At a time when the travel and tourism industries are struggling and people are planning more staycations than ever before, the arrival of two new luxury hotels in the heart of London is at once exciting, heartening and extremely welcome.
Middle Eight, on Great Queen Street in Covent Garden, and The Guardsman, on Buckingham Gate in Westminster are brand new openings from the Shiva Hotels Group. Both bring similar focus on design details, luxury, discreet and friendly service and exceptional dining and drinking options.
The Guardsman is a 53-room and six-residence hotel right next to St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace and Parliament Square. From its gilded exterior, to plush interior complete with deep velvet cushions, Art Deco details, glittering chandeliers and soft lighting, The Guardsman feels exclusive and discreet. The welcome is extremely friendly, the staff at The Guardsman clearly really care about what they are doing and can’t wait to welcome guests. Rooms are generous, beautifully designed and each is finished with the latest technology.
The Dining Room on the lower floor is equally beautiful and warm and serves a delicious selection of perfectly prepared classic dishes crafted from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Don’t miss the Cornish crab on toasted sourdough with guacamole and lemon vinaigrette, or the cod fillet with peas and pancetta. Cocktails are carefully thought out and prepared – the Queen’s Bee, which combines gin, honey and lime is the perfect aperitif and summer refresher. The Guardsman isn’t just a great hotel for visitors from around the UK (and across the world when we can welcome them back), it’s also an ideal location for a relaxing staycation.
Just a few minutes across town, Middle Eight is a similarly salubrious but buzzier affair, the perfect hotel pick for anyone who wants to feel at the heart of the capital’s action. In an imposing building on Great Queen Street, Middle Eight is a striking 168-room and 12-suite hotel that eschews the traditional hotel set up to create something warmer. The welcome starts before you enter the building thanks to the friendly doormen and continues with the personal check-in and attentive service.
The hotel is decked out in natural tones and textures, complete with plenty of greenery, and with striking bronze accents. Rooms are incredibly comfortable and well designed and use sustainable and recycled materials wherever possible. Each of the 12 suites features an indoor garden including living walls of vertical plants and some have outside areas, an outstanding luxury for a London hotel suite.
Middle Eight’s destination restaurant Sycamore Vino Cucina is expansive and lively, with open kitchens and wine cellars to peer into. Sycamore serves authentic Italian fare alongside a carefully-curated wine list and exciting, prosecco-dominated cocktail list. Standout dishes include the indulgent and moreish ravioli al tuorlo with egg yolk, spinach, ricotta, pine nuts, lemon and mint, and the linguine alle vongole, which came wonderfully al dente and garlicky. Secondi include a collection of perfectly cooked meat, fish and a delicious Sicilian-style cauliflower with fermented raisins. Leave room for dessert as the tiramisu is a contender for the best in London.
Opening soon at Middle Eight is QT Bar, a late-night basement bar which will host live music, comedy and more and serve exquisitely mixed cocktails and food to lucky guests and in-the-know Londoners.
Both hotels are bringing something new to the capital that will make locals and visitors smile in equal amounts. It’s refreshing to see new venues care so deeply about being a beloved part of the neighbourhood while offering world-class accommodation, food and service.