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Reviews London

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The Arch of Perfection

The Arch Hotel, London

The Arch Hotel, London

I often like to escape the beauty of the countryside and indulge in some city life and its related adrenalin, with all the trappings of convenience, opulence and pampering – what better place than one of the new London Gourmet-Set additions to Gourmet Life, Midlands’ based rapidly growing lifestyle dining club  – The newly opened ‘Arch’ hotel, conveniently located 5 mins walk from Marylebone station, the High Street, and just around the corner from Marble Arch, as its adopted name suggests.

Officially opened for less than a calendar month at the time for visiting, The Arch offers friendly, personable, and re-assurringly genuine hospitality, set in the unique environment of seven Georgian houses which have been ‘merged’ into this luxurious boutique hotel – no doubt on a very un-limited budget. The ground floor has also encapsulated two mews houses, to accommodate its already popular restaurant and lounge bar.

‘Understated up to date elegance’ is a phrase that I would apply to The Arch -  From the large plasma  backdrop of the reception, showing looped ‘TV Art’ images on its screen to occupy you while the pleasant staff check you in, to the uber hi-tech toys in the room – you can tell the private owner of this opulent conversion has done his homework into the latest hi tech toys, and tested them to the hilt.

However, the toys are not just that, they are installed to enhance your visit – from the room air con, to the internet radio, and even the TV at the end of the copious bath – they are all an excuse to indulge, and relax.

Afternoon tea was the order of the day, well at least the first order. Served in the library, which was not the stuffy dust covered pokey room one would expect, but an adults play-room decorated in a range of eclectic art pieces, occasional chairs, and yes books, but more design classics focusing on dogs, cars, food, and even ‘typefaces of the 20th century’ ah Helvetica, my favourite. For those more conventional visitors the daily papers and magazines were abundant. If you really wanted to indulge, then it is equipped with its own ‘secret’ Martini cabinet, complete with a Martini Mixologist, if you require! It was before 5pm so we stuck to the afternoon tea selection, which was also  was also as unexpected in its non-conventional offering. {For a more detailed review on the Arch Afternoon Tea write up, which we feel is deserved of its own entry; see the link at the base of this review}

Evening brought us to the Hunter 486 restaurant – The name being a nod to the past, when life was simpler before real people really socialised, before the influx and intrusions of ‘Social media’ networks such as Twitter, Face book, and the various devises that now seem to rule our lives, when this was the phone code to Marylebone, when if you dialled “Hunter 483” you would be greeted by a friendly operator, who would direct you to whichever household you were seeking which was lucky enough to have a phone. The phone operator has now been replaced by our bar operator, manager “Al” who shares a passion for food, and more of an obsession for drink – cocktails to be precise – What Al does not know is not worth knowing, or drinking!

Mixology is a skill, and one that instils pleasure on every recipient, and our experiences at the bar of Hunter 486 was no exception. I started with their ‘Mixologists merger, – where the team pitch themselves against each other to create the finest that these wonderful botanicals can muster..I then I ended part one with a classic Martini, something the folk of 486 pride themselves in – and I also recommend you try one of their regular team specials, created by the mixologists weekly.

By now the restaurant was filling up with a large party, whom I later found out to be the directors of Small Hotels of the World, of which The Arch is a proud member – already – the food menu is a mix of pub classics, restaurant favourites, and brasserie creations, all served under the shadow, sounds and smells of the open kitchen and open pizza oven. I chose a classic Caesar to start, with Creamed Celeriac soup with truffle oil, and for mains I pushed out the boat with an Aberdeen Angus and my guest one of the aforementioned pizzas. The wine choice was initially the Chilean Malbec at a reasonable £18, but was sadly out of stock due to a busy week, and the keen price no doubt, so we were recommended a Chilena Merlot,   which was a fine recommendation, and a little more at £29. Our leather clad booth was now central to the buzz of the busy restaurant with staff flitting around delivering increasingly elaborate dishes to increasingly merry customers – those cocktails are popular, and strong. My Caesar was as classic as they come served with fresh anchovies, chunks of heavily carved Parmesan, and lashings of Caesar dressing – no egg, but that is not always a core ingredient – the soup was light refreshing and perfectly dressed with the truffle oil.

Now I need to point out, that one of the chef team is an “ex-baker” whom clearly wishes to remain in their profession, throughout our visit the bakery was working flat out creating some of the finest pastries, and breads I have experienced in any hotel or bakery for that matter. The afternoon tea éclairs were fresh, light and perfectly presented, the crumpets, fresh to order, and tonight the bread was equally imaginative, and   wholesome. I managed to see off all the Caesar, though it was a large portion for a starter, and I was tempted to keep some for the steak -which was not served with a side salad, which is a personal preference.

The mains arrived soon after we had finished the starters, a little too soon for my liking; but again, this is a personal preference, and not a criticism. Served on a chopping board, with a metal dish of French fries, the steak was certainly the main focus of the dish – large, and medium rare – perfect.  The pizza was thin, crisp and again, light, with ample topping – artichokes, black olives, cheese and tomato – sharing our dishes we were both more than satisfied with our selections and amongst the atmosphere of the now full restaurant we commented on the popularity and could see why. It is rare to get a hotel restaurant, or bar for that matter that is popular with guests, and locals -with many popping in for  a drink and bite to eat – a similar vibe to the Hoxton in trendy Shoreditch the East End, which is also worth a visit, if you are on a budget, and want to explore this understated part of town. After dinner drinks were in the champagne bar with its Veuve Cliquot sponsored ceiling – we enjoyed a selection of their homemade ice creams and sorbets, and a recommended digestive by Al, which certainly did what it said on the tin, or at least what Al promised – set me on track for a hearty breakfast!

Following a restoring night on the luxurious ‘Sleep-Eezy’ bed, we awoke just in time to see the Horse Guards trot past the hotel window in their ‘rain-coats’ on their way to the changing of the guard. Breakfast was another round of fresh bakes, selection of home-squashed fruit juices, muffins and just what I needed – a Full English with bacon from the ‘Ginger Pig’ organic butchers on Marylebone High St, perfectly poached eggs, and more of their ‘Wing’ tea – served how tea should be – with care and attention, in a proper tea pot, and not the usual floor scraping we are used to, but ‘proper’ leaves.

All in all, The Arch London not only offers a nod, and a wink to the past, but its homely feel harks back to when hotels were proud of what they had to offer, and the team who looked after you had a sense of purpose and belonging – and let’s face it, in these days of sole-less branded hotels, and budget lifestyle, it is nice to be able to push the boat out, for not much more, and let others look after you, like they really do care.

The Arch, 50 Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7FD, T 020 7724 4700, www.thearchlondon.com
The Perfect Afternoon Tea Review

Save 20% off Dining in Hunter 486 Restaurant, as well as special leisure break rates at Gourmet Life – Lifestyle Dining Club HERE
Special Gorumet Life Rate: Bed & Breakfast £190 inclusive.

 

Arch Library

Arch Library


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