St Martins Lane Hotel’s Surrealist Wonderland

Amidst the bustle of theatre land sits St Martins Lane Hotel. Blink, and you might just miss it. Its unassuming exterior is camouflaged among the cityscape and it’s easily mistaken as an office block. However, once you make your way through the fluorescent revolving doors, nothing can be missed. 

It has a subtle futuristic vibe, so it’s not all 3D and interactive screens, instead, it presents a fluid collision of themes, styles and luminous colours that is fun and ultra-modern. The concept – a ‘surrealist wonderland’ created by the visionary French industrial architect and designer, Philippe Starck. 

Particularly notable, is his play on scale and juxtaposed approach seen throughout the hotel. In the grand lobby, there are huge pillars; life-sized, golden tooth stools; giant chess pieces and an even more gigantic vase, all amongst a backdrop of striking white walls. In simple terms, it’s a unification between minimalism and maximalism.

ELLAMIA LONDON – a pink parlour

Right by the entrance to the left, Ellamia London beckons with its pink parlour allure. 

Opened in 2019, the cute cafe is set in dusty pink hues, and finished with plush furnishing, soft neon lights and brushed gold details. They serve a range of trendy, artisan drinks, alongside light bites and sweet treats and their Instagrammable nature is characterised by a nostalgic Tumblr aura. It’s perfect for a quick bite or a leisurely lunch.

The DEN – for Teas and Tales 

Meanwhile, on the right, The Den invites you on a journey of teas and tales through the fantastical world of St Martins Lane Hotel. Sink into quintessential British cosiness amidst oak panels and grand sofa seating, as you indulge in a modern British afternoon tea experience.

Choose from an array of theatre-themed teas, each a masterpiece in its own right. The Coliseum is a delightful fresh Hedgerow blend, infused with blackcurrant, hibiscus, redcurrants, raspberry, apple, and elderflower. Just a few sips and the prelude for the culinary adventure ahead is completed.

From there, the story begins. The afternoon tea is served in a bird’s cage and the menu is filled with a concoction of elements inspired by the room and wider hotel. 

The Golden Handshake is first from the sequence of events – it’s an elderflower and mint tea shot with gold dust. Refreshing the palate, it represents the hidden entrance to the Blind Spot – a breath of fresh air from ordinary hotel bars. 

As the story unfolds, savour whimsical sandwiches like the ‘Revolving Door‘ Croque Monsieur or the ‘Starck Pillars‘ cucumber and cilantro chutney delight.

The whimsical array of symbolic bites is as follows:

The Revolving Door: a delicious Croque Monsieur, made with honey-roasted ham and goat’s cheese. Resembling the entrance to the hotel, it’s bold and piquant, presenting a classic with a slight twist.

The Red Carpet: a classic smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich, served on malt bread. 

The Starck Pillars: another classic sandwich with a twist – cucumber, cilantro chutney and lemon bread, rolled up and stood on their sides as pillars.

For the Library: a beautifully glazed pastry, filled with crab and crème fraiche strudel – the highlight of the savoury course.

For a sweet finale – a symphony of flavours inspired by The Den’s eclectic charm is narrated through the award-winning artwork seen on the walls. From the Cricket Ball yuzu cheesecake to the historical nods of Anne Boleyn’s head, it’s far from your usual sweet selection.

The Restaurant at St Martins Lane

At the back of the lobby is the restaurant. You can see straight into the space from the entrance and it’s studded by the large pillars that flow through from the lobby. It’s well-lit and sophisticated with neutral tones and has a calm atmosphere, all whilst honing a subtle quirky charm. 

The pillars found in the centre of the restaurant are multi-purposed as bookshelves with a range of classic novels, collectables and portraits on display. The dining chairs and upholstery are mismatched and the dramatic floor-to-ceiling drapes separate the main floor from the private dining area. 

The Restaurant at St Martins Lane serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with cocktails and a specialist wine list. Offering a blend of European cuisine, the À La Carte menu at the restaurant is enhanced with influences from the East. 

To begin the meal, a light and airy brioche is served – fresh out of the oven and delightfully warming.

If opting for a seafood selection, the Smoked Octopus starter is an excellent choice. Unveiled from a glass dome, smoke wafts away to reveal the octopus sat on a bed of silky potato fondue. It is dusted with sprinkles of chorizo and garnished with pieces of charcoal sponge, presenting an early highlight to the meal. 

On to the main, the Lemon Verbena Bass is sensational both in taste and presentation. 

Composed of saffron beurre blanc, and chard, with kumquat & quince chutney, it is delicious and beautifully finished with a violet cracker. Accompany with Rosemary and Balsamic Fries or Confit Potato

To end, the Cheese Platter is enticing as a savoury choice. It includes Brie, Comte, Roquefort, fig relish, crackers and grapes

A Blind Spot – a speakeasy

Once through the revolving doors, guests are immediately met with a black and red carpet which leads straight to a tea counter. Those in the know are then greeted with the golden hand – the official gateway to the Blind Spot. 

Staging bespoke cocktails influenced by the global ancient tea trade, the bar lounge is hidden in plain sight, fittingly behind its prime inspiration. It offers a chic and intimate setting with great tunes making this late-night speakeasy the place to be for pre-drinks, post-dinner drinks or justifiably as the main event, serving small plates and light bites. 

Rooms – views for days

Across five floors, guests can retreat to one of the 203 rooms, each created with contemporary comfort and style in mind. All rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows panning out onto the vibrant lanes, bestowing front-row seats to Theatreland, while LED colour-changing lights set the mood for a night of relaxation. 

Opened over two decades ago in 1999, the St Martins Lane Hotel remains an inner-city gem and the perfect place to truly immerse yourself in London’s West End. It is located just a stone’s throw from the St Martin-in-the-Fields church on the corner of Trafalgar Square, to which it bears its name.  

45 St Martin’s Ln, London