Covent Garden Hotel, London $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
There are two types of luxury hotel in London: Grand old hotels like Claridge's and the Dorchester make bold gestures, lavishing posh bars, celebrity-designed rooms, and liveried doormen on guests. Then there's the quiet, intimate luxury of the Covent Garden Hotel, a 58-room bolt-hole in the West End, whose only extravagance is its uncanny grasp of what its guests want: to be left at peace and in great comfort. The flagship of the stylish Firmdale Group of hotels, the Covent Garden has a more traditional demeanor than its contemporary cousins the Soho Hotel and the Haymarket, but the English country decor never feels stuffy. The lobby is understated, offering only a smattering of seats; instead, there's a good all-day brasserie and, upstairs, a cozy "drawing room" where guests can have tea, read the newspaper, or entertain friends in a setting of plush sofas, fireplaces, and an honesty bar. With the exception of the least-expensive category (queen rooms, which are only 118 square feet; the next category up is 205 square feet), rooms are large and extraordinarily comfortable, each individually designed with brightly patterned textiles and wall coverings, original artwork, and a mix of traditional and contemporary furniture. There's also a well-edited minibar, flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi, and a large marble bathroom with dual sinks, a tub, and a shower stall with terrific water pressure. Huge windows overlook the street (either Monmouth Street or Shaftsbury Avenue), providing plenty of daylight and, despite soundproofed windows, a not insignificant amount of hubbub. Well, you're in the city, after all—and a damn near perfect location at that, with theater, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife just out the door.Peter J. Frank
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