Designed in a flamboyant Edwardian style, 252 High Holborn, home to the ultra-luxurious Rosewood London, was constructed around the time of the First World War and housed the headquarters of the Pearl Assurance Company. A Grade II listed building, the Euros 100 million transformation from stately business headquarters to one of London’s most interesting luxury hotels was sensitively undertaken under the gaze of English Heritage and today houses 236 guest rooms and 45 suites.
There are five restaurants, lounges and bars at the property including the elegant and beguiling jewel-box design of the Mirror Room for all-day dining and Afternoon Tea, the Holborn Dining Room, a grand brasserie housed in the former east banking hall of Pearl Assurance, Scarfes Bar, named after Gerald Scarfe the renowned caricaturist, The Pie Room dedicated to intricate pastry creations and The Macallan Manor House with the look and feel of an opulent country manor.
Other facilities include the tranquil Sense, A Rosewood Spa for a range of nurturing treatments, the Face Place for time-honoured skincare expertise and The Fitness Suite, a contemporary space equipped with the latest cutting-edge gym equipment from Technogym and free weights. There is also a Matthew Curtis hair salon, with an interior inspired by The Orient Express.
Tucked away in a quiet courtyard behind the grand thoroughfare of High Holborn, one of London’s most historic districts, the Rosewood London is nevertheless located in the heart of the capital within easy reach of Covent Garden, the Royal Opera House, Soho, West End theatres, Somerset House, Fleet Street and attractions including the British Museum and Sir John Soane’s Museum.
The City of London is around 15 minutes away, home to Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England whilst for shopping, head for Bond, Regent and Oxford streets – just a short tube or taxi ride away. The nearest London Underground stationis Holborn on the Central Line, a very short walk away along High Holborn.
Rosewood London offers a luxury chauffeur service with its own fleet of cars including a Jaguar XJ Saloon and a Range Rover – idea for travelling in style from any of London’s airports. London City Airport is the nearest – around 14 kilometres away whilst London Heathrow Airport is around 29 kilometres, London Gatwick Airport is a little further away at 48 kilometres – both taking around an hour’s transfer to the hotel.
The major train stations are within a short walk or quick taxi ride away including St Pancras International, home to the Eurostar Terminal which is just 1.7 kilometres from the hotel.
For local drivers, the Rosewood London offers valet parking.
Designed by renowned interior designers Tony Chi and Associates, the hotel’s 263 spacious rooms and 45 suites and houses set across seven floors reflect the style of a London residence with materials used including lacquer, textured wood veneers and prismatic mirrors while the bathrooms feature the finest Italian marble and hand-beaten alpaca silver finishes.
There are five guest room categories including the entry level deluxe rooms, awash with natural light, a restrained colour palette and sumptuous bespoke furnishings; the Executive Rooms with a raised ceiling; the roomy family room; the Grand Executive Room with views, raised ceilings and curated furnishings and the Grand Premier Room, the hotel’s largest room at around 37 square metres of space with luxury amenities and a bathroom with a soaking tub and walk-in shower.
Amenities include Nespresso coffee machines, Rivolta Carmignani Italian linens, an extensive pillow selection, D R Harris toiletries (Czech & Speake in the suites), salon-grade hairdryers, 46-inch LED televisions, Geneva sound system with iPod/iPhone docking stations and a complimentary digital newspaper app. The suites also offer slightly larger televisions, sets of weighing scales and personal bars.
There are five types of suite available starting with the Junior Suite available in a number of layouts including split-level; the Deluxe Suite embodying contemporary residential elegance; the Premier with its refined manor house style; the Grand Premier counting itself as amongst the largest suites in town with a London town house feel and the two and three bedroom suites offering an apartment home away from home feel and 100 square metres of superbly appointed living space.
The eight “Signature Suites” are among the capital’s grandest and most spacious, with the top tier enjoying butler service. Uniquely designed, they range from the Dome Suite set on the hotel’s top level across several levels; the duplex Cupola; the generously sized Pearl Suite with its heritage accents; Cupola House, another duplex suite with a foyer, dressing room, sitting and powder room; Holborn House with its own den and wet room; Noble House with exceptionally high ceilings, overlooking the courtyard; Chancery House with a sunken dining room with double height ceilings and Garden House, a one-bedroom penthouse with stunning views from a private garden terrace.
Taking it up several notches, if that is possible, the Garden House Wing is a five-bedroom urban retreat with a superbly furnished terrace and views out over the city skyline; Lincoln House, a brand new three-bedroom Signature Suite with open plan living space, a dining room and kitchen; the Lincoln House Wing, an expansive, exceedingly private London residence with up to eight rooms; the Manor House, the Presidential one-bedroom suite with a foyer, sitting room, library, dining room and powder room and the Manor House Wing, arguably London’s most exclusive accommodation.
