London, United Kingdom

L'oscar

Rates per night from$354.16

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP262.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Wilde at heart

Setting

Old church, new devotions

Inspired by turn-of-the-century decadence and London’s dandiest playwright, L’oscar enfolds guests in a world that’s given to theatrics and partial to pleasure. Built in 1903 as the headquarters of the Baptist church, the Grade-II listed building was devoted to the pious life before it fell from grace, it’s grandeur fading as it lay empty. Then came the resurrection – a six year labour of love led by designer Jacques Garcia, the man behind La Mamounia and the NoMad hotels. Scores of master craftsmen worked on its historic features, restoring marble fireplaces, oak-panelled walls and ceilings awash with curlicue plasterwork. When it came to adding his own creations, Garcia’s imagination really took wing: crystal hummingbirds swoop around a seven-storey chandelier, silk screens are embroidered with lustrous peacock feathers and the bar in Café L’oscar glows like molten lava. Oscar Wilde once quipped that moderation was a fatal thing; seen through his eyes, L’oscar might just be the most life-affirming hotel in London.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A L'oscar scented candle

Facilities

Photos L'oscar facilities

Need to know

Rooms

39, including 13 suites.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $354.16 (£263), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates don’t include the hotel’s à la carte breakfast. For a feather-light start, go for pastry chef's flaky croissants or seasonal feuilleté. Doing penance after last night’s revelery? Prevail upon the restorative powers of the Monte Cristo toastie.

Also

L’oscar commissioned inimitable perfumer Roja Dove to create two fragrances, scented candles and his and hers bath products for the hotel. If you can’t get enough of his heady creations, make a beeline for his boutique in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout, laundry. In rooms: flatscreen TV; minibar; free bottled water; his and hers bath products made bespoke by Roja Dove.

Our favourite rooms

If you’re looking to splash, it has to be the L’oscar Suite. Unable to add a wall because of the ornate ceiling, Garcia divided the room using a vast silk screen – the sort that was fashionable among Victorian society. On one side, there’s a decadent bathroom with a deep soaking tub and marble shower; on the other, a super-king size bed, velvet furniture and one of the building’s finest fireplaces – a showpiece of wrought iron and decorative tile. Above it, there’s an original bas relief titled ‘Freedom from Sin’ – a final detail that would have made Oscar Wilde smile.

Packing tips

Technically, there’s no need to dress up, but if there was ever a place to peacock…

Also

All the common areas are wheelchair accessible, as are some of the guest rooms. The hotel may need wheelchair measurements to ensure they can accommodate guests comfortably.

Pet‐friendly

L’oscar will put up your pooch as long as its under 15kg (guide dogs are exempt). A flat fee of £50 nets your four-legged friend food and water bowls, a bed and a gift. Dog-friendly rooms are limited, so be sure to mention any pets when booking. See more pet-friendly hotels in London.

Children

All ages are welcome, but the hotel’s rakish character makes it more of an adult affair. That said, toys can be provided for little Smiths and babysitting is available for £15 an hour; two days’ notice is needed when booking.

Food and Drink

Photos L'oscar food and drink

Top Table

Pick a table close to the octagonal balcony, where you’ll be able to survey the scene below.

Dress Code

Mrs Smith could channel Mrs Cheveley, the femme fatale of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband. Mr Smith should think of a dandy after dark.

Hotel restaurant

Crowned by a white dome covered with hand-painted leaves, the Baptist Grill might not play the part of a chapel anymore, but its dramatic looks are still capable of inspiring reverence. Split over several stories, the room reaches from the ground floor all the way to the top of the dome, with the restaurant on the mezzanine level. The kitchen is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Tony Fleming, who’s conducted a reformation of the traditional grill menu, sweeping out stuffy traditions in favour of a more bold and embracing view. The food’s still underpinned by British cuisine, with the meat coming from Tony’s favourite British butchers, but he’s also worked flavours from north Africa, Japan and Argentina into the mix. Start with the rabbit tart (a signature dish), followed by the roast Cornish turbot, served with courgettes, braised cuttlefish and bitter lemon. Inspired by a Venetian café said to be the oldest in the world, Café L'oscar is a more seductive affair, with a mirrored ceiling, dark-purple panelling and a bar of backlit onyx. This is the place for bistro-style lunches and late-evening bites.

