When you’re sauntering around Marylebone – for my money, one of London’s most salubrious and pleasant districts, and just about worthy of the much-abused name of ‘village’ – what do you most want to find? Aside from the bookshops and pubs and boutiques and what-have-you, you are going to want to find a place to rest, take a glass of wine and something to eat and, if you’re going to take full advantage of everything from the Wallace Collection to the finest Daunt’s in London, you’re not going to want to be far away from the action. But in a notoriously expensive and upmarket part of town, where is the best place to stay?
Enter The Marylebone, part of the estimable, high-end Doyle Collection. It may seem vaguely unprepossessing from the outside, being a building of Sixties construction rather than the glorious Edwardian piles to be found nearby, but once in, you’ll be soundly cossetted by the warmth of the welcome and the comfort of the rooms.
I’m sequestered in a suite on the fourth floor, which offers views of the red-brick mansion flats that proliferate nearby, and a very welcome selection of treats, which, during the course of my stay, include everything from a very fine carrot muffin to, when I return in the evening, a miniature of Hendrick’s gin which has been thoughtfully served complete with tonic water, ice and cucumber. The hospitality and generosity alike are extraordinarily welcome. But then the room itself is a supremely comfortable one, with highly gratifying mod cons including everything from marble baths to Malin + Goetz toiletries, all of which make a night here an extremely relaxing one.
When you leave the room, you are faced with a choice; gym, or indulgence? If you choose both, head down to the Third Space health club, which boasts spa treatments and an eighteen-metre swimming pool as well as an appropriately stocked gym. However, if you’re after a more interesting culinary experience, then the 108 Brasserie manages the tricky balance between a hotel restaurant and a local destination spot.
It faces out onto Marylebone Lane, and more than holds its own with the salubrious likes of St John and The Ivy nearby, thanks to its spacious, light décor, where you are greeted with high ceilings, white walls and Terry O’Neill prints. The immediate effect is that of enormous comfort and style, which the opening cocktails only strengthen; a popcorn Old Fashioned is a wholly successful and original twist on an old standard, suggesting that there’s life in this particular restaurant.
And so it proves over the course of an excellent lunch. The dishes may be said to be ‘globally inspired’, but it would seem that the global outreach stops the other side of the Channel. Still, what’s offered are brasserie standards – excellent Chapel & Swan smoked salmon with Guinness soda bread to start, followed by very fine ribeye steak, of the Black Angus grass-fed variety – and accompanied by an extremely good (if slightly on the chilly side) Gamay, the whole thing makes for a surpassingly pleasant repast. The meal concludes with a lemon tart that has just the right mixture of sharpness and sweetness and can, quite legitimately, be compared to the much-acclaimed Theo Randall recipe.
It makes for a delightful, comforting and hugely enjoyable experience. But then so does everything about a stay at the Marylebone. London has many high-end places to stay, and a good number of them are exquisite, in their own way. But for sheer accomplished elegance, this is a very hard place to beat. Where is the best place to stay round here? Well, I suspect I’ve just answered that question. Now it’s time to see for yourself.
The Marylebone, 47 Welbeck Street, London, W1G 8DN. For more information, including details of offers and ‘a slice of the city’, as well as other properties in The Doyle Collection, please visit www.doylecollection.com.