West End hotel

Stay: An undisputed icon in London’s theatre district

If serene minimalism at the heart of London is what you’re after, then few places can match this West End favourite.

Ian Schrager’s St Martins Lane – alongside Morgans Hotel Group’s sister, Sanderson – redefined the notion of boutique hotels when it opened in London in 1999.

The rooms are a study in understatement, all white and angular, with adjustable purple lights adding to the tranquil ambience in the middle of one of London’s busiest areas.

Located on the edge of Covent Garden, and a few minutes’ walk from Soho, there may be many options when it comes to restaurants, cafes and nightspots, but the hotel offers plenty to keep its clients within its own doors.

The Den is a laidback space that gives off a living-room vibe, where you can enjoy a quiet drink or some afternoon tea in the company of a good book or the day’s newspapers. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Asia de Cuba, remains a favourite for visitors, its decoration evoking Havana’s Chinatown, and the menu a fusion of Cuban and Asian cuisine. Finally there’s the dimly lit, atmospheric speakeasy Blind Spot, offering an extensive list of cocktails ‘til the early hours of the morning.

In the years since St Martins Lane changed the hotel scene in London, boutique properties have become part of the West End landscape. Few, however, have come close to capturing the unique vibe that it maintains to this day.

Theatre district

St Martins Lane is perfectly located for lovers of the theatre and performing arts. It’s home to the Duke of York’s Theatre, Noël Coward Theatre and the English National Opera at the Coliseum Theatre. And not far from the hotel is London’s famous Shaftesbury Avenue, a street that houses some of the West End’s most famous theatres, such as the Apollo and Queens.

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