At One With One Aldwych in London
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
The driver puts the Mercedes-Benz in park. Its windshield wipers beat furiously against the downpour of rain that has turned London, England into one heck of a soggy mess.
I look out the window at a beautiful but nondescript stone building that vaguely resembles the famous Flatiron Building in New York. “Are you sure?”
The driver gives me a wayward glance. “Of course,” he says, “this is it.”
Subtlety isn’t the strong-suit of most hotels. Typically, they’ll boast a huge backlit sign proclaiming their allegiance to chains like Marriott, InterContinental or Hyatt. Branding is everywhere. The building’s function as a hotel is unmistakable.
My home for the evening – London’s One Aldwych hotel – thinks differently. On the eve of my Westbound Transatlantic Crossing aboard Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2, I’ve come here in search of a pre-cruise stay that can match the grace and elegance of Cunard’s flagship. And I’ve found it in One Aldwych.
If there is a single word to describe One Aldwych, it would be “subtle.” A set of nondescript glass doors boasts the word “One” stenciled above it. This serves as the entrance to what is one of London’s leading West End hotels. Over 20 theatres are within a 10-minute walk of One Aldwych, not to mention Covent Garden (less than a two minute walk); Trafalgar Square (a ten minute walk); and Big Ben – a 20 minute walk. The River Thames is 60 seconds away. There’s a Starbucks across the street, and a Café Nero (go to Café Nero!) on the opposite laneway.