Last Updated on 23/12/2020
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been an odd year for travel. The coronavirus pandemic has caused, among other things, many holidays to be cut short, cancelled or postponed.
Even with the world slowly beginning to open up again, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about international travel and whether or not it will mean tests and quarantines. For many of us, the easiest solution is domestic tourism. So, after what felt like forever in lockdown, I was delighted to get an opportunity to stay for two nights at the newly refurbished Resident Soho in London.
The hotel opened its doors in February 2020 but thanks to lockdown, it was forced to close them again in March until July. Sadly, it’s just one of the countless examples of the hard-hit industry where many other businesses have not been so lucky.
Whether you want to avoid flying, shake up the routine, or just need a bit of overdue pampering, a few nights away in a cosy boutique hotel could be just the thing you need. Here’s what it’s like so you can decide whether to indulge or not:
Disclaimer: I was invited to stay at the Resident Soho for free, however, this is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
What is the Resident and why is it a meaningful experience?
The Resident is a new group of British 4-star luxury hotels located in the city centres of Liverpool and London. Formerly known as the Nadler, this boutique hotel group has had a complete makeover with two years of refurbishments carried out in all 379 bedrooms and public areas to its Soho, Covent Garden, Victoria, Kensington and Liverpool locations.
The rebrand encourages guests to feel more like, well, a resident in the cities they visit. You’re invited to explore the neighbourhoods and have meaningful interactions with local businesses and culture. This is perhaps mostly due to the lack of on-site restaurants but that’s hardly an issue when you’re in the centre of London and Liverpool…
The refurbishments have taken care to celebrate British industry throughout its interior aesthetics. You can spot signature elements from Paul Smith and Tom Dixon, furnishings from Alter House and materials from Bute Fabrics in Scotland all over the hotel.
My Stay at the Resident Soho
For a hotel located in the middle of busy Central London, the Resident Soho is surprisingly quiet. Just a short walk from Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square tube stations, the hotel can be found on a narrow road that intersects Dean Street, setting it back from the busy London bustle.
The hotel may be hidden away but its grand-looking building is one you can’t miss. As you walk up to it, you’re first greeted by a dark-winged statue covered in stars residing above the revolving doors. This formidable sight is believed to be the moon goddess Selene and it’s well worth a quick photo opp if you’re in the mood.
Once inside, you’re bathed in the warm, inviting elegance of the lobby. It’s not a big space but its carefully styled furnishings and colour palette of forest green, cream and orange give it a fun retro vibe which will be a cosy dream in the cold winter months.
Unsurprisingly, the lobby was quiet (blame covid for that) so check-in was pretty swift. By then, I couldn’t wait to get to my room and start the relaxing session.
Unlike the colourful lobby, my room was more simple and refined with a warm cream palette and minimal soft furnishings – some had been removed for ease of cleaning due to, yep, you guessed it, covid.
I actually didn’t mind this too much. After pounding the busy streets of Central London, or whatever you intend to do with your stay, the clean and simple room is a welcome haven of calm for the weary senses. Believe me. I say this with love for the city but London is a tiring place, particularly after the solitude of lockdown.
So, when I say the uncluttered space was heavenly, I mean it. It had the usual hotel amenities like a desk, armchair, small sofa, enormous TV and complimentary WiFi. The bed – the most important part, let’s be honest – was a pleasingly large king. You would need to roll a few times to get to the other person if you were sharing it. My type of bed, really.
The ensuite bathroom was cosy with both a shower and bathtub (which I eyed up for later in the evening), obligatory fluffy white bathrobes and complimentary mini toiletries which, I noted, had packaging made from 40% recycled materials. It’s certainly a step in the right direction for sustainability, but could they do more? Perhaps. Understandably, refills are a little tricky for hygiene purposes at this time.
You can read more about sustainable toiletries here.
Food and drink at the Resident Soho
A big perk of the room was the teeny tiny kitchenette that was hidden away behind a cabinet. Since the hotel doesn’t have an on-site restaurant (although you can buy snacks and drinks), you can opt for a small grocery delivery service where the staff will stock your mini-fridge with a few nibbles. You also have access to a microwave, Nespresso machine and of course, a kettle – can a hotel room even be called one without a kettle?
If you don’t fancy eating out but want something a little more substantial than kitchenette food then you can easily order on UberEats or Deliveroo and have a feast right there in your room.
One of the best things about staying in Soho is that you have a wealth of exciting takeaway options to choose from. They get delivered super quickly too although I’m still unsure whether that’s a good or bad thing, personally…
Covid safety measures
We can’t talk about staying in a hotel these days without mentioning the covid safety measures. Naturally, the hotel is keen to make guests feel as comfortable and secure as possible during their stay so they have a careful set of rules in place.
As to be expected, you’re politely encouraged to wear a mask in public areas and the reception staff may give you a temperature check now and again. There’s a hand sanitising station at the entrance and after the lift and each hotel room is sealed with a sticker so that you know that no one else has been in since the cleaner.
All keycards are sanitised and public areas are cleaned at least every 60 minutes throughout the day. For the duration of my stay, I felt safe and confident that they were taking every precaution very seriously.
The Resident’s Nights On Us Initiative
It’s fair to admit that 2020 has been a tough year for all of us – even more so for NHS staff. As a thank you for their services, the Resident Group has teamed up with the non-profit initiative Nights On Us which provides a complimentary 2-night hotel stays to ICU Nurses anytime throughout the rest of 2020.
The Resident group is just one of more than 50 hotels and 6,000 nights pledged across the whole of the UK. As well as a thank you, it also serves to support the re-opening of the UK hotel industry and encourages domestic tourism across the country.
Things to see and do in Soho
To be honest, I wasn’t much in the mood for exploring the city during my stay. I treated my trip like a retreat, doing what anyone would do in a hotel room… eating snacks, sipping wine and watching TV in bed in a bathrobe. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
However, Soho is an exciting part of London to visit, particularly if you’re after a break in the city. Located in the heart of London’s West End, it’s bordered by Oxford Street, Regent’s Street and Shaftesbury Avenue and it’s very easy to explore on foot.
The best part is the Resident Soho is right in the middle of it all which makes planning your itinerary effortless. Here are a few suggestions (pandemic depending, of course):
Stroll down the other end of Dean Street and you’ll come to Chinatown. Here you’ll find restaurants, shops selling authentic sweet treats (including bubble tea), cocktail bars and fun places to go souvenir shopping.
Go shopping on Carnaby Street
If you’re keen to do a bit of shopping then there’s nowhere better than Carnaby. This pedestrianised shopping street became famous for being the birthplace of iconic 1960’s fashion and it’s still a powerful epicentre of London West End culture and lifestyle today.
Visit the theatre
The Resident Soho is on the doorstep of London’s West End which makes it perfect if you’re planning to catch a show during your stay. Picture this: you check-in to the hotel, grab a pre-theatre bite nearby before strolling over to the theatre. After the show, have a cocktail or two and then fall into bed. Easy!
The Photographer’s Gallery
If you’re passionate about photography, you may want to head over to the Photographer’s Gallery. You can admire the exhibitions, enjoy refreshments in the cafe, buy a few prints and check out the camera obscura. Adult tickets are £5.00 per person.
House of MinaLima
If you’re a fan of all things magic and Harry Potter then you won’t want to miss the House of MinaLima, just a minute’s walk from the Resident Soho. Located on Wardour Street, this shop has all manner of paraphernalia that will leave you spellbound (sorry). Created by two graphic designers who actually helped bring the film franchise to life, you can bet that it’s the real deal. It’s without a doubt, one of the best shops in Soho, if not the whole of London.
Enjoy the eclectic collection of bars and restaurants
You can eat and drink around Soho and never run out of places to go. Some highlights include 100 Wardour, 10 Greek Street, Bao, Barrafina Dean Street, Berenjak, the Mulray, Cahoots, Milk & Honey and so much more. I mean, the list is endless.
Go further afield
You’re a short walk from Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square tube stations which makes travelling around London super accessible. Better still, London is a superb city to wander through. Hit the streets and see where your feet take you while admiring the many sights you come across. It’s an ideal way to minimise your time on public transport.
Final Thoughts on the Resident Soho
If you’re looking for a city break, a bit of luxury or a change of scenery that feels a touch like a holiday then the Resident Soho is where you want to be. Its amazing location and elegant aesthetic make it easily one of the best places to stay in Soho. To top it off, it offers the perfect retreat that frankly, we all deserve.
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