SL Reviews: Kimpton Fitzroy London

SL Reviews: Kimpton Fitzroy London

Overlooking Russell Square and clad in Royal Doulton terracotta, this Grade II*-listed hotel was originally designed by Charles Fitzroy Doll in 1898. Following a £85m refurb by the cool boutique group Kimpton Hotels, it has become a popular haunt for A-listers and well-dressed tourists alike. Here’s why the property should make the shortlist for your next London staycation…

The location…

Occupying a prime piece of property on the edge of Russell Square, the Kimpton Fitzroy is located right in the centre of Bloomsbury, just steps from the tube. Many of the hotel’s 334 bedrooms have views over the square, offering guests a real sense of place from the moment they wake up. The hotel is a central spot for tourists, but is secluded enough for seasoned Londoners who fancy a weekend escape. Just around the corner from Lamb’s Conduit Street – where you’ll find highly esteemed restaurants Noble Rot, Ciao Bella and La Fromagerie and boutiques by YMC, Folk, Aesop and Universal Works – the hotel also has the Brunswick Centre and its art-house cinema on its doorstep, plus galleries such as the British Museum and Sir John Soane’s Museum. All is within walking distance, although the best way to see the sights is via one of the designer bikes available to borrow from the front desk.

The bedrooms…

The hotel's modernity translates to its many bedrooms and suites: picture angular four-poster beds, commissioned artwork, chic neutral tones and luxurious linens, while subtle TVs, huge desks and comfy sofas really make this feel like a plush home away from home. The best part of the room, however, has to be the bathroom. Like the most covetable on Instagram, the shower rooms feature delicate white tiles and marble floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and cheese plants aplenty, plus gold accents, double sinks and roll-top baths. Each comes with a series of ‘Forgot It? We’ve Got It’ amenities, meaning you can pack lightly. In some rooms, Penguin clothbound classics inspire you to channel the creative energy of Virginia Woolf and other luminaries who called the surrounding neighbourhood of Bloomsbury home. Perfect for reading in that roll-top bath.

The food…

Neptune is the highly acclaimed modern seafood joint housed in the hotel. The space comes kitted out with a centrepiece oyster bar, dreamy peach walls, hanging plants and art deco banquettes. Guests can look forward to seafood platters topped with Scottish langoustine, wild mussels, soused mackerel and hardshell crab aguachile, larger sharing dishes cooked over a wood-fired grill (think whole Cornish crab with house spaghetti in a smoked tomato, Vietnamese basil and long pepper sauce) and one of the nicest rhubarb and custard tarts we’ve ever sampled. An all-natural wine list is complemented by a modern-style caviar service.

For a classic-meets-modern afternoon tea experience, head to the Palm Court – the ultimate relaxed space, flooded with natural light from the glass ceiling and filled with lush green planting. Here, ex-Dorchester executive chef Roger Olsson and pastry chef Thibault Marchand have created a quintessentially British menu with a twist – combining ingredients from the four corners of the world. Expect finger sandwiches and freshly-baked scones in unique flavour combinations (think camomile and lemon, matcha and sesame and Earl Grey), followed by a selection of delectable cakes. Our top tip? Make a late booking and sample one of the herb-infused cocktails from the Palm Court’s gin trolley, coming later this summer.

Meanwhile, Burr & Co is the hotel’s come-as-you-are coffee shop. Serving everything from early-morning flat whites to late-afternoon white wines, this is an affordable and easy-going space where guests can grab and go, sit with a cup of coffee and a laptop, or meet up with friends to share small plates such as cumin-roasted purple carrots with harissa yoghurt and toasted buckwheat and glasses of both wine or beer on tap.

The drinks…

Late last year, Neptune launched a wine bar. The 33-seater bar offers a relaxed space for a pre-dinner cocktail or a quick bite in the evening (a succinct bar snack menu includes small plates such as celery and caesar dressing; Mull cheddar cheese puffs; and hot buttered crab roll). Sharing the same low-intervention ethos as the restaurant, the bar specialises in grower champagnes and sparkling wines, as well as offering a rotating selection of wines by the glass. The impressive list is curated by wine consultant Isabelle Legeron, the world’s foremost authority on natural and low-intervention wines. Every day from 6-7pm is ‘Oyster Happy Hour’, where all oysters are offered at half price and can be paired with a featured bottle of grower champagne, chosen each week and served at bottle shop price. And don’t forget about normal happy hour from 5-6pm, where all hotel guests are invited for free fizz.

Named after the building’s architect Charles Fitzroy Doll, the next-door Fitz’s Bar has paid close attention to its heritage – the space is awash with dark-wood panelling, opulent fabrics and fringed velvet furnishings. Cocktails take inspiration from the jazz age; we loved sampling the ‘Spy Princess’ (Holy Grass vodka, Edinburgh rhubarb and ginger liqueur, Amaro Montenegro, apple, lemon, egg white and champagne) and the ‘Broken Window’ (Caol lla 12yr Scotch, Ancho Reyes Verde, manzanilla sherry, sweet cicely cordial and celery bitters). Guests can drink their considered cocktails, devised by former bartenders at Milk & Honey and Callooh Callay, beside an oversized disco ball and more of those striking original stained-glass windows. Just don’t fill up on too many complimentary Twiglets before dinner.

The vibe…

The best way we can describe the Kimpton Fitzroy is ‘modern glamour’. From the carefully restored terracotta exterior, which occupies a full block of Russell Square, to the stained glass and marble entranceway and staircase, the hotel offers historical nods to extravagance everywhere you turn. We particularly liked the quirky astrologic mosaic upon entry, and Lucky George, a brass dragon that guards the stairway. He’s called lucky as his counterpart – just named George – sank while defending a very similar stairwell on the Titanic. These historical details are all amplified by modern touches – think opulent wall colours that climb up the ceilings, leopard-print fringed lampshades and an abundance of greenery.

1-8 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BE


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