Given its location overlooking Waterloo Bridge at the edge of Covent Garden, One Aldwych is a surprisingly calming antidote to London’s busyness; behind its iconic Edwardian facade is a child-friendly, dog-friendly hotel that stops at nothing to make your stay a pleasure. Even the most cynical of sleepers will approve of the peace that permeates every corner. Plus, as a proudly independent institution, an aversion to cookie-cutter design is rooted in One Aldwych’s approach – be it to art or afternoon tea; curation or cocktails. With such a sense of place in such an expansive city, the hotel creates stays that are immersive, culturally independent and tailored, meaning every guest leaves with a unique story to tell.
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Classic and Superior rooms will be welcomed with a bottle of white or red wine and nibbles; Deluxe rooms and suites will find a bottle of Henners Sparkling wine in their room (also with nibbles)
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, but also flexible. Should you arrive earlier, the hotel can store any luggage and you’ll be able to use the facilities – including the health club and pool.
Double rooms from £427.50, including tax at 12.5 per cent.
Rates don’t include breakfast, but a no-holds-barred start to your day – spanning from lighter dishes to buttermilk waffles and indulgent full English feasts – is served daily in the hotel restaurant.
One Aldwych was once the offices of the Morning Post newspaper (the printing press was in the basement – where the Health Club now sits), and lived another life as a home to the Ministry of Defence. Impressive, but we believe it’s latest use is unequivocally the most important.
At the hotel
Fully equipped gym, spa, underground pool, sauna, steamroom, screening room and library. In rooms: Nespresso coffee machine, Bang & Olufson speakers, Loewe UHD TVs, every type of charger socket you could wish for, Dyson hairdryers, locally sourced amenities in the minibar, hand-woven blankets, triple-glazed windows, laundry service, Wifi, turndown service, and Mitchell & Peach products in marble clad en-suites. All important under-floor heating, too.
Our favourite rooms
Corner rooms feel particularly luxurious – their artfully curved frame making the absolute most of this unique building. The circular design and bridge-facing placement of the Studio Suites offer an unbeatable breakfast-in-bed view over London.
The subterranean 18-metre swimming pool is a rarity in such a central location, with soft mood lighting and all natural, chlorine-free cleaning. An underwater music system will cut out the hustle of life, making your front crawl more rhythmic than ever before.
City life can be rough on your pores, muscles and mind. The Health Club’s therapists use products from leading British skincare brand, Oskia, and Spanish skincare specialist, Natura Bissé, to enhance their treatment options and bring back your natural glow. Early birds and night owls will be pleased to know the gym is open 24-hours.
Your lactose-free, gluten-intolerant friend who won’t want to miss chef Dominic’s magic. Seasoned UK travellers will know to bring an umbrella and raincoat, so follow their waterproof-clad lead.
Tired shoes after a night on the town? Leave them just outside your door for an overnight shoe shine service. The hotel has three rooms specifically designed for wheelchair access and spacious lifts throughout the property.
One Aldwych welcomes small–medium sized dogs that have already celebrated their first birthday. The Paws and Unwind overnight package – created in partnership with Bow Wow London to give your pup the pamper it deserves – isn’t to be barked at. See more pet-friendly hotels in London.
Extra beds and cots can be arranged; a children’s menu is readily available in the hotel restaurant and for in-room dining; babysitting services are possible on request.
Any and all ages of children are welcome.
Extra beds, cots and bed rails are easily available, and connecting rooms are plentiful, so bigger groups can feel safe in the knowledge that little ones will be close by, but also that they can shut the connecting door if it all gets a bit much.
The best of London’s culture can be explored within walking distance, making One Aldwych ideal for a family trip. The little ones won’t want to miss Benjamin Pollocks Toyshop and a matinee of The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre.
Projections of exotic fish and sea creatures will keep kids happy in the 18-metre chlorine-free swimming pool.
You can rest assured that children will be well looked after in Indigo, with no-fuss kid-friendly dishes. A children’s menu is also available for in-room dining. But the real win for kids of any age (and adults too) is the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea.
