A short walk from the neon-coloured buzzing streets of saucy Soho, The Bloomsbury hotel offers calm in the West End storm.
Part of The Doyle Collection of boutiques, the Sir Edwin Lutyens-designed, Grade II-listed building on Great Russell Street has been a beacon of forward-thinking F&B for some years.
Though in a London townhouse-style, with open fires and tome-filled lounges, The Bloomsbury has found ingenuity and inspiration an easy mix with tradition.
The Dalloway Terrace has been a centre of creativity – fitting given its links to Virginia Woolf, an author whose name will forever be associated with Bloomsbury.
An inside-outside space, the hanging plants, twinkling fairy lights and lanterns offer an private garden feel even when the terrace is sealed away in remarkably sturdy, and warm, covers for the winter. Snowy themes of décor to brand collaborations, Dalloway Terrace offers a flexible space from which seamlessly houses anything from cosy film clubs (showcasing an array of movies through wireless headphones and a 30-foot screen) to specially designed pop-up menus pairing Hendrick’s Gin with international dishes.
The consistent endeavour for new collaborations does not wait at the door.
In recent times, the wood-panelled Bloomsbury Club Bar – which takes influences from the 1920s and 30s – has hosted The Club Residencies Project, a partnership with BlackTail, sister bar to New York’s The Dead Rabbit (former Best Bar in The World).
From successful takeovers with top mixologists to featuring famous signature cocktails, the Club Bar has followed suit in looking beyond its walls for inspiration – even taking on a Trim & Tonic event to splice together the world’s oldest barbershop Truefitt & Hill with tipples from The Dingle Distillery in Ireland.
But in November last year The Bloomsbury went to a new level in introducing the highly anticipated The Coral Room.
Much like the rest of the hotel, the new grand salon bar has been designed to reflect an exquisite country house transported to the city, with a secluded cigar terrace and stylish inimitable cocktail list.
The distinctive coral-coloured walls are highlighted by five bespoke Murano glass chandeliers and fused glass and marble-topped bar, taking guests back to a time of Art Deco and The Great Gatsby.
Acclaimed British illustrator Luke Edward Hall has created 36 bespoke pieces of original art to line the walls, while parquet flooring and comfortable chairs sit perfectly with a roaring open fire and live music.
The Coral Room, overseen by general manager Giovanni Spezziga – formerly of Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood London – will offer an extensive English sparkling wine list with an emphasis on local vineyards, alongside a comprehensive selection of highball and spritz-style cocktails with names that reflect the culture of both the countryside and the city.
Spezziga said: “I’m delighted and proud to be part of the team at The Bloomsbury and look forward to putting The Coral Room firmly on the London map.”
With a back bar crammed full of aspirational and unrecognisable brands, the mixology team, dressed in traditional waistcoats, shirts and aprons, get to work efficiently on a cocktail list that continues the trend of out with the new and in with the old. While there is a Classics section – headed by an Old Fashioned – the exclusive menu, designed in-house, is less about sweet and powerful and more about subtle and distinctive.
Highlights on the cocktail menu include the Midtown Swizzle, which takes in Havana Especial Rum, Lustau sherry, passion fruit purée, lime juice, pineapple syrup and English sparkling wine, while the Big Smoke comprises Ancho Reyes tequila, Quiquiriqui mezcal, orange chili syrup, chipotle tincture and ginger ale.’
I first try a Green Fingers, featuring Stolichnaya vodka, kale juice, pineapple juice, ginger syrup, lime juice and agave syrup before venturing to the Barbour and Barrel: Jim Beam double oak bourbon, honey, ginger syrup, pineapple juice, lemon juice and egg white.
My guest’s favourite is the classic Gin Lane made with Hendrick’s Gin, Viognier white wine, St Germain, rose syrup and agave syrup.
The cocktail list is punctuated with sparkling wine-based (rather than champagne-based) inventions for good reason.
The Coral Room offers a comprehensive English sparkling wine list – “one of the largest offerings in London” – and includes the aptly named Ridgeview Bloomsbury as the house pour.
Highlights of the sparkling wine list include Lyme Bay Winery, Brut Reserve 2014 Devon; Lyme Bay Winery, Brut Reserve 2014 Devon (£9); and the Digby Fine English Leander Pink, NV West Sussex (£16). Alongside the cocktails and sparkling wine, The Coral Room will offer a vast selection of premium spirits and bottled craft beers chosen by bar manager Kevin Fry.
Open from 8am daily, the bar also provides all-day dining in the form of breakfast – dishes include garden pea and feta smash on sourdough toast; spiced baked eggs with spinach and tumeric yoghurt; The Coral Room Omelette with egg white, spinach and chia seeds; or the Acai Breakfast Bowl – or a light bite lunch or dinner.
A selection of small plates crafted by executive chef Byron Moussouris has a distinctly light seafood edge with dishes such as chicory salad with walnuts, pear, cashel blue, honey and mustard dressing; seared tuna with wasabi mayo; Severn & Wye smoked salmon with Guinness brown bread, crème fraîche and lemon; or lobster and crayfish mac’n’cheese.
Towards the end of each week The Coral Room will further crescendo into a vivacious live music hot-spot where vintage funk and soul music will ensure walk-in guests have an unforgettable experience, while overnight guests can take their time to explore even more of what the hotel has to offer.