A week-end away with kids, especially young ones, often looks as if you were taking half the house with you. Favourite toys, change of clothes, a few biscuits, a thousand things that fall into the dangerous category just in case. No one wishes to locate a precise shop at the very last minute.
The One Aldwych, a gem hotel between the Strand and Covent Garden, has thought of all their customers - businessmen, couples on a romantic escape and families alike.
From experience, chic and elegant places tend to ignore the little ones. True, an oasis of calm is not an easy place for a cheerful and enthusiastic child. Parents try their best to canalize their energy – with more or less success – and usually end up exhausted, having had no time to enjoy neither the beautiful surroundings nor the exquisite food.
The One Aldwych has considered all those details that will make a parent’s life easier: access ramp for pushchairs, smiles from the whole team, adapted menus (breakfast and room service included), and even a little surprise for each age range… In a nutshell: kids are VIPs, as much as you are.
Invited to discover the hotel, we have fully realised how much difference this makes. Any challenge was fully answered by the staff with a solution: no stress, complete relaxation. For a maximum of comfort, we were given the most wonderful space - a suite with the adjoining room, as big as a flat really. James, 17 months old, found it the most extraordinary playground, going round and round finding new details each time, completely amazed. Our bedroom, spacious and filled with natural light, was large enough to contain the baby’s bed, the suitcases and the pushchair without us feeling squeezed. The cot had been set up careful with a comfortable mattress, cute linen and even a particularly soft bath towel.
Gorgeous pillows and a warm blanket were very inviting and we would gladly have taken a nap. Sadly, my son had other ideas in mind and rolled gladly on the bed, setting himself against the cushions, laughing cheerfully. We loved the tiny lamps on the side and easily dimmed lights to allow you to read in the evening even if the child has fallen asleep. Each room also has the option of nightlights - sweet dreams guaranteed.
Louise*Anne, 6 years old, came to find me. She was convinced she had been upgraded to the princess category. Cheeks all pink with pleasure, she set to show me her room, her television, her bathroom, her own glass, slippers and robe to her size. In no time, she had settled her toys in and adopted it completely. With Covent Garden nearby (meaning animations, pastry shops, Disney store, Moomin boutiques and Build-a-bear), this was definitely a slice of heaven for her.
A touch of poetry – flowers in every room, even white orchids in the bathrooms. One Aldwych have their own florist and his creations always are quite a wonder. Do not miss the flower fireworks in the bar area. Those change every week and I always try to catch a glimpse when in the neighbourhood. Here and there, plates offered juicy red apples – quite handy to answer one of the kids’ favourite questions (dinner time, of course).
Bathrooms proved a cocoon space – bath and shower, soft white colour, very zen, very soothing. It makes you feel alive again, take your lipstick and perfume from your bag, make yourself all pretty again. I completely fell for the PlanTation products: velvety, fragrant with lotus and Darjeeling, very unique.
To everyone’s happiness, bathrooms also offered television screens. No more fight about choosing the program, no tears for missing the end of a cartoon or having to relinquish the TV to the parents for a while! James had a total fascination for those, smaller and more to his level.
Follows a large corridor integrating a kitchen. A microwave, a fridge with a wide range of drinks including – a very rare thing and so handy when you have kids – milk. Coffee lovers will be delighted at the sight of the Nespresso. Bottles of water are available on the side to offer you the best quality possible. Tea is from the excellent Tea Palace, which store is nearby would you be seduced by their selection.
A few more steps and you are now in the lounge with a fantastic angled view. We spent quite some time looking at the passing double deckers, the lights of the city twinkling at the end of the day - a fascinating scene. The salon can be divided in three zones - a large sofa area which you will find impossible to resist. It makes you want to call all your friends and enjoy an afternoon tea or maybe a glass of champagne with home made macarons.
On the left is a discreet desk, should you want to work or just check a few last minute details of your program. WIFI is free, a keyboard is also available to access the web on the TV – good to know in advance and you can spare the laptop and extra cable weight! Fancy some music? Just plug your Iphone on the design loudspeaker and enjoy.
Last, on the right, is the dining area. Do ask the restaurant for a high chair should you need one. The room service menu has a handy selection of kids’ favourites and smoothies. For more specific needs, you can always run to the nearby Boots, Tesco or Marks & Spencer. See, your suitcases could really be very light this time!
One Aldwych offers more than just amazing rooms. Children also receive, towards the end of the day, a surprise adapted to their age. Louise*Anne was completely taken by her new book (the adventures of a little girl and a cat), reading a few pages between each dish at dinner.
James cuddled his new bear friend and would not part from it at nap time…
A multitude of kind thoughts that lighten up the day, bringing a smile to everyone’s face. Parents can finally relax – vital!
(To be followed for One Aldwych is a real gem indeed!)