Hotel bar

The Baptist Bar is on the ground floor of the chapel, one of the most impressive spaces in the hotel. During the day, look heavenward and you’ll see a white halo of daylight flooding through the windows at the top of the dome. Beneath your feet, the wooden parquet forms a star that radiates across the room, which is strewn with sofas and armchairs in the hotel’s signature purple. Most arresting is the bar itself, clad in gold-toned panels that glint like shards in sunlight. It’s a setting that was practically made for champagne, which is served in the hotel’s custom-made coupes. If that’s not your poison, the barmen are on hand to concoct something more in line with your heart’s desires.

Last orders

Café L'oscar serves breakfast from 7am to 10.30am; all day dining from noon to 10.30pm; afternoon tea from 3pm to 5pm; pre-theatre from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. The Baptist Grill is open for dinner from 6pm to 10.30pm.

Room service

A reduced menu from Café L'oscar is available as room service.

Location

Photos L'oscar location
Address
L'oscar
2-6 Southampton ROW
London
WC1B 4AA
United Kingdom

L’oscar is on the border of Bloomsbury and Holborn, Central London districts known for their literary and law-making pedigree.

Planes

Touch down at London Heathrow for the quickest routes into the city. The Heathrow Express will whisk you to Paddington in 15 minutes; a car or taxi will take you about an hour if the traffic plays nicely.

Trains

All of London’s major stations are within easy reach. The most convenient is Kings Cross, where you’ll be able to hop straight onto the Piccadilly line, riding two stops to Holborn, a short stroll from L’oscar.

Automobiles

You won’t need a car if you’re staying at L’oscar, which could hardly be more central. The Tube has you covered within the city, and trains will take you further afield should you need them. If you do plan to drive, be aware that London traffic’s generally quite wretched, and the hotel’s within London’s Congestion Charge Zone – expect to pay £11.50 a day if driving between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. Still want to hire? The Smith24 team can arrange it.

Worth getting out of bed for

The hotel’s historic character didn’t allow for a spa or pool, but it’s just 50 meters from Holborn Tube station and within walking distance of the West End, Soho and Covent Garden, putting a world of diversions on the doorstep. If L'oscar’s interiors have awakened an appetite for more splendour, pay a visit to Sir John Soane's Museum, the former home of its eponymous owner, one of the most famous architects of his day. Left exactly as it was when he died in 1837, the house is still bursting with Soane’s extraordinary collection of artifacts. It’s a real down-the-rabbit-hole experience, with rooms cycling through almost every artistic style that existed in his day. Among the curiosities you’ll find paintings by Turner and Hogarth; Grecian urns; secret rooms and a sarcophagus from the age of the Pharaohs. Once you’ve come out, go for a stroll around the courtyard of Lincoln's Inn, one of London’s prestigious Inns of Court. Were it not for the red brick and Porsches parked outside, this impressive set of buildings could easily pass for an Oxbridge college. Also within walking distance is the Royal Opera House, the West End – where drama of every description awaits – and the louche distractions of Soho, home to London’s most famous jazz bar, Ronnie Scott’s. Occupying a prime riverfront spot on the Strand, neoclassical palace Somerset House often tops lists of Londoners’ favourite buildings. Its gallery regularly plays host to some of the capital’s biggest art exhibitions, and its cobbled courtyard spurts into life when the fountains are turned on in spring.

For more things to do in London, check-out our private, insider-led SideStory experiences.

