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The London Edition Hotel offers style and substance

By Gerry Warren

So you're off to London for a special occasion, a business trip or maybe just treating yourself to a weekend stay.

But with the bamboozling choice of hotels thrown up by internet searches, it can be difficult to commit with that credit card.

Well, I have a recommendation for you, based on a sumptuous weekend I have just spent at one of the capital's newer gems.

The handsome London Edition hotel (14431695)
The handsome London Edition hotel (14431695)

When I say new, it's actually been an hotel since the turn of the century and the landmark building boasts some glorious architectural features.

But five years ago hotel designer Ian Schrager worked with Marriott International to bring the former Berners Hotel bang up to date and it was re-named the London Edition - one of a growing number world wide under the 'Edition' brand.

With 173 rooms and suites, I'm not sure it fits its boutique description, but either way, the result is a unique blend of classic and contemporary chic.

Located in a quiet street in Fitzrovia on the edge of Soho, it's also just a minute's walk to bustling Oxford Street and its plethora of shops.

The fabulous Berners Tavern (14228577)
The fabulous Berners Tavern (14228577)

Walking into the grand lobby with its handsome bar and discreet checking desk, we are immediately met by helpful and attentive staff which proves the same everywhere in the hotel.

The building abounds with eye-catching, historical architectural features, but especially the stunning stucco ceilings and magnificent chandeliers.

The grand lobby and bar, complete with vintage pool table (14449571)
The grand lobby and bar, complete with vintage pool table (14449571)

So it comes as something of a surprise to find the rooms are so contemporary with their light and dark wood panelling and ultra modern, cool features.

And if you're particularly flushed you can even choose a top floor suite with an outdoor terrace overlooking the capital.

One of the super comfortable contemporary rooms (14228589)
One of the super comfortable contemporary rooms (14228589)

Mind you, you need Krypton Factor skills to operate the lighting. We eventually got the hang of it.

But you won't need to go far if you want a special gourmet experience. Because the hotel is also home to the Berners Tavern, which proves far removed from the image you might conjure up of a traditional 'tavern'.

It's a spectacular huge dining room, again with that stunning stucco plasterwork ceiling and epic chandeliers and walls covered with fascinating framed pictures.

And with the menu under the direction of Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton, the food is simply exceptional

As you might expect, a la carte is a shade pricier than restaurants outside London but the proof of the pudding, as they say .....

I opted to start with the traditional pork pie, handmade in the kitchen, of course, with a selection of pickled vegetables and my partner had Cornish mackerel.

For the mains, we chose Herdwick lamb rump and roasted lemon sole.

And neither of us could resist the dessert menu, opting for a peanut and chocolate ganache and a chocolate and raspberry ganache.

It was all absolutely delicious and delivered with unfussy but impeccable service by the waiting staff.

The food bill came to a shade under £125 but for a less costly experience of the restaurant, you can have afternoon tea (£39.50) or a Sunday lunch from £28 which, like breakfast, is also available to non guests.

The Punch Room at the London Edition (14431060)
The Punch Room at the London Edition (14431060)

After dinner we reclined to the Punch Room - a modern reincarnation of London’s 19th-century private clubs.

Designed to be an intimate space away from the Soho crowds, the bar boasts 30 speciality punches – including the signature gin-infused Edition house punch. The cocktail waiters clearly love their jobs and enthuse about their creations which earned them a place in the World Cocktail Championships in America.

Afternoon tea the following day, served only at weekends, proved a calorie counter's worst nightmare but, of course, heaven and so filling neither of us could have accommodated dinner later.

You get an endless supply and choice of fine teas, three savouries and sweets each and as many scones and jam as you can manage.

With food very much at the forefront of our weekend experience, we took the opportunity to visit the Food - Bigger than the Plate exhibition at the V&A.

It's a topical, thought-provoking and even provocative look at how we produce our food and poses questions about leading more innovative and sustainable eating habits.

Featuring over 70 contemporary projects, new commissions and creative collaborations by artists and designers working with chefs, farmers, scientists and local communities, it is split into four sections: Compost, Farming, Trading and Eating.

Co-curators Catherine Flood and May Rosenthal Sloan, say: “Food is one of the most powerful tools through which we shape the world we live in from how we create society, culture and pleasure to how we determine our relationship with the natural world.

"In an era of major ecological challenges, fast-changing societies and technological re-invention, now is a crucial moment to ask not just what will we be eating tomorrow, but what kind of food future do we want?"

The exhibition runs until October 20 and advance tickets cost £17.

Our stay at the London Edition certainly ticked all the boxes for a luxurious stay with service to match.

FACTFILE:

The London Edition hotel is in Berners Street W1T 3NP and room only rates start at £270. For more information go to www.editionhotels/London.

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