There are moments for sleek, elegant, understated styling. Christmas, however, is not one of them. L’Oscar London is a hidden gem in the heart of Bloomsbury, an intimate 39 room-and-suite abode with opulent styling. With lashings of rich, jewel purple tones it’s like stepping inside the hazelnut in caramel Quality Street sweet (which everyone knows is the best Christmas treat). Rebecca Cox checks in for a more-is-more festive staycation.
L’Oscar London Hotel Review
London’s five-star hotels tend to offer one of three welcomes. There is the too-cool-for-school hipster welcome, casual, understated and nonchalant. Then there’s the classic English welcome, the tip of a hat, a ‘madam’ here, a ‘sir’ there, gloved hands taking proffered bags and whisking them seamlessly away. And then there’s the third category: the type of welcome that makes you feel like a guest not of a bustling hotel, but at an old friend’s house. L’Oscar, a Leading Hotels of the World member, offers the last, and from the minute I arrive and introductions are made, it is first-name terms with the staff and every reentry to the hotel is like coming home.
And aesthetically, there’s no place quite like this home. The former headquarters of the Baptist Church, L’Oscar maintains an air of grandeur, restored from dereliction by esteemed French architect and designer Jacques Garcia into an ultra-luxe London bolthole. Original stained-glass windows remain in parts, now contrasting against modern features with plenty of pomp, from the glittering mirrored ceiling in the restaurant/bar, to the plush plum velvet pouffes and tasselled upholstery throughout. Perfect for a winter visit, from the lobby to the impressive boudoirs, the interiors are dark and moody, cosy and comfortable, the sort of spaces that make you want to curl up with a cup of tea (or a glass of mulled wine) and write something romantic. Walls of shared spaces and bedrooms feature hummingbird lamps and parrot sconces, 1930s oil paintings, many of the rooms have rich red walls and golden embroidered headboards: however dressy your Christmas party outfit, you will be upstaged.
L’Oscar Christmas Afternoon Tea
I am not usually one for afternoon tea but Christmas seems like the perfect time to eat a pointless extra meal that consists largely of cake. If you are of the same mind, L’Oscar London’s Festive Afternoon Tea menu is the perfect choice, serving up Christmas sandwiches, fluffy scones (with citrus cream, delicious) and present and bauble sweet bites, all housed on an elaborate flower embellished birdcage. Add a glass of champagne served up in a crystal coupe and a cup of the fruity L’Oscar tea blend and you have a spread good enough to please even the most staunch afternoon-tea-grinch.
This festive season L’Oscar will be serving up a four-course festive feast, but whatever time of year you’re visiting you shouldn’t stay without trying the truffle rigatoni with autumn truffle and parmesan. It’s the perfect indulgent comfort food served up in the intimate gold and aubergine Parisian-style restaurant featuring a statement illuminated Onyx bar, sparkling under the mirrored ceiling. The classic crème caramel dessert is the perfect sharing pudding for up to four people. But it’s Christmas: attempt it alone.
THE FINAL WORD
Ebenezer Scrooge himself couldn’t fend off the festive warm and fuzzies after a stay in this magical winter wonderland. From the opulent French styling to the unmatched warmth of its staff, L’Oscar is a gem as bright as its amethyst interiors.
Superior rooms start at £459 a night | Festive Afternoon Tea is £59 per person November 17 – January 2023, Monday to Sunday 14:30 – 17:00 | Three Course Festive Menu, £65 per person, November 24 – 31 January | loscarlondon.com