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Just a six-minute walk from Buckingham Palace, nestled in the heart of Buckingham Gate is The Guardsman – a classic yet contemporary boutique hotel from Shiva Hotels. The hotel, a brainchild of the creators behind Covent Garden’s Middle Eight, had its soft launch in October of 2020 before throwing open its doors to guests in May 2021.
A purpose-built luxury boutique hotel, The Guardsman feels a little like a private members club – with an entrance almost hidden away in the streets of Westminster.
Comfort and privacy for guests are supreme; there are no walk-ins and patrons must be buzzed in or hold a valid room key if they wish to enter.
But exclusivity does not mean snobbery, with the gilded doors opening to smiling staff who are on hand to help with every guest need – from check-in to check-out.
Upon arrival, friendly concierge staff are there to take your bags and offer you a drink before taking you to your room.
The Guardsman offers five different room types, including dog-friendly stays as well as six residences for those looking for a little bit of space and a longer stay.
We spent a night in the hotel’s namesake room, described as one of the hotel’s “most luxurious”.
The room is dog-friendly and offers a room service menu, a complimentary Nespresso coffee machine and a mini-bar (for an added extra).
On entry, The Guardsman room might just take your breath away. A massive floor-to-ceiling window gives way to views of Buckingham Gate or, on the upper levels, the rooftops of St James’.
A neutral colour palette makes the room relaxing, with a pop of colour in luxe furnishings – such as a canary yellow, velvet chair which is made for curling up in with a book, or a drink of your choice.
There is also a seated vanity-come-desk area, with both a large wall mirror and a smaller vanity mirror for getting glammed up ahead of whatever excitement you have planned for the evening.
The pièce de résistance of the room, however, is what lies behind the folding, mirrored doors.
If you want to relax in a bubble bath and then hop straight into bed, The Guardsman room is the one for you. Dividing doors open to reveal the bathtub and sink area, meaning you can run yourself a bubble bath (using the deliciously scented Noble Isle bath and shower gel), pop on the Smart TV, and unwind above the streets of the capital.
The marbled bathroom, complete with toasty underfloor heating, can also be accessed via a separate door.
As well as the bathtub, it features a walk-in waterfall shower and private toilet. Admittedly, it was a little difficult to pull ourselves away from the opulent tub, but an 8:00pm dinner reservation at the hotel’s restaurant was calling our names. I mentally scheduled in a post-dinner bath as soon as we were back in the room.
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The Dining Room, located in the hotel basement, is reserved exclusively for hotel residents and their guests, from breakfast until bedtime. According to the hotel, menus are developed from “seasonal produce from carefully selