection of the 26 letters of the alphabet seen through the London landscape. A nice little talking piece for me and my tardy dinner companion as we settled down to a pair of whiskey sours before dinner.
With sweeping leather banquettes, blown glass pieces and an adjacent champagne bar; Hunter 486 is very much in keeping with the hotel’s motif of timeless English resplendence, with dinner guests able to watch the chefs in action through the open kitchen near the end of the restaurant.
A bottle of the Flor de Campo pinot noir developed next to us as we debated over starters, which finally resulted in us ordering a goat’s curd and honey stuffed courgette flower with peas and tomato, and a portion of the dressed Dorset crab with avocado and pink grapefruit.
Being a chef myself, I can hardly resist in-season courgette flowers, this one encased in well-seasoned batter with a blend of curd and honey. Certainly a most decadent starter, flooding the mouth with a hot but soft richness, perforated only by the occasional morsel of succulent crab stolen from my companion’s plate/fork.
Nothing says British like a rack of lamb, making my choice of main an easy one, arriving lovingly balanced on a medley of crushed new potatoes and assorted baby vegetables, and in a light herb broth. My companion, meanwhile, indulged in a wonderfully summery asparagus, broad bean, pea and mint risotto, with an equally well balanced parmesan crisp perched atop.
The Arch London and Hunter 486 have a menu for all occasions, with royal afternoon tea, Sunday lunch, pre-theatre and even a pet menu for those most pampered of canine companions all included in their repertoire. Private dining functions are also available to hire, as are all manner of private events, meetings and custom parties.
A walk around town was on the cards following dinner, with The Arch London but a stone’s throw away from not only Hyde Park but also the West End and Bond Street. Having left the chance of Madonna behind, we were rewarded with a chance meeting with none other than the actor Bill Nighy, who found himself lost on the way to dinner down the adjacent George Street.
The rack of lamb had been bested. Nothing says British like Bill.
Address: 50 Great Cumberland Pl, Marylebone, London W1H 7FD | T: +44 20 7724 4700 / W: thearchlondon.com/