You get a feeling that romance is in the air as you walk through the doors of L’oscar London. You soon have affirmation from the two marble cupid sculptures placed on either side of the foyer steps as well as the bronze sculpture of a frolicking nude nymph on tiptoes as she welcomes you into her luxury lair for a much-needed staycation.
The opulent royal red and purple, velvet tasselled curtains and gilded mirrors draw you in like being at the theatre to watch a play by Oscar Wilde perhaps. L’oscar London mixes the ostentatious wit of bohemian Wilde and equal measures of sumptuousness, elegance and decadence. For example, there are glowing crystal sculptures of birds, lots of birds – all four hundred and ninety-five Lalique-styled birds, to be precise; used as lamps throughout L’oscar London, including the magnificent seven-floor high chandelier.
But what do kingfishers, parakeets and hummingbirds all have in common? Apart from being our feathered friends, these birds form part of the overall ‘feathers and wings’ theme chosen for this spectacular boutique hotel by Jacques Garcia, the French architect and designer behind the La Mamouia and NoMad hotels.
This is simply one of the most stunning hotels I have ever seen. The beauty of this grade two-listed building stops conversations and stuns us into an admirable silence. L’oscar London launched in 2018, following a major renovation of the once headquarters for the Baptist Church, which was built in the 1900s. The Edwardian architecture, built in the Neo-Baroque style, lends itself to the influences of Eighteenth-Century French architecture but also the British Arts and Crafts movement. The building suffered bomb damage during WWII, and the dwindling congregation led to its imminent closure. It remained derelict for decades before restoration began in 2012 by master craftsmen, creating 39 stunning bedrooms.
All staff members are charming, and the service is exceptional. The concierge has the prestigious Golden Keys and can make recommendations and reservations for you and plan your itinerary. Speak to the team, who will gladly take you on a historical tour through various rooms, marvelling at the original features such as the ornate carved Doulton fireplaces, plastered ceilings, oak panelling, a Grand Library out of a period film and the grand wooden staircase. The area under the dome of the former chapel at the Baptist Bar is spectacular and can be hired as a private event space for a romantic wedding, perhaps?
Our Junior Suite – 308
This Junior Suite is one of 39 guestrooms and suites at L’oscar London. There are over 10 room categories offering plenty of choice with some unique rooms, including a two bedroom suite. The spacious room has a seating area as well as a private hallway leading to a large marble and onyx bathroom with a rainforest shower and a deep luxurious bathtub that is big enough for two. The bathroom comes complete with bespoke lush Roja Dove bath products. Interestingly, Roja Dove has also created a perfume for the hotel, L’oscar Pour Homme, where the central note is Carnation, Oscar Wilde’s favourite flower.
Peacock feathers made with silk gold threads adorn the wardrobe doors, bed headboard and cushions. Beautiful artwork in keeping with the Edwardian features of the room hanging on the walls. The attention to detail is meticulous throughout. There is even a control panel by either bedside to control the lighting for all areas of the room, including the bathroom. This is a particularly useful feature for those who want to set the romantic mood lighting without getting up from the extremely comfortable king-sized bed, not to mention from under the Icelandic hand-picked down feather duvet.
Based in Holborn, L’oscar London is ideal for guests that are looking for an elegant stay near London’s West End; the markets and shops of Covent Garden and the restaurants and bars of Soho are all within walking distance from the hotel. Holborn Underground station is located a few meters away, providing a fast and convenient way to travel to the city or to the museums of South Kensington.
The restaurant at L’oscar London is a truly spectacular and surreal sight; the décor is inspired by Caffé Florian, the oldest café in Venice and supposedly the world with its wall-to-ceiling lined gilded mirrors and panels, a visibly glowing onyx bar contrasted against dark purple velvet covered seating. With its multitude of speckled LED lights glowing orange on the mirrored ceiling and reflected in the wall mirrors, one feels like being inside an Infinity Mirror Room exhibit by Yayoi Kusama, but with the added benefit of being able to eat and drink inside without being scolded by a gallery attendant.
The sophisticated Parisian-style décor of the restaurant pairs very well with the decadent fine dining of the L’oscar London restaurant, thanks to the Head Chef, Allan Pickett. The restaurant serves the best of British ingredients with an opulent French style of cooking. The concept is simple and executed well. A small selection of starters and a main course which is all paired with sauces and sides.
The lamb chops were tender, flavoured, and accompanied by a thick, lush tangy béarnaise sauce. The restaurant has an extensive wine list – do take the opportunity to sample champagne in exquisite signature crystal champagne coupes made for the hotel. The Premier Cru Brut Michel Reybier is especially impressive, blending Chardonnay (70%) and Pinot Noir (30%). Crisp, dry and smooth.
Cocktails are also really well thought out. Fabio Santoro has created a versatile bespoke cocktail list with some very clever twists on classics. Fabio creates these cocktails with such a delicate touch. It is like watching a master at work. Original creations include a Fig Manhattan with Cognac, Rye, Fig and Amaro Montenegro. The Gold Negroni is also well balanced with Tanqueray 10 Gin, White Vermouth, Lavender Tonic Reduction and a Bay Leaf.
Inspired by the history and décor of the hotel, afternoon tea captures the decadence and opulence of all things unique to L’oscar London. Offering a selection of savoury sandwiches, sweet scones and pastries paired with a selection of Newby teas. The champagne afternoon tea is very reasonable, and the egg sandwiches with black truffles are a must-try.
I was in a pancake kind sort of mood, and I was not disappointed. In fact, being accustomed to fine dining in the most fashionable of restaurants in town, L’oscar London would be just the type of restaurant Wilde would enjoy, although he probably wouldn’t make the 10:30 am last breakfast order, and if he did, it would be a rather sombre affair as ‘only dull people are brilliant at breakfast’ or so he claimed.
In a nutshell
L’oscar London embodies everything that is good in life. The atmosphere they have created brings an ambience of calm, relaxation and utter luxury. 2023 will bring some great new features to L’oscar London, so watch this space for the exciting plans ahead.
To discover more, visit: loscarlondon.com
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All imagery courtesy of L’oscar London.