Arriving at the Montcalm Royal London House in late December, it was obvious this was the place to be for Christmas.
Black-tied gentlemen and sequinned ladies strolled the corridors as I approached the reception desk.
This is the sixth property from the independent upscale Montcalm Luxury Hotels and the Finsbury Square development is already home to one of the City of London’s most sought-after spaces.
The atmosphere is jovial throughout, luxurious, but far from formal.
Situated just moments from Liverpool Street station and close to Shoreditch, this is a welcoming retreat right in the centre of the Square Mile.
Shown to my one of the 253-bedrooms, first impressions are agreeable; the rooms are spacious, modern, and sleek, with striking views of London’s City skyline included free of charge.
Technology is a key theme here, with all bedrooms benefitting from iPod docking stations, frankly huge 55”Smart televisions, a complimentary smartphone service, giving guests unlimited 3G internet data and free local and international calls.
The bottle of champagne and slices of red velvet cake, not to mention the fruit, are also a nice touch.
But it is outside, in the bars and public spaces of the hotel, that I want to be, where the action is.
Heading to the top floor – and the Aviary restaurant – the consistency of the theme is evident.
The hotel is actually a remarkable transformation job, seeing an imposing mid-century office building reborn as a stylish five star property.
The Montcalm group’s trademark timeless elegance has breathed new life into the building’s fine mid-century features.
Here statement copper pipe lighting and exposed brick walls mix with original reclaimed parquet flooring and silk-lined corridors, feature staircases and turquoise leather stools.
The hotel’s main contractors and designers, SGP Contractor, and renowned interior designers Russell Sage, Tonik Associates and 5Plus all played a major role to make the design unique.
On offer are two restaurants and two bars, all of which will be run by acclaimed restaurateurs Tom and Ed Martin of ETM Group.
The pair are famed for The Jugged Hare, The Botanist Sloane Square and The Botanist Broadgate Circle, and will also run in room service operations.
I’d been invited to Aviary – on the tenth and top floor of the hotel.
The location offer views of the London skyline which, from here in the City, is beginning to bare more than a passing resemblance to that of New York or Dubai.
The restaurant offers a modern brasserie menu for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, afternoon tea and bar food throughout the day, alongside a refined selection of botanical cocktails, craft ales and lagers and international wines.
The theme of exposed copper and polished metal is also consistent here.
Unusually, the food also matches the location.
While some signature restaurants trade on their brand or location, Aviary is a delight to visit.
It being nearly Christmas, I selected Ayrshire Rose Veal T-bone from the menu, with Sutton Hoo chicken, bulgar, quail egg, and caviar to start.
While the latter was a little anonymous, the former more than made up for it.
Served with creamed spinach and new potatoes & seaweed and straight from the coal oven, it was simply sublime, including more than enough meat for two and more than justifying the hefty price tag.
Washed down with a bottle of Château Maine Martin, and Aviary cannot come recommended highly enough.
With Christmas parties underway all around, the venue seems sure to be a hit over the coming festive period.
Back downstairs and there was just enough time to duck into the urban spa.
Featuring beautiful Versace wall tiles, a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, two treatment rooms, a sauna and steam room, the Montcalm spa the perfect spot for some well-deserved relaxation after a long day celebrating.
A step up from the nearby M by Montcalm, Montcalm Royal London House - City of London strikes a great balance between quiet sophistication and exuberant fun – well worth a visit.
Where corporate London meets creative London, there’s innovation in the air.
To the south St Pauls, the Thames and the corporate strongholds of the City, while to the north, the creative and digital pioneers of Shoreditch and Tech City.
At the heart of it all lies the Montcalm Royal London House, a unique new destination for business travellers, weekenders and urban explorers to experience an area alive with possibility.
Find out more on the official website.