Words by Nick Gibbens
London is blessed with its fair share of luxury hotels offering everything from award-winning spas to Michelin-starred restaurants to world-famous bars and lavish suites that you could only ever dream of residing in. So, how does a hotel stand out among the many and solidify its status as a must-visit establishment in the city?
Well, holding a five-star status is always a good start; it is a good indication of the extra effort the staff will put in when accommodating guests and an assurance of luxurious accommodation and public areas as well as a high-quality menu, wine list and a range of facilities to utilise during your stay. In addition to this, it helps to have a clear identity, a theme that ties the décor together with the history of the building, and it certainly helps if said hotel happens to be within the walls of one of London’s most historic buildings, such as Great Scotland Yard Hotel is.
The name gives you an indication of what this history might involve, and you would be correct in guessing it is the site of the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Police. Also used as the headquarters of the Army Recruiting Office for World War I and II, the 1820’s Grade II listed building with Edwardian and Victorian architecture now stands as a plush, richly decorated hotel with plenty of hints within as to its policing history.
Great Scotland Yard is part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, a brand within Hyatt which showcases hotels with rich histories, their own stories to tell, experiences to share and a sense of individuality within such a well-revered brand.
The five-star hotel expertly blends tradition and history with modern luxury, with the hotel décor speaking for itself and the bespoke art dotted about providing plenty of talking points. From the personalised check in to the dog friendly rooms, the event spaces and fitness centre to its excellent central location close to Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, guests are certainly well catered for here.
The large hotel boasts 152 guest rooms which include eight suites and a standalone, two-bedroom townhouse which acts as the presidential suite. No two rooms are the same in décor, but all promise to offer the same level of comfortable luxury with classic London views. I stayed in a guestroom and found that though the room didn’t scream outstanding of uniqueness or design, it was certainly plush, modern and provided a very comfortable stay – especially when I found myself relaxing after a busy day of meetings with a Euro’s game on the large TV. In addition to free Wi-Fi, classic and neutral décor, and sumptuous surroundings, I found the spacious bathroom with walk-in shower, soft lighting and high level of cleanliness for Covid assurance very satisfying.
Food and drink
During my visit in June, I was aware that a number of the public dining spaces were temporarily closed as a result of the pandemic, but still managed a meal and a few drinks in the elegant surroundings of The 40 Elephants all day bar. Known as the hub of the hotel, guests can head here for barista-served coffee, lunches, dinners, craft beers and ciders and a selection of specialised signature cocktails. The setting is a wonderful example of how exquisitely designed the hotel interiors are, from the marble floor to the atrium roof and magnificent chandelier to the ornate tables, stylish seating and the long, full bar. The all-day menu provided me with a good selection of treats to choose from including a Portobello mushroom scotch egg, charcuteries board, salads, tomato tagliatelle, fish and chips and my choice of beef burger, fries and salad with cheese and bacon. Desserts include a three British cheese selection and a Black Forest ice cream sandwich.
The food offerings at Great Scotland Yard consist of The Yard; the main restaurant which is due to reopen on September 17th as Ekstedt at The Yard with Michelin-starred chef Niklas Ekstedt and his signature style of wood fired ‘old Nordic’ cooking at the forefront. Tucked away is Síbín – a relaxed and elegant space ideal for reclining with a post-dinner drink or two, and Parlour – the perfect spot to enjoy a traditional British afternoon tea with a twist. In addition to this there is the Veuve Cliquot Champagne Terrace, which is due to operate until September 2021, and provides the ideal place to take in the warmer weather with a glass of the Champagne brand’s Yellow Label Brut or Rosé in hand.
For those looking to stay active during their city travels, the hotel’s own fitness centre should provide you with enough reason to keep motivated, from the cardio equipment to the strength training machines. And if you’re scoping out the hotel for a potential party or other type of gathering then Grace and Favour is the place to seek out. The non-traditional space holds an epic LCD screen, caters to all dietary requirements and promotes itself as the perfect space for social events, screenings and inspirational sessions.
In a nutshell
Though I feel I missed out on the full food experiences due to the closures, it is safe to say that I enjoy a decent stay in the plush, modern surroundings of this design-led central London hotel.
Address: 3-5 Great Scotland Yard, London, England, SW1A 2HN
Tel: +44 (0) 207 9254 700