No.5 Maddox Street’s suites are an alternative luxury hotel experience in one of London’s most prestigious neighbourhoods. The one-, two- and three-bed hi-tech studios are a surprisingly peaceful retreat near buzzing Soho. Lacquered wood, bamboo and leather trims and state-of-the-art audio-visuals ooze rock-star chic. Kitchens stocked with treats, restaurant delivery services and free membership to a Kingly Street gym guarantee pleasure and leisure.
Double rooms from £293.00, including tax at 5 per cent.
One of the many features that make No.5 Maddox Street stand out from the crowd is its fantastic take on the minibar, their ‘Big Bar’, with its ‘good’ and ‘bad’ options. 'Good' choices include organic penne pasta and pasta sauce; 'Bad' includes temptations such as Divine chocolate bars and Jelly Bellies. The ‘Baddest Bar’ tempts you with naughtiness such as Vodka and Bloody Mary mix. Personal grocery shopping is also offered from Wholefoods in Soho, so you can have your cupboards stocked with your favourite organic and Fair-Trade foods. As if that wasn't enough, on arrival, each guest receives a complimentary welcome tray with a choice of teas, fresh Fair Trade coffee, fruit, and handmade Artisan du Chocolat delights.
At the hotel
Preferential rates for Third Space health clubs, concierge, welcome goodie bag, high-speed Broadband, CD and DVD library. In rooms: Sky flatscreen TV, Marshall speaker, smartphone with unlimited internet access and free calls to selected countries, compact music system, MP3 docking station, Ren products in bathrooms, scented candles. The Deluxe apartments have working fireplaces and balconies, the loft and terrace apartments have a larger patio and the Three-Bedroom Bartlett apartment has a washer/dryer and two plant-bedecked terraces.
Our favourite rooms
For a palatial stay, book the one-bedroom Deluxe Suite. Kitted out with a gigantic double bed, bamboo flooring and a living room with a working fireplace for cosy evenings, this suite also has a decked balcony off the bedroom.
Your iPod, your favourite recipe book for quick-and-easy entertaining, shopping-friendly footwear.
There is no lift. In-suite massages can be booked in advance. Non-smoking indoors, but the Deluxe Suites, the two-bedroom suites and the Bartlett Suites have balconies.
Very welcome. Cots can be added to the suite free of charge (ask when booking). Baby bath, bibs, highchair and children's cutlery and crockery and children's DVDs also available.
For cleaning, 'e cloths' are used, and a minimal amount of chemicals. The Ren toiletries are paraben-free and all the packaging is recyclable. As much as possible at No 5 Maddox Street is recycled and everything that can be is Fair Trade.
The hotel is around a 40-minute drive from London Heathrow, heading in from the west on the M4 and A4. From Gatwick, expect the drive to take just over an hour, depending on the city centre traffic.
The nearest Tube stations are Piccadilly Circus (on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines) and Oxford Circus (on the Central line). Victoria rail station is a 10-minute drive from the hotel. From here, Southern (www.southernrailway.com) will get you on your southbound way.
The hotel is right in the West End, with plenty of buses and Tubes running close by – you won't need your own wheels.
Worth getting out of bed for
If it’s sunny, head to a green space such as St James Park or Regents Park, and make for the Queen Mary's Gardens. As this is a city where shopping isn't just a necessity, it's a lifestyle, head to Mount Street, considered by many as the most exclusive shopping street in London. Refuel with oysters at Scott's Restaurant and Bar on Mount Street (+44 (0)20 7495 7309), then browse the new Balenciaga shop or make like Cinderella and see which shoe fits at Christian Louboutin. Substitute heels for highbrow and leaf through the rare books at Bernard Shapero at 32 George Street W1, followed by lunch at media hangout, Cecconi's, at 5 Burlington Gardens (+44 (0)20 7434 1500), then digest the sophisticated exhibits at the Royal Academy. Amble around Shepherds Market or Soho and peruse all the tiny streets and their hidden secrets. Or let the concierge organise a personal tour: Charlie Alexander will tailor a walk through your favourite galleries and museums. Lots of museums are free: try the Photographers’ Gallery; or for others, see www.londonnet.co.uk. Another favourite is the ICA at 12 Carlton House Terrace, which is on the vanguard of cutting-edge of film, art, and music: the bookshop and café is worth a visit alone.
The Wolseley (+44 (0)20 7499 6996) at 160 Piccadilly is a handsome and well-respected restaurant in a former car showroom and serves up superb European brasserie food all day long. Patara (+44 (0)20 7499 6008) right below the apartments at 3 Maddox Street is a fantastic option for excellent Thai cuisine, which can also be ordered direct to your suite.
The Square, at 6–10 Bruton Street (+44 (0)20 7495 7100) is Philip Howard’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant. Expect modern French cuisine, a sleek contemporary setting and sophisticated service.
Deluxe suite: booked. Latest restaurants and bars in the area: identified. Favourite outfits: back from the dry cleaners. I'm surprisingly organised when it comes to gearing up for our weekend away at No.5 Maddox Street, the luxury boutique apartments in Mayfair. Then, a call... No! The babysitter's pulled out.
Initial shock over and I'm straight on the phone to No.5. 'Why not just bring the baby with you?' they suggest. My first response? 'Are You Mad?' Then, I soften. They'll set up a travel cot in the bedroom. Or they can put it in the separate living area if we want. There's a qualified babysitting service on offer. There's even a kitchen in the apartment for any practical needs. I'm beginning to open up to the idea. By the end of the phone conversation, I'm all, 'Hell, what’ve we got to lose?' So, it's decided – our romantic break for two will now be with our one-year-old daughter in tow – a trip for three.
A week later, as our taxi from Victoria station passes Hyde Park and weaves through the streets of Mayfair, I'm excited. No longer working in Central London, I'd forgotten how much I miss the elegant squares, handsome streets, Georgian architecture – the shopping! As we pass Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson on Bruton Street I want to scream at the driver to pull over. But there's plenty of time for retail therapy. Besides, Mr Smith is eager to check out our new abode.
Arriving in Maddox Street, a quiet-ish road that runs between Bond Street and Regent Street, we locate the discreet brown door of No.5. I holler our names over the intercom and within seconds, a guy appears from nowhere to take our bags and show us to our apartment. Inside, there's an airy lounge, a bedroom with a decked balcony, a neutral bathroom adorned with Ren products, and a small but perfectly formed kitchen. The rooms are minimal and slick with lots of clean lines and tall narrow doorways. Light bamboo floors accentuate the spacious feel while big windows flood the apartment with natural light. At 490 square feet, it beats any hotel room – and the touchy-feely fabrics in the form of velvet armchairs, fluffy cushions and fake fur throws make it warm and inviting.
There's a giant leather pouffe next to the open fire in the lounge, which I instantly flop on. I reach for the recent copy of Harpers Bazaar placed on a beautiful vintage trunk beside me. I could get used to this. While I'm busy flicking, Iris tinkers with the remote for the, not one, but two plasma TVs while Mr Smith goes to further inspect the kitchen, which is pretty impressive by anyone's standards. The cupboards are stocked with everything from cookies and fruit to chocolate and wine. In the drawers are all manner of utensils – chopsticks and knives, whisks and scissors, bottle openers and cheese graters – all lined up with immaculate precision. It seems wrong to get excited over a kitchen but I can't help it. Everything's so darned pristine and sparkling. I can see my reflection in the sink.
Back in the lounge, my eyes veer to the large retro black-and-white reportage photographs decorating the walls. The opening of the Lady Jane boutique in Carnaby Street in the Sixties, women partying at the Hundred Club in the Forties... I can't help but feel inspired.
My, how shopping is improved when you have a city centre bolt-hole at your disposal. Forget traipsing up and down Regent Street with heavy bags – when things start to weigh, drop them back at the apartment and start all over again. We visit Dover St Market for designer goodies, Anthroplogie for home bits and pieces, Topshop for my high street fix and Liberty for, well, quite a lot of things, as it turns out. When we can shop no more, I stop at the Elemis Day Spa for a Well-Being Massage and leave Mr Smith to take Iris back to the apartment to give her some tea.
Once back, my thoughts turn to dinner. As No.5 isn't a hotel as such, there isn't a restaurant but there are plenty nearby. And as my London-residing brother is offering up his babysitting duties (for free!) we don't even have to call on the service organised through No.5.
We've heard a lot about Goodman, the New York-style steak restaurant across the road, and we're ready to be introduced to some serious cuts of meat. I go for an Irish fillet steak, Mr Smith for an American rib-eye (more marbling and all that). Neither of us are disappointed. We polish off a bottle of Argentinian Pinot Noir and are on such a high by the time we leave it seems rude not to go on for champagne cocktails at Dean Street Townhouse. By the time we arrive back at the apartment, it's gone 2am.
The next day we wake up a little hazy but our Hangover Breakfast from room service soon sorts us out. It even comes with an energy supplement sachet to aid our recoveries. Just as well, as we have a busy day ahead. We visit the National Portrait Gallery, have afternoon tea at the Wolseley, where we delight in copious amounts of finger sandwiches and pastries, and even fit in a walk around Hyde Park. By the time we get back to No.5 it's late. There's an array of restaurant delivery menus to choose from but the Thai restaurant Patara directly downstairs seems a good bet. We eat our green coconut curry (me) and and prawn noodle dish (Mr Smith) while watching a DVD we borrow from the library in reception. As far as nights in go, this is top dollar.
By the time we're due to check out the next morning, I'm already thinking of ways to extend our stay. Even with Iris with us, we've had a thoroughly grown-up and relaxing break and I don't want it to end. I start getting carried away. If Coco Chanel can reside at the Ritz for 35 years why can't we live at No.5? I start totting up in my head how much it would be to live here maybe just three nights a week (about a grand). Maybe we could go for one of the two or three bedroom apartments? Mr Smith, looks at me cautiously. Oh well, a girl can dream.