This boutique hotel is an impeccably designed, surrealist haven in the heart of London’s West End.
Although The Sanderson has all the luxurious trappings of many boutique hotels, its commitment to creating a uniquely fantastical environment for its guests makes it truly special. With talent like Philippe Starck – the prolific and legendary French designer – and renowned interior architect Tim Andreas behind the look of the hotel, its evocatively off-beat aesthetic should come as no surprise. From the moment you enter the building (just off Oxford Street) you’re submerged into a lovingly created dreamworld of Daliesque sofas, vibrant stained-glass and one-of-a-kind furnishings.
The Purple Bar is an Alice In Wonderland-inspired fantasia, saturated with vivid purples and plush velvet, that is as comfortable as it looks: I was content to people-watch there while trying the extensive cocktail menu which included a signature drink unsurprisingly called ‘Rabbit Hole’ – it turns out that cherry vodka, port and egg whites go together much better than expected, though I wouldn’t try making it at home.
The Alice-theme continues in the brilliantly realised Mad Hatter’s Afternoon tea, which not only boasts bespoke crockery and napkins wrapped in riddles, but also jelly in elaborate Victorian moulds – a million miles away from the disappointing party food of our childhood – and delicious cakes. So far, so whimsical. But fans of classically-refined eating won’t be disappointed by The Sanderson’s restaurant either: my Dover sole was delicious and the mango and coconut posset was as refreshing as I had hoped.
So what of the rooms? Well, fortunately the surrealist motifs and attention to detail don’t end in the dining areas, as the rooms are lushly eclectic and cleverly merge the baroque with the starkly contemporary. Then there’s the glorious aqua spa, an endless expanse of white silk curtains with an impressive range of treatments to match that will make you forget you’re in the claustrophobic center of London. Once you’re properly relaxed, kick the night off with a drink at the thirteen meter long Italian onyx bar or head out to the Courtyard – surely the hotel’s crowning glory. It’s a Japanese-inflected garden area complete with bonsai and meandering stream – yet another design feat – and, again, it’s all about seductive serenity: definitely the hotel’s calling card.
WORDS: Benji Walters