Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Street



The lights are low, the floor is of black marble and the walls are covered in a black velvet-like material. Dotted around are appealing paintings and sculptures with an Asian theme. The air is heavily scented with jasmine.

This is the scene of the reception area at the newly refurbished (to the tune of £25 million) 174-bedroom Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Street hotel.

Within seconds the concierge welcomes and escorts me to the reception desk. I am offered a glass of water and the apples in a huge bowl are there for the taking.

The receptionist had been trained well and as he checks me in, I become distracted. It was hard not to notice that the wall behind him had been turned into an art installation featuring what looks like the hand-written pages of a book.

Luke, the manager of guest relations explained: "Bloomsbury has a literary heritage and on this wall are the pages of Virginia Woolf's manuscript Mrs Dalloway." Designed by brothers Ian and Richard Able, a highly polished resin gives the impression of a wall of glass and the pages can be seen through it. The hotel, I am told, hosts a book club too. The mildly hedonistic décor of the reception and restaurant on the ground floor is carried through on to the area around the lift on other levels. But then it abruptly changes and the promise of hedonism disappears.

The hallway that leads to the rooms (and the stairwell) has light-coloured walls and carpets with lavender-hued flower motifs.

Rooms have muted mushroom shades accented by rich colours and fabrics and dark wood cupboards and a cushioned wall that acts as a bedstead.

The free wi-fi however, is a superb bonus and the dedicated work areas are useful for the business traveller.

Mod-cons go without saying in a four star of this calibre, but surprisingly the spacious bathroom has a narrow bath and lacks a bath mat.

The hotel's location is ideal just walking distance from Tottenham Court Road tube, Covent Garden, Soho, the British Museum and theatreland.

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