A palatial seven-bedroom suite and the only suite in the world to have its very own postcode, it also enjoys its own private entrance on High Holborn as well as a private lift. Designed to capture old world charm with a modern twist, the 185-square metre space is modern, sophisticated, edgy, and entertaining. Suite highlights include personalised stationery, a complimentary minibar with Fortnum & Mason products, a carefully curated wine selection in a temperature-controlled wine refrigerator, fresh flowers, a fruit bowl with a revolving selection of treats and a London car with chauffeur.
Sense, A Rosewood Spa can be found on the lower ground floor of the property and features zen-like bamboo walls, soft lighting and wooden walkways over rippling water and pebble stones, leading to seven treatment rooms, one of which is an exclusive couple’s suite. Facilities include a shimmering golf leaf and teak relaxation lounge, providing a restorative retreat in the heart of the city; dry heat saunas; Amethyst crystal steam rooms and large sensory showers with product ranges including Sodashi, Face Place, EviDenS de Beauté and Maison Caulières.
Some spa treatments – such as the Detoxifying Body Ritual - have an English edge, using Epsom salts rich in magnesium and sulphate sourced from a spa town in Surrey and used for thousands of years in British healing. Others, such as the British Rose Body Massage or British Rose Facial with Rose Quartz, use roses, originally brought over by the crusaders but made popular during the time of Queen Victoria.
The Spa also features Face Place, famously coveted by A-listers and beauty aficionados at both their flagship West Hollywood clinic and in New York. They specialise in a unique clinical approach to skincare with the Face Place Signature Treatment.
The Fitness Suite at Rosewood London is set over two rooms and combines a contemporary design with the latest cutting-edge equipment from Technogym and a range of free weights. Bathed in natural daylight for an inspiring workout, residents can also work with Harry Jameson for exemplary personal training. If preferred, the property offers a three-day fitness journey with Harry Jameson – The Jameson Fitness Retreat.
The boutique Matthew Curtis Hair Salon at Rosewood London is a beautiful wood panelled space, inspired by the opulent interiors of the Orient Express. The team here also offer an in-room service with all the modern elements of a hair salon housed in a vintage leather travelling trunk, effectively turning it into a portable styling station.
Families are welcomed warmly with young guests treated as mini-VIPs, greeted with a welcome letter on check in. There are plenty of child-friendly activities as part of the Rosebuds Programme including special child-friendly spa treatments, pie masterclasses and a children’s Art Afternoon Tea complete with paint tubes filled with jam and lemon curd! The hotel also offers baby cribs, baths, bottle warmers and linens, child-sized bathrobes and slippers, en-suite wireless baby monitors and an in-room baby proofing service.
The transformation of an imposing, establishment building representing a time of Empire into the intriguing and innovative Rosewood London of today, is one of the capital’s great success stories.
Opening at a time of turmoil with the First World War looming, the building gradually expanded over nearly fifty years, during which time it was the headquarters for the Pearl Assurance Company. The lavish interiors are fitted out with Cuban Mahogany and seven types of marble, including extremely rare types such as Swedish Green and Statuary. The principal facades as well as the interiors of the former East and West Banking Halls (now Holborn Dining Room and the Bar respectively) and the grand Renaissance-style seven story marble staircase are the significant heritage features.
A lengthy and painstaking restoration under the guiding hand of English Heritage saw missing details carefully replicated and replaced and with a nod to the building’s rich history, three individual heritage boardrooms are named in honour of chairmen of Pearl Assurance Company.
Beautifully restored it may be but this hotel does not take itself too seriously and the décor is not only stylish but fun and surprising. For example, Scarfe’s Bar has an 1870 lollipop rocking chair sourced in New York and antique cocktail chairs and barstools inspired by an original Edwardian armchair – not the normal furnishings you might expect. Other rooms enjoy an eclectic mix of wall art inspired by the British sense of humour. The lobby features a mosaic black and white marble floor, gilded églomisé glass partitions filled to the brim with quirky art, curiosities and books, stunning oak armoires and a parchment reception desk – the rule clearly being, expect the unexpected.
Rosewood as a group has “a Sense of Place” philosophy for all of its locations and with this particular property in London, it has nailed it definitively on the head. The hotel’s décor reflects the British capital’s history, culture and sensibilities with style and elan.
From Art Afternoon Teas and locally sourced brasserie style menus to creative cocktails and creative pastry making, there is a wide range of delicious choices available at Rosewood London. The beguiling jewel-box design of the Mirror Room with its floor to ceiling mirrors offers all-day dining and an award-winning Art Afternoon Tea conceived by Mark Perkins, Executive Pastry Chef. The changing themes are inspired by London and the world’s renowned artists as well as the hotel’s own art collection.
Scarfe’s Bar, designed by renowned interior designer Martin Brudnizki evokes a convivial atmosphere with a roaring fire at one end and wooden bar running along the other. The bespoke fireplace made from metal, antique brass and bronze is complemented by the walnut Art Deco mirror hanging above it. More than 1,000 antique books, handpicked by a Portobello art dealer, take pride of place in the shelves throughout the bar whilst the eclectic range of chairs adds instant glamour. Gerald Scarfe, the renowned British artist and caricaturist has lent his name and artistic vision to the bar with amusing and conversational illustrations adorning the marble walls, continuously updated to reflect current affairs. Creative cocktails are designed to suit personality types like the ‘Reformer’, ‘The Helper’, ‘The Achiever’ or our pick, ‘The Individualist’ (an unorthodox blend of Rémy Martin 1738, Old Duff, and sea buckthorn lavender) – all illustrated by Scarfe on a menu you might like to “take home with you”!
The Holborn Dining Room has also been designed by Martin Brudnizki, bringing a fun and vibrant elegance to the East Banking Hall of Pearl Assurance. A bustling brasserie for lunch and dinner with a menu of British classics with a twist, the interiors mix reclaimed oak furnishings, antique mirrors and opulent red leather upholstery with tweed fabric detailing.
The Gin Bar at Holborn Dining Room offers London’s largest collection of gin – over 500 gins and 30 tonics with gin-lovers possibly savouring up to 14,000 possible gin and tonic pairings from well-known international brands to small-batch and local distillers to choose from.
The Pie Room at Holborn Dining Room is a one-stop destination dedicated to one of Britain’s most iconic dishes. Spearheaded by Executive Head Chef and pastry expert Calum Franklin, The Pie Room is a treasure trove of savoury delicacies all handmade on site and served at Holborn Dining Room. Calum has also published the definitive pie bible in his debut cookbook with 80 recipes and achievable pies and sides, both sweet and savoury and the hotel offers Pie Masterclasses too. Even Jamie Oliver dubs Calum “the pie king”!
While the summer months are the best times of year to enjoy a tasty rosé at The Terrace, guests can dine al fresco here all year round as The Terrace is located in the hotel’s peaceful inner courtyard.
As the autumn approaches, the winter edition of The Macallan Manor House returns to the hotel. Pass through the Scottish grove of trees with rich copper tones and into a secret retreat where the soothing spiced aromas fill the air, reminiscent of an authentic Scottish winter and enjoy a single malt wrapped up in a woven blanket.
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has pledged to value the earth’s resources and to demonstrate environmental sensitivity. With each hotel, they respect the unique setting, history, environmental sensibilities and cultural mores for each community in which they are located. They prioritise conservation and sustainability in each location and adopt proactive policies to address them. They also establish relationships with environmental advocates to create educational and stewardship opportunities unique to each locale.
Providing the ultimate hospitality: Rosewood offer ultra-luxurious accommodation consistent with guest expectations of Rosewood hospitality and provide impeccable service that exceeds them without compromising or disrespecting the environment. They manage conscientiously and with integrity the natural resources and environments which play host to Rosewood properties. They embrace their tradition of refined elegance and residential aesthetic while showing consideration for the environmental setting.
Nurturing nature: Each hotel helps preserve clean air and water by implementing sustainable and environmental policies and standards for housekeeping, facility maintenance, landscaping and transportation. They manage and reduce waste by implementing sustainable and environmental policies and standards that address the “five Rs” of waste management: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Remove. Properties also conserve and reduce energy by implementing sustainable and environmental policies, standards and systems including the use of energy efficient equipment.
Education and dedication: Rosewood includes environmental sensitivity in policy and planning for all areas of the company including purchasing, budgeting, development and marketing. They incorporate sustainability training into associate job training and offer guests the option of choosing eco-friendly housekeeping, natural and organic food and beverage choices and energy efficient appliances. Ongoing, they are creating auditing and monitoring metrics, implementing enhancements to ensure continual improvement.
Rosewood also operates a Partners in Provenance initiative borne out of respect for local farmers and indigenous agriculture. Rosewood chefs are committed to locally grown produce, the freshest meals and the finest cuisine.