If an adults-only night on the town is in order, a professional babysitter can be arranged by the hotel concierge.
Younger guests will be greeted with the same enthusiasm as their adult counterparts, including special welcome gifts, their own mini bathrobe and slippers.
One Aldwych’s ethos prioritises tip-to-toe sustainability. Seven floors up you’ll find their rooftop beehives; a sanctuary for urban bees built in collaboration with the River of Flowers. Below ground lies their chlorine-free swimming pool with a mineral-based cleaning system. They’ve removed plastic wherever possible, and ingredients for the restaurant are locally sourced, with a spick-and-span food waste system in place. En suites are adorned with natural and paraben-free amenities from Mitchell & Peach, made of quality ingredients from their estate in the Garden of England. The drainage system installed throughout the building uses 70 per cent less water than conventional methods, and guests can enjoy the complimentary glass-bottled water filtered on site.
Ask to be sat by Indigo’s internal balcony for a guaranteed buzz and birds-eye view of the city-slickers at the lobby bar below.
Fine dining but lose the formality – city comfort is key here. Pack something that can take you from top table to tequila as the night progresses.
Sit back at One Aldwych's Indigowhilechef Dominic Teague work his wonders with ingredients sourced from the best independent producers in the UK. The menu focuses on seasonal British classics, nodding to trends but in a leader-of-the-pack way, and always sourcing ingredients sustainably. In a revelation that may surprise you, itsmenu is entirely dairy and gluten free. But that doesn’t mean that it compromises on flavour – if anything, the opposite is true. The day-boat Devon fish and chips aren’t to be scoffed at, and the Sunday roasts will have you screaming ‘more Yorkshires’. The afternoon tea here features all the usual bites but with a flair for difference: take the coronation chicken wrap, truffle mushroom toastie or chocolate and salted caramel scones, for example. Those with an even sweeter tooth might opt for the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea (which, by the way, is fully endorsed by the Roald Dahl Foundation – no cut corners here). The pre-theatre set menus are also popular (with a choice of two or three courses), making for the perfect amuse-bouche to a night of theatrics. All of the above being said, breakfast is a more relaxed affair – and should you wish for a gluten-filled roll with lashings of dairy butter, just ask.
The street level lobby bar is prime for people watching, so settle in a window seat to take in pavement pounders passing by. Make sure to give due attention to the art on display – not just the grandiose contemporary paintings, but also the elegant cocktails born from modern mixology and expert bartending. The bar itself is presided over by the Boatman with Oars sculpture by André Wallace; a symbol of the hotel’s esteemed independence. Everything in the lobby bar is arranged with intent; be it the towering floral displays or the inscriptions on the tables – featuring news pages from The Morning Post archives. (Pro trip: ask for a One Dom cocktail: botanical vodka and Normandy Dom Benedictine provide the kick, Italian lemons squeeze in a bit of sour and the sweet of the honey comes courtesy of the bees whose hives are on the hotel roof. Plus, for each one sold, the hotel donates £1 to its partners, River of Flowers.)
Breakfast is served from 7am to 10.30am on weekdays, extended to 11am on weekends. Lunch and afternoon tea are a weekend-only affair, from 12.30–3pm. Dinner is currently served solely on Fridays and Saturdays, wrapping up at 9.30pm.
You’ll find comforting classics and post-night-out carb-loads on the room service menu, which is available 24 hours.
One Aldwych’s Edwardian exterior borders Covent Garden: a prime London location where East meets West, and West meets the River Thames.
Flights into Heathrow, followed by the easy-access Heathrow Express train, will drop you at Paddington station – a short taxi journey from One Aldwych. London City Airport is also within reach. Smith24 can arrange flights and transfers, or contact the hotel directly to organise a chauffeur service.
A five-minute stroll along the outskirts of Theatreland will take you to Charing Cross Station, or amble across the river to Waterloo Station, just 10 minutes away. There’s an abundance of other tube stations nearby: Covent Garden, Holborn, Temple and Chancery Lane.
Valet parking is available for a daily charge, and the concierge will be happy to arrange car hire.
