Imagine your favourite book shop, the place you go to be surrounded by the musings of Great Minds, a place of fantasy and possibility. Now imagine you can spend the night there. Enter: LIBRARY. The familiarity and comfort of a book shop with the unassuming luxury and old world glamour of a private members’ club. What could be better? Situated on the buzzing St Martin’s Lane LIBRARY is like an oasis of calm, just as hotels should be but so often aren’t. Just a glimpse of floor to ceiling books and I was a goner. What better way to spend a wet weekend than curled up in a gorgeously upholstered armchair with a book and an Oscar Wilde (that’s an incredible champagne cocktail FYI)? The membership fee stands at £850, so it’s in the higher price bracket but if you’re a frequent visitor to London and the idea of the chaos and noise gives you an uneasy feeling then it’s worth it. You can’t really put a price on relaxation.
My room was spacious and airy, and had a charming retro vibe but with modern amenities. All rooms come with digital free-view TV, although admittedly the chance of even switching it on was unlikely with so many books to get through. Eclectic trinkets like a typewriter and box brownie camera really lend to the uniqueness of LIBRARY and set it apart from other hotel rooms. The real stand out feature though is how amazingly comfortable it is – there is a real home-from-home feeling and a sense that nothing is too much trouble; it may be exclusive but it’s certainly not stuffy. There are lots of cosy corners and even a mindfulness studio to really help you find your zen.
Putting my book down for an hour or so, I had time to check out the fabulous St Luke’s Kitchen, the in-house restaurant which is open to non-members too. St Luke – the patron saint of bookbinders – stands at the restaurant entrance, in stained glass which I’m told was salvaged from a demolished church in York. Eating at St Luke’s was a novel – get it? – experience; head chef Alessio Piras treats courses like book chapters, and the story unfolds as you progress through the meal. I begun my meal with seared scallops, crusted in ‘nduja, bacon jam’s spicy Italian sister, and served with cauliflower and truffle oil veloutè which was woodsy and autumnal. The mushroom and butternut squash risotto main was rich and velvety with sharp crunchiness coming from the parmesan crisps. I also couldn’t resist a side order of chips. Greedy? Maybe, but if you’ve seen Library’s Instagram you’ll understand. My server was knowledgeable when it came to the wine list, and I was recommended the Italian 2014 Pinot Grigio, a perfect match for both courses. Piras is a Sardinian native so it’s not surprising he does Italian classics exceedingly well, elevating them to a level of modernity that fits perfectly with the surroundings.
For unobtrusive luxe and unbeatable cosiness there’s really no better place than LIBRARY. It sucks you in and engages you in a way that only fantastic fiction can and we highly recommend you book your stay soon!