The Arch in all its Georgian gorgeousness
Kerris Montague, 38, from Cambridgeshire, is 29 weeks pregnant and visited The Arch hotel in the centre of London with her husband Sam, 42
WHY WE WENT
I’ve not had the easiest of pregnancies, what with terrible morning sickness and a couple of scares. Now, however, I’ve finally reached the stage that, while not exactly blooming, things have settled down and I feel almost human. It finally felt like the time was right to enjoy a much-needed babymoon and where better to go than the heart of our great metropolis, London’s West End. And where better to stay than The Arch, a much lauded five star boutique hotel that promised exemplary service, sophistication and style, all within sight of the iconic Marble Arch, so hence its distinctive name!
Whenever me and Sam come to London, we always feel a frisson of excitement (after all it’s where we first met, way back in our carefree students days), and our visit this time certainly elicited that familiar response. Indeed, as dusk began to fall, our black cab approached the hotel, all lit up with twinkly lights and a Union Jack flag blowing proudly in the blustery winter wind, we were both smiling like Cheshire cats.
To say The Arch has kerb appeal would be something of an understatement – it exudes Georgian gorgeousness spanning as it does over seven Grade II listed townhouses and two mews homes to create an 82-roomed haven of total peace and unbridled luxury, despite being just a short stroll from the crowds and the chaos that is Oxford Street in December. Upon entering the building through a classical portico, we were immediately captivated by the quirky, contemporary, yet unequivocally sumptuous interior, from a giant polar bear statue, complete with Santa hat, in the corner (well, it was nearly Christmas) to the stylish reception which is backed by a large screen showing on loop a wood burning fire on our visit. Everywhere you turn there’s pieces of modern art, with the hotel priding itself on showcasing emerging talent.
After a warm welcome and a hassle-free check in we were shown up to our third floor room, where the wow factor continued. Every bedroom is individually designed and the attention to detail (the wallpaper in our room was breathtakingly beautiful, being hand-painted in Italy) creates a truly impressive space. Nothing could be faulted. Of particular note however, was the vast, cushion-festooned bed that enveloped my weary body like a loving embrace, while in the mirror and marble bathroom a state-of-the-art flat-screen TV hung at the foot of the tub, complete with bath pillow. Watching Saturday evening telly with my big bump poking out of the warm, bubble-filled water felt so wonderfully indulgent!
One of the biggest most comfortable beds ever!
HUNter 486 restaurant, named after the area's telephone exchange
HUNter 486 might sound like a strange name for The Arch’s restaurant, but repeat it in a very posh, old-style BBC voice and you might guess its origin – it’s the 1950s phone number of the original building, as cited by the clipped-accented operators of the day, and a fine way to honour the area’s past. Not that there’s anything old-fashioned about the restaurant itself, offering a vibrant, modern menu in a relaxed, informal setting. A Champagne bar at one end and an open kitchen with a wood burning oven at the other, we were seated in a comfortable booth in the middle, perfect for observing all that was going on. A mocktail for me and martini for Sam were supped while we perused the menu, accompanied by such moreish homemade crisps that they had disappeared in minutes. Next up, I had crab cakes with pickled cucumber, while Sam opted for scallops with chorizo, and there were no complaints from us as we greedily cleaned our plates. By the time our mains arrived, a best of butcher’s board to share that included rib eye, mini burgers and braised short rib, we were both feeling pretty stuffed, but such was the meltingly tender deliciousness of the cow-feast in front of us, we persevered to the end. After such a meal, I couldn’t even contemplate pudding, but in the interests of a full and thorough review Sam chose the mulled wine poached pear with vanilla mascarpone and sugared almonds. A martyr to the cause, he again cleared the bowl!
Thankfully The Arch takes the civilised approach of offering breakfast up until 11am, so by the time we sat down the following morning our appetites had just about returned. My pared back full English (just one egg and minus the baked beans) was cooked to perfection, as were Sam’s Eggs Benedict.
Handmade crisps, impossible to resist!
The crab cake starter went down a treat
THINGS TO DO
Such is The Arch’s location that most London sights and attractions are on the doorstep, or a short tube or taxi ride away, so if you’ve come to London to do the tourist/shopping thing, then you couldn’t find a better base. We however, had come to relax, so aside from a gentle stroll around the delightful back streets of Marylebone, we largely stayed in the hotel, lapping up the luxury. Being big movie buffs, we were delighted to discover that The Arch’s DVD library consists of every Oscar winning film since 1945, which is how we came to be happily ensconced in our room come night time, watching My Fair Lady, drinking hot chocolate and marvelling at the incredible comfortableness of the gigantic bed. Heaven!
Undoubtedly, The Arch is a genuine five star gem, where no expense has been spared in ensuring that guests feel appreciated and pampered while receiving the very best in hospitality. The difference, however, from it’s equally esteemed competitors is that it manages to do so seamlessly and without pretension in a setting that has such a deftness of design that it’s covetous and cosy at the same time. We loved it and will most definitely be back.
A deluxe room at The Arch starts from £350 a night, while dinner for two at HUNter 486 will cost around £80. For more information visit thearchlondon.com
Post baby we'll be back to sample the bar!
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