I'm firmly in the love it camp and I thought I knew all there was about the city's best hotels.
Evidently, I don't, or at least I didn't until last weekend when I had the pleasure of visiting a new hotel that had somehow slipped under my ‘must visit’ luxury hotels radar.
I stayed at Middle Eight in the heart of London’s trendy Covent Garden. Middle Eight is part of the Shiva hotels family and was designed for ‘those who want to live the city not just stay in it’. When I read that sentence in the hotel’s brochure, I wondered what the difference was going to be and now I know. My room was a joy to behold - you could actually live in this room for quite some time and not get tired of it. This isn’t just all mod cons – this is absolute comfort, luxury and glamour.
This is a hotel that just oozes style with more than an air of cool nonchalance about it. It is not bold and brassy in your face OTT indulgence. This place is pure class with a giant dollop of chic on top.
Aside from the calm and welcoming décor of Rivers suite, I was immediately taken aback by the most unusual yet wow factor thing I’ve ever seen in a hotel room – and I've seen a few. In the centre of the room was an indoor garden feature – a little oasis bathed in natural light courtesy of a skylight window - talk about clever design. Outdoor space comes at a premium in London and two of the other suites at Middle Eight enjoy secluded outdoor terraces – perfect for hot, steamy summers in the city. (Note to self – book that for my next trip in July!) A phrase often used in travel writing when describing a peaceful retreat is ‘an oasis of calm in a bustling city’ - this is exactly what Middle Eight is, and more peaceful ambient and relaxing accommodation I have yet to find.
Dining at Middle Eight is no less impressive. Sycamore Vino Cucina, the hotel’s signature restaurant offers an all-day Italian inspired menu and the adjacent bar overlooking Great Queen Street has a superb selection of beers, wines and spirits.
Middle Eight takes its name from a musical term; an interlude or bridge that is used to inject variety, breaking up repetition through a key or tempo change in a song. Middle Eight certainly changes the pace from the chaos and noise of central London. The minute I walked through the door I knew this was going to be the perfect antidote to the stress of my busy life and also from the nightmare journey I had getting across town during a Tube strike.
Music is a huge part of the hotel's identity and I have to tell you it's also a huge part of mine. Imagine the absolute joy of finding my eclectic iTunes library was able to connect to the in -room Sonos system. Forget the massive widescreen TV, I had my music piped right through to my luxury bathroom. The room also featured a beautiful collection of books on food, art, music and philosophy. If London didn’t have so much to offer in terms of entertainment, you’d be forgiven for never leaving the room.
However, leave the room I did as my evening was to take on another musical vibe. There’s live music in QT presents the Green Room, the hotel’s sophisticated and decadent basement bar. I was treated to a sultry, jazz-infused set from legendary sax player Leo Green, his band and three sensational vocalists. QT presents the Green Room had the buzzy atmosphere of a New York Speakeasy and from the first beat, the audience was singing along and raring to go. It was my first live music gig since the pandemic hit and as I clapped along to a fine rendition of Beyoncé’s Love On Top, all the tension was lifted and everyone in the room felt the same way. The music and the atmosphere had cast a spell over us all. Reluctantly, I left as the witching hour approached. The dreamy Rivers suite was waiting to host me into the night, and I was more than ready to sleep. The bed was so comfortable, I felt like I was lying on a low flying cloud.
It was the best sleep I've had for some time, and I sprang out of bed in the morning with no aches or pains and fewer creaks than usual. Was it the mattress? Was it the pillows? Who knows but I felt great. Middle Eight is now top of my list of places to stay in London and I can’t wait to go back. If this hotel was a song – it would be my Christmas Number 1! (Santa, a gift voucher in my stocking for Middle Eight would be lovely, thanks. I promise I’ve been a good girl this year.)
66 Great Queen Street
(nearest tube: Holborn)
Room rates from £250 and suites from £600 per night.