From the outside, it’s exactly as you’d have imagine a boutique London hotel—a series of uniform grey Georgian townhomes combined on a quiet one-way street in the heart of Bloomsbury.
But since its recent renovation, the Academy Hotel in London has undergone a transformation inside, and the rooms are anything but quaint stereotypical London digs. (A word that for Americans in Europe has often read as dingy.) Instead, the work done has made the hotel a sort of blend between a comfortably modern if unremarkable international aesthetic in the bedroom and a classic London feel outside, in the lobby, and in some fantastic public guest spaces. Thus, it is the latest selection for our series on exciting new or restored hotels, The New Room with a View.
Maybe it’s because I’m tall or like air conditioning in metro cars in the middle of summer, but I’ve never loooooved the Tube (although I am a massive fan that its turnstyles take Apple Pay so I’ll never have to wait at a kiosk again), so the Academy Hotel’s central location just around the corner from the British Museum and my personal favorite the Wellcome Collection is ideal. And, despite being on a street that runs parallel to the madness of Tottenham Court Road, the hotel’s block is shockingly quiet.
As for the rooms (55 in total, starting in $200s), they are more in the international corporate aesthetic than what you’d expect from a boutique English hotel—but that’s what they were aiming for and I understand how this would appeal to some frequent travelers or those traveling for the first time who might not want a place that experiments too much. But the essentials were there—decent sized rooms, not too cluttered, comfortable beds, and large shower.
But I suspect that perhaps the part that really sold me on the Academy Hotel during my visit is something a significant number of guests at the hotel don’t see or take advantage of (and that certainly goes in totality for the general public).
Tucked away around the corner from the lobby is the Alchemy Bar, and while I’m not a big drinker, I could while away hours in its sitting area under an indoor striped tent awning. And just beyond in the private courtyard created from the backyards of the combined townhouses is an oasis of calm unlikely to be found in Central London.