Local restaurants

For a masterclass in modern British dining, head east to Shoreditch Town Hall, home to Clove Club. You’d be hard pushed to find another London restaurant that champions the flavours of the British Isles with such elegant simplicity – a characteristic echoed in the dining room, outfitted with restrained mid-century furniture and an open kitchen decked in ocean-blue tiles. The full tasting menu is available Friday to Sunday, with a five-course menu running the rest of the week. A short walk to the west, Soho has a French connection going back hundreds of years, and L’Escargot is one the finest products of the relationship. An old favourite of Mick Jagger and Diana, this Gallic institution is approaching it’s 100th year of business, and it’s still the best place in town for snails served in their shells, rich lobster bisque and the most succulent chateaubriand this side of the channel. After fine-dining with a fiery difference? Try Ikoyi in St James’s, one of the few restaurants in London serving gourmet-quality West African cuisine. It's no purist – the chef’s a Canadian and the bulk of the produce is British – but the African elements are worked in with creativity and flair. If the north of the content is more your scene, book a table at the Barbary, a Berber eatery in Covent Garden. Or, for something really intimate (in the sense that the chefs are literally within arms reach), descend to the marble counter in Evelyn's Room, a pint-sized mod-European restaurant from the team behind Israeli eatery the Palomar. There are only 11 seats in this former meat cellar, making booking essential.

Local bars

Two floors above Evelyn’s Room you’ll find the Mulwray, a petite cocktail lounge named after Faye Dunaway’s character in Roman Polanski’s Chinatown. Names aside, it bears little resemblance to the gritty world of the film, outfitted with pink velvet stools, shell-shaped lights and pastel-blue walls. Try the Forget It Jake #2, a bend of rosebud-infused gin and vanilla vermouth. With its Wildean motto and biblical decor, subterranean cocktail bar Eve is one for the sinners. Fittingly, its the creation of Adam – Adam Handling to be precise, who also owns restaurant the Frog upstairs. Order the Good and Evil, in which a white Russian is poured over a frozen black Russian, creating a contest between light and dark as the ice begins to melt.

Reviews

Photos L'oscar reviews
Cassandra Dittmer

Anonymous review

By Cassandra Dittmer, Stylish strategist

As what can only be described as a peek behind the velvet curtain of properly disordered English culture of the 19th century, L’Oscar hotel in Holborn is an alluring escape hatch into another century, right in the centre of buzzing London. And how right it is to feel so mischievous, induced solely by your surroundings. The history of L’Oscar, a former Baptist headquarters, only added to the sense of devilment as I spied the sumptuous mauve and plum hallways and jacquard-adorned décor.

Thanks to the brilliance of Jacques Garcia, every detail is exquisite, evoking the tamed-yet-lavish wilderness of proper society. Glass birds light the corridors while plush seating whispers ‘stay a while’. Jewel tones are the defining feature of my guest room, making sultry allusions to the playful antics of the rich and royal. Not to mention the awe-inducing seven-story chandelier, the visual extravagance lighting the way to my nightly quarters.

L’Oscar’s dining is another theatrical experience, with no small thanks to the Baptists. Inside an octagonal chapel, the hotel’s bar features a dark, curious menu. For those feeling righteous, choose from the Seven Heavenly Virtues cocktail list. I made my selections from the Seven Deadly Sins instead. One thing’s for certain: sin rarely tastes this good.

The staff of L’Oscar leave no stone unturned for guests. With much delight, I was treated to an off-menu juice during my mornings – to satisfy the Angeleno in me. Room service sourced some of my favorite comfort foods upon my request.

After an evening of decadent drinks, food and exploration, retreating to the bedroom was a final nightcap worthy of praise. As bold and defining as elsewhere in the hotel, my room was a British lullaby that flirted with the audacious and the whimsical. A little surprise gift basket awaited me in the room full of Ortigia body products and candles, and I was spoiled with light bites and Netflix entertainment.

Aside from accommodation, the hotel plays host to The Sip and Savour Society. From gin master classes and live music to festive art courses and teatime demonstrations, the society is a place to further submerge yourself taste, sight and sound experiences.

L’Oscar wined and dined me the way that any first date should. The impressive location, décor, drinks and food were a triumph, and I found myself craving the extravagance of the Victorian era more and more throughout my stay. The sprinkles of romanticized British culture and odes to a racy literary past and present have stayed with me well beyond my two-night stay.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in L'oscar’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The building was beautiful and the service was fantastic. I will definitely stay again. The location was excellent. 

Rating

Stayed on 15 Mar 2019