There's a science to finding a good hotel in London. And, like chemistry or gravity, the key is balance. What's the point of the location being tip-top if the room size is teeny? Or if the room is huge but decorated like something from a Gretna Green guest house circa 1950?
Well somewhere in the lab of Hotel Science-ology, there's a Venn diagram with the South Place Hotel at its centre. Location, room size, chicness: Eureka!
South Place is an 80-bedroom, luxury hotel in the City of London, just a toddle away from Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations. It boasts Conran-designed interiors, two restaurants, three bars, and five private dining and meeting rooms.
It's also part of the Design Hotel group, making it uber-stylish. We're talking Cara Delevigne arriving at the Met Ball in a Maserati with David Gandy on her arm stylish here. Quirky modern art peppers the main areas of the hotel, giving the place the vibe of a New York bar crossed with the Saatchi Gallery. We like it.
After checking in, we recommend checking out the hotel's cool Games Room, which looks like the living room we always imagined we'd have when we grew up (and earned megabucks, natch), with a retro record player, squishy sofas, table football and a library of books.
There's also a very hi-tech gym and a smart little sauna and steam room if you fancy some towel-based R&R.
The rooms at the South Place get our Dirty Weekend seal of approval. The colour palette of aubergine, slate and accents of yellow keep it modern yet comfortable, and the dark wood and artwork on the wall are grown up and funky.
We loved the truly fabulous minibar. Not only is it well stocked with Sipsmith gin, lemons, limes and nibbles, there's also what can best be described as a one-use 'kink kit', containing lube, condoms and an interesting-looking tickling feather. Well, hello!
If you and your paramour need a breather after that, the room also has one of the biggest TVs we've ever seen. We liked the channel full of music playlists, which was like having one of our cool friends take over our Spotify playlist.
You'll also want to make the most of the big sexy bathroom and lush toiletries from James Heeley. The range is named St Clement's (because they smell like oranges and lemons, you see) and yes, they did go in our suitcase.
Despite having London on your doorstep, there's really no need to leave the hotel to eat or drink.
You'll find two bars, both filled with gorgeous people and quirky cocktails, and it's the one on the first floor is where you take those you want to impress.
The covered outdoor courtyard is scattered with lamps and cushions for cuddling up when it's chilly. And if there's nobody serving at the bar when you arrive, you can use the bright red telephone to call someone up immediately.
Move upstairs to the top floor for dinner if you fancy a culinary treat. The Angler is a Michelin-starred seafood restaurant and it's excellent. Clams, crab, and carpaccio of octopus are all on the menu, making this a seafood lover's dream. Ask the sommelier to recommend a Chardonnay to try with your fish. We don't usually like the grape, but we were converted by her suggestions. Impressive.
Whatever you do, don't check out without sampling the South Place bottomless brunch. The concept is simple: Enjoy a delicious selection of brunchy nibbles, with as many cocktails as you can drink. Not bad, eh. Thanks to the generous proffering of Bloody Marys, mimosas and bellinis, it's our new Saturday haunt.
The hotel is getting a reputation for putting on a good party, including the raucous knees-up they had when gay marriage was legalised earlier this year. And you can host your own 'do' here, too. The hotel has its own party planners, who promise to take care of the 'event production and talent management' - which sounds like a rather nice idea.
Prices start from £200 for a standard room up to £1,200 per night for the most luxurious, premium suite.
South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, London EC2M 2AF
020 3503 0000, southplacehotel.com
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