There is such a thing as too much choice and with a sprawling metropolitan city like London, you can be spoilt by it. But hidden within the big buildings and traffic is a hotel that manages to be both quaint and incredibly extra. In the Montague on the Gardens, I think I’ve found a hotel that’ll tick all of your boxes.
The Montague’s located in Bloomsbury; a fashionable, relaxed and peaceful area in the heart of London. There’s more than enough on your doorstep to keep you occupied and, with Holborn and Tottenham Court Road stations both about 10 minutes’ walk away, the whole of London is your oyster.
Design/room 6/5 (for being very extra)
Housed in a row of Georgian townhouses, the Montague is very British. The decor’s stylish yet decadent, opulent in a first-class-on-the-Titanic sort of way. My room was wall-to-wall tweed. It’s a bit like the Huntin’, Shootin’, Fishin’ episode of Absolutely Fabulous made real and I’m here for it.
The bed was American-grade, both in its levels of comfort and its size; the rainfall shower in the bathroom made my early start much more manageable. My very favorite place in the hotel, however, is the Leopard Bar, which is a bar strewn almost entirely in leopard-print. Think Dorien Green meets Buckingham Palace and you’ve got it. Superb.
The Montague’s Blue Door Bistro offers excellent grub in the sort of surroundings Dorian Gray would approve of. After eating breakfast there, I can report the quality of its offering is 10/10. It boasts a (very good) full English served alongside enough pastries, porridges and other delights to sink a small ship.
Where the Montague really delivers is with afternoon tea. This was up there with the best I’ve had (reader, I’ve had a lot), with delicious sandwiches, scrumptious scones and a liberal smattering of French patisserie-standard pastries.
In keeping with the wild theme of the Leopard Bar, you can opt for a safari tea. It comes with leopard-print macarons and a leopard-print cocktail. I’m not entirely sure how they managed to create either of these things and I don’t care. They were divine, and that’s enough for me.
Service and amenities 4/5
The Montague’s charm comes from the fact that it is an historic building. But being set in an old house means that there isn’t much room for extras. It has a ‘gym’, a small basement room with three cardio machines in it. Helpfully, though, the hotel will provide you with complimentary guest passes to the local branch of Fitness First.
The Montague has two terraces overlooking some cute gardens, both perfect for an alfresco lunch or an evening cocktail. And the hotel also has a final outdoor trick up its sleeve. Every summer, The Montague turns its outdoor deck into an urban beach. And, if this summer turns out to be anything like last, it’s the perfect place to enjoy one of the Leopard Bar’s signature cocktails.
LGBTI life 5/5
If you want queer London, you can’t go far wrong with The Montague. The Bloomsbury Set – a group of writers and intellectuals who took their name from the neighborhood – included a number of LGBTI figures, including Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster, and the neighborhood continues to play a part in LGBTI London’s life.
The British Museum, which will soon be launching LGBTI tours of its magnificent collection, is literally next door. Less than 10 minutes’ walk away is Gay’s The Word, one of the oldest gay businesses in the city. While you’re in the area, pop round the corner to New Bloomsbury Set, a classy basement cocktail bar that does an excellent happy hour.
The Montague is also just a short walk from Soho – and Old Compton Street – the historic heart of gay London. In fact, The Montague would make the perfect base if you’re visiting for Pride in London. You can easily stroll to the parade route, and Soho is the afterparty.
A classic room at the Montague, including breakfast starts at £252 per night, based on two people sharing. Find out more and book your stay here.