BRITAIN’s Editor Jessica Tooze finds a boutique bolthole in central London that is quietly impressive.
Hotel dining in London these days is all about the celebrity chefs, the historic locations, and the catchy names such as Kaspar’s and Koffmann’s that you can casually drop to admiring friends. The decidedly un-catchy HUNter 486 Brasserie at The Arch London hasn’t quite grasped this, but don’t be put off – this place is quite the clever find.
In an excellent location down Great Cumberland Place – a street peppered with hotels, home to Madonna, and framed by Marble Arch at the southern end – The Arch is the sort of quiet, classy hotel that any tourist, businessperson or local would be happy to stumble upon.
Some serious thought and money has gone into every aspect of the space, and what was once six separate townhouses is now a relaxing bolthole hidden from the noise and frenzied buzz of nearby Oxford Street and Soho. The décor is clean and pleasant – dark wood enlivened by some interesting art, excellent lighting and colourful soft furnishings – and the staff are welcoming and efficient.
The rooms are also excellent and even the very frequent traveller cannot fail to be delighted with the suites in particular. Take the JUNiper 586 suite. Yes, it’s another silly, overcomplicated name but the room is simply perfect, with every mod con from Nespresso coffee machine to television in the bath, and even your own private outdoor terrace.
The HUNter 486 Brasserie feels slightly different from the rest of the hotel – a bit more funky and less businesslike – but it is just as slick an operation. The bar is a very good place to come if you’re looking for quiet drinks away from the more well-known (and always packed) West End bars nearby. There are plenty of cocktails to choose from and a small yet interesting winelist – at the top end there’s a Château Margaux 1er Cru 1998 for £450.
The menu features some popular basics – pizzas, Cesar salad, burgers – presumably to cater to the tastes of the many tourists in the area, but there are more adventurous choices as well, including tasty oysters, a melt-in-the-mouth fillet steak with a quite vinegary but excellent Béarnaise and an equally moreish roast loin of saltmarsh lamb with ratatouille and Dauphinoise potatoes.
Apparently HUNter 486 was the Fifties district dialling code for Marylebone, and while it may not have the immediate catchy clout of some of its neighbouring hotels, perhaps that is a good thing – this remains something of a hidden gem.
The Arch London, 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London W1H 7FD www.thearchlondon.com