A unique character.
A new high street.
A fresh perspective on London.
Every time I go to London I book my hotel in a different area so that I can explore this very special city from a new angle. In my shortlist of favourites is the Bloomsbury area in central London (between Euston Road and Holborn).
Developed as a fashionable residential area in the 17th and 18th centuries, it remains an upmarket community. It offers true London luxury. From shopping to museums to West End theatre, it’s close to everything a visitor could want. And as for the hotels, I have a particular favourite.
The Montague on the Gardens
The Montague on the Gardens defines London luxury. Part of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, it’s housed in a Georgian townhouse complex offering old-world charm with modern amenities. The Blue Door Bistro is their main restaurant but in good weather you also have the choice of The Garden Grill in the backyard. It’s a calm rarity in London. Traditional tea is served daily. And then there’s the Terrace Bar that gives you a casual option. The recipient of numerous awards, this is my recommended hotel for the Bloomsbury area.
So much to see within walking distance
The Bloomsbury area has a literary history. It’s famous for the Bloomsbury Group (first half of the 20th century) that had such prominent members as Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster and John Maynard Keynes. A century earlier, Charles Dickens lived in the area. You can go The Charles Dickens Museum which is located in his only surviving residence.
Adjacent to the Montague on the Gardens is the British Museum which offers an international collection of art and artifacts. As is the case for many London museums, entry is free to the public. Nearby, in Covent Garden, is The Transport Museum which provides a different but equally interesting perspective on London’s history.
But most tourists don’t go to Covent Garden for the museum. They go for the shopping. This charming market building, which has been lovingly restored, is a spectacular destination at any time of year but particularly so at Christmas. You’ll find boutiques and specialty shops, street performers and a wide variety of restaurants and bars. For more shopping, there’s also Oxford Street near the Montague which leads to the high-end shops of Regent Street. For this I would take a cab.
And then there’s entertainment. On your way to Covent Garden you’ll skim past the West End theatre scene and the Royal Opera House. Wander the area around The Strand and see just how many options you have for theatre in London. If you’d like tickets at the last minute (and possibly a good deal) go to Leicester Square. There’s more than one ticket booth there. Go to building on the south end as theatre box office personnel release their best available seats to this service. Of course, the people at the Montague will happily help you with your tickets as well.
With all this walking you will want to rest on occasion. Fortunately the Bloomsbury area offers many options. There’s Russell Square, Bedford Square and Bloomsbury Square. And, of course, there’s the park area at the back of The Montague on the Gardens.
Have you experienced London luxury? Where?