Hotel Review: Victory House Hotel, Leicester Square in London
The ice had just begun to thaw and the snow was starting to melt – the final reminder of the Beast from the East which battered the country just days before our weekend away. While the bitter wind still whistled through the buildings and the slush and sludge made the streets of London more akin to a Somerset field post-Glastonbury, as soon as we stepped inside the glass doors of Victory House Hotel we were reminded that we were in the middle of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.
We had some difficulties finding the four-star hotel – the small entrance, tucked between a restaurant and a church – but once inside, we were made to feel very welcome, met with a group of smartly-dressed and smiley staff. Check-in was quick and easy so it was just a matter of minutes before we were heading up to the top-floor to explore our executive suite.
The trendy, upscale 86-bedroom hotel – part of the luxury MGallery by Sofitel portfolio – is boldly decorated with monochrome colours, a tribute to the black and white films of the golden age of cinema. The glamourous Hollywood theme continued from the lobby into the rooms, as did the warm grey tones. Our room was super stylish and chic, with geo-patterned carpet and art deco furniture. The suite was cosy but compact with all the modern-day mod cons you’d expect, and some you wouldn’t, including a handy smart phone for international guests to take out and about with them to use wifi and GPS without roaming charges.
But it’s really all about the location. Victory House Hotel sits on the corner of Leicester Square, a cultural hub in London’s West End, the square’s numerous cinemas and theatres regularly play host to exciting, star-studded red-carpet events and attracts crowds of tourists every day.
The French renaissance building, with its rows of grand, arch windows, stands imposing on the corner of Leicester Place, gazing out across the iconic paved square that has played host to decades of Hollywood stars and film premieres. The original site was part of the land for Leicester House, a tavern and shops standing in Victory House Hotel’s spot before later becoming an upholsterers and then a post office. In 1898 the current façade was created and, more than 100 years later, still stands beautifully, now the corner of one of London’s busiest squares. The building is steeped in history, reminding all who visit the fast-paced destination of the heritage of the area. Work to renovate the building and transform it into a luxury boutique hotel began in 2015 and took two years, with Victory House Hotel opening under the ownership of MGallery Sofitel at the end of last year.
The hotel doesn’t just embrace its location, but celebrates Leicester Square and its rich movie history everywhere you look. From artwork – picturing famous movie scenes – hanging on the walls and books all about the greatest films of all time, to projections of classic black and white pictures in the lobby and bagged popcorn favours on your pillow; everything inside the hotel is a tribute to the local area and it’s glamorous past.
As well as the film nods – which are aplenty – there are also touches of luxury inside the four-star hotel. The all-singing, all-dancing coffee machine in the suite means guests can wake up in style while the trendy toiletries mean visitors needn’t fill their suitcases with bottles and pots. We were welcomed with a delicious fresh fruit platter and decadent chocolate dessert, and the mini bar and fridge were well-stocked with vegetable crisps, tasty biscuits, more popcorn, bottled water, milk and wholesome fruit juices. Everything in the room was included in the charge, meaning no surprising extras at check-out time for extortionately priced nuts.
But, the hotel’s major selling point is not what’s inside the building, but outside. It sits in the heart of Central London and is a tourist’s dream location for exploring the vast city and its major landmarks. Within just 10 minutes we’d ambled over to Piccadilly to enjoy a relaxing lunch at one of our favourite restaurants: Benihana. And just a 20-minute stroll from the hotel’s doorstep is the shopper’s paradise of Oxford Street where we explored Selfridges and high street chains before diving off into Carnaby Street for some quirkier shops.
Laden with bags and feeling rather weary we headed back to the hotel via Soho which is, again, just a stone’s throw from the comfort of our Victory House suite. With bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs on every street, the area gives hotel guests an eclectic array of eateries and nightlife to choose from should they wish to hit the town after dark during their stay – with just a short stagger home to bed. And, located in the heart of the West End, hotel guests also have their pick of the world’s best musicals and plays to pick from if they’re looking for a little more culture during their stay.
We chose to rest our feet for a few hours in a swanky cocktail bar before wandering back to the hotel in time for a late supper at the Petit Bistro, just a lift-ride away – downstairs! The bistro is small and intimate with a simple menu. A three-course meal costs a very reasonable £24.95 and there are just four or five options to choose from. I opted for the goats cheese and beetroot salad while my husband chose pate – both were packed full of flavour, using the finest ingredients and presented beautifully. For the entrée, it was steak frites for me and confit of duck for him. Again, both were warm, tasty and filling – the béarnaise sauce lifting the flavours of my dish. And finally, to finish, we selected the floating island and cheese and biscuits respectively. My husband thoroughly enjoyed the selection of French and British cheeses on his board while my dessert – a meringue sitting atop a toffee sauce did leave me a little confused!
The staff were attentive and extremely friendly, chatting away while we perused the menu. The restaurant feels authentically French – despite its location in one of England’s most widely-renowned tourist attractions – and was welcoming and inviting, if a little cold! Washed down with a bottle of red wine, which was also a little cold (something that can soon be rectified with a warmer storage area for the reds) we were soon exhausted from our busy day so it was a short ride up to the top floor to our cosy room.
After a restful night’s slumber, it was up bright and early to return to Petit Bistro for the delights of the breakfast menu. The eatery offers an assortment of options to appeal to all nationalities from a continental buffet to classic English fry up to an a la carte menu offering everything from eggs benedict to pancakes.
Our visit was short and sweet but a great taster of the hotel which opened just a few months prior. But I’m fairly certain it won’t take long for Victory House Hotel to make a name for itself as one of the most popular hotels in London thanks to it’s stylish charm and unbeatable location. So if you fancy trying it out, you’d better get yourself booked in sooner rather than later!
Rooms at Victory House Hotel are available from £200 per night and suites start from £342 per night. Breakfast and dinner is available from the hotel’s restaurant, Petit Bistro, which is also open to the public. A three-course dinner costs £24.95 per person.
Address: 14 Leicester Place, London WC2H 7BZ
Phone: 0843 178 7190