Skip the underground and arrive via the UberBoat by Thames Clippers (www.thamesclippers.com). Embankment will be your closest pier, just nine minutes walk from the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
There’s an impossibly long list of things to do around the area (and, of course, further beyond). That said, One Aldwych prides itself on its team of concierges – go to them for more detailed, tailor-made itineraries.
A sensible place to start is Covent Garden, which has something for everyone. Kids (and adults) will love Benjamin Pollocks Toyshop; seasoned travellers won’t be able to resist dipping their head into Stanford Travel; and Petersham Nurseries will get green fingers going, as will Floral Street. Oh, and there’s luxury fashion, jewellery and fragrance shops a plenty, too. Grab a cinnamon roll from Swedish stone-oven bakery Fabrique and set up camp in nearby Lincoln Inn Fields, or for an adults-only option you could visit Aire Ancient Baths – where wellness meets wine.
Towards the river is Somerset House and its frequently changing exhibitions, meaning it always feels like a hub of activity. Grab a latte and pastry at the WatchHouse café, pull up a chair and watch the world go by. If the weather works in your favour, nip over the river to London’s beach – yes, beach – just below the thralls of Southbank. Okay, so a beach is a stretch (more a patch of imported sand by the riverbank), but work with us here.
Known for pies and pints on the renowned Fleet Street, the Old Bank of England is an age-old pub with a new lease of life, a description that applies to the vintage double-decker London bus parked in its suntrap garden, too. It doesn’t get much more London than that. If you’re less banking; more bookworm, then you’ll find yourself at home at the Lamb & Flag: a pub that dates back to 1772, making it Covent Garden’s oldest haunt, and a famed favourite of Charles Dickens. Or there’s The Ned near Bank Tube station, host to a mod-American diner, cabaret bar, Asian kitchen and more. Sunday’s are a special affair that takes over most of the ground floor, featuring all-included feasts of oysters, lobster, smoked salmon, roasts and all the trimmings, a cheese table and more desserts than a dentist would approve of.
You’ll never go hungry around Covent Garden.La Goccia’swood fired oven and al fresco dining come highly recommended, as does the relaxed Italian fare at Cafe Murano. Try modern Iranian dishes at Nutshell, or for fine dining in a 19th-century drawing room, head to Spring in Somerset House.
A quick coffee and pastry is often the breakfast of choice for typically full-steam-ahead Londoners. Arôme Bakery in Covent Garden blends French and Asian confections; % Arabica is known for high quality caffeine hits; or venture towards St Paul’s Cathedral Festival Gardens via micro-bakery Establishment for creamy flat whites and freshly baked slices of banana bread.
Drinks with a view come best served at the Oxo Tower on London’s Southbank, or the equally brilliant Sabine by St Paul’s Cathedral. If you prefer your drinks more experiential, try Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration or speakeasy-style Cahoots in a disused underground station.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this decadent hotel in Covent Garden and unpacked their still-soggy umbrellas and theatre programmes, a full account of their luxury stay will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside One Aldwych in Covent Garden…
‘Welcome’ murmurs the hotel’s softly spoken concierge, and for the first time that day, you really do feel it. Step into the hotel’s high-ceilinged lobby and you’ll leave behind bustling London for a world operating at a satisfyingly slowed pace – and one of impeccable service. That’s not to say that on the way in you won’t notice One Aldwych’s Edwardian exterior, built by Ritz architects Charles Mewès & Arthur Joseph Davis; its calming grandeur a palette-cleanser for an interior adorned with over 450 pieces of eclectic art, including two pop-art paper mâché dogs (one covered with Beano cartoons). Artistic flavours extend to your room, too, where you’ll find a celebration of British design and European flair, and pastel tones accentuate neutral wood panelling.
Speaking of the arts, Theatreland is a mere peanut throw from your bed here, but this address provides so much more than that: breezy evenings of al-fresco art exhibitions at Somerset House, picnics in Lincoln Inn Fields, dinner atop Sabine’s rooftop, and hearty Italian dishes at La Goccia. Evenings are an elegant affair, but if your night ends with chips and curry in bed, courtesy of the 24-hour room service, then hey: no one is judging.