The Landmark London Review
Caroline Sylger Jones reviews a grand Victorian railway hotel in NW1
The Landmark London was the last of the grand Victorian railway hotels built in 1899 during the golden age of steam, and I was intrigued to stay two nights here on a recent trip to London. There’s a spa offering treatments with Spanish Germaine de Capuccini skincare products, and it’s just a ten minutes walk from the gorgeous boutiques and cafes of Marylebone high street.
The stone building is huge, with 300 bedrooms, but it sings with history, despite being bombed during the war and subsequently refurbished. It is at its most elegant in The Winter Garden, the central restaurant set under a stunning eight-story glass roofed atrium with huge palm trees reaching up to the skies above, where I enjoyed hearty, light-flooded breakfasts of porridge and coffee one day and crushed avocado and poached egg on sour dough toast with some jasmine tea the next.
By contrast the cosseting Great Central basement bar and restaurant has been decked out with leather clad benches and design details to remind you of the romantic era of train travel. Here a friend and I enjoyed a superbly tasty fireside supper one evening, with tender duck salad, a flavoursome seabass dish and a comforting and well cooked vegetable curry, with some excellent French Burgundy wine.
Throughout my stay I popped in and out of the basement spa, which has a large gym, a 15 metre chlorine free swimming pool, a decent sized and always-hot solarium and a spacious hot tub with a very powerful neck jet. There are also mini steam rooms in the male and female changing rooms. The whole area felt a little functional, and not the softening and fragrant space one might wish to find in a city spa and want to linger in, but the staff were friendly, and it was good for getting some morning exercise and preparing myself for the day ahead, or enjoying a soothing swim and sauna after a long day of shopping and meetings.
I slept in the Landmark Suite, one of 51 suites on offer, and had a welcomely firm bed and gorgeous marble bathroom. Toiletries were Molten Brown rather than anything more ethical, organic or exciting, and though large and comfortable with all the amenities you would expect from such a hotel, the suite did feel felt a little soulless.
I had an excellent 55 minute soothing back neck and scalp massage with a French therapist called Melina on my last morning. As I lay on a heated bed with a good quality bolster under my ankles, she began by using bags of rock crystals to wake up the acupressure points on my body, followed with a good firm ritualised massage using an uplifting citrus oil, and ended with a foot massage at my request. Music was soothing rather than irritating – a genuinely relaxing mixture of seashore sounds and birdsong – and the head massage was done with a dry oil, so I could keep it in my hair all day without washing it. After a camomile tea and an apple in the small relaxation room, I skipped out to begin my day anew.
What’s queenly: Its location, a step away from Marylebone train station. And the inviting Mirror Bar, which serves Seedlip alcohol-free superfood cocktails as well as good champagne.
What’s lowly: My suite held disappointments, including a vase of fake plastic flowers, net curtains that you couldn’t easily pull away from the window and plastic bottles of water (for which there’s absolutely no excuse anymore).