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Travel review: Do the Strand for a palatial break

By Mark Shipp | Features | Published:

It is already one of the capital’s most iconic hotels. Now the Strand Palace is undergoing an extensive renovation that will transform it into one of London’s go-to premier attractions.

Located at 372 Strand, the four-star accommodation has been welcoming guests since 1909. Bosses say the refurbishment is well on schedule, with the lobby already completed and a brand new restaurant, Haxells, unveiled.

The hotel’s reception, concierge and bar areas have already been completely transformed with a touch of the 1920 Art Deco styling that the hotel is renowned for.

Under the investment, the hotel is transforming all 785 guest rooms, with the majority of the superior and deluxe rooms now available. The building’s facade is also being upgraded. The entire hotel refurbishment is set to be completed by April 2020.

Strand Palace managing director David MacRae said: “We’re all extremely excited. This is a huge milestone in the hotel’s overall refurbishment, which is now entering its final phase.

“We’ve already had fantastic feedback from our guests. Once the transformation is fully complete, the Strand Palace, with its unrivalled location in the heart of the capital will be one of London’s leading hotels.”

Alongside Haxells, a private dining room, catering for 48, has been added. And there is a dedicated tea room, where 13 different flavours of the nation’s favourite beverage are available.

The beautifully-designed 240 cover restaurant is inspired by a roaring 20s design. Open to the general public, it is an all-day dining affair, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, from a menu crafted by executive chef Alfonso Salvaggio, whose résumé includes roles at Radisson Blu London and Crowne Plaza Dubai.

It is a menu that showcases modern British cuisine, including sharing platters of British charcuterie and cheeseboards. We were treated to a three-course meal, sampling such delights as asparagus risotto and beer battered fish and chips, and including cocktails, before retiring to our delightful king deluxe room, with its comfortable bed and blackout shutters that were conducive to a perfect night’s sleep after a day of exertion.

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Mr MacRae certainly has a point about the unrivalled location. With Covent Garden and the West End theatreland literally around the corner, it is the ideal spot for tourists to unwind after exploring the sights of the capital, enjoying a spot of retail therapy – like at M&M World or The Moomin Shop – or enjoying a show.

Indeed, one can take in Trafalgar Square, Admiralty Arch and Buckingham Palace, head for the Victoria Memorial, St James Park, Houses of Parliament, Victoria Embankment, past the Royal Air Force Memorial, Cleopatra’s Needle, and Waterloo Bridge – all within a half an hour circuit.

And if it’s a show you want to see, there’s a huge choice. Playing throughout the year are the likes of The Lion King at the Lyceum and Tina – the Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych. The Apollo plays host to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie all-year round.

There’s also Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Palace Theatre and, our own particular choice, the brilliant School of Rock at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. Others to take a pick from in the next couple of months include Hamilton at Victoria Palace and Fiddler on the Roof (Playhouse).

Double rooms at Strand Palace start from £110 per room per night. To book a place at the hotel, see strandpalacehotel.co.uk or call 020 7379 4737. Bookings for Haxells can be made by calling the hotel or visiting strandpalacehotel.co.uk/haxells

Mark Shipp

By Mark Shipp
Sub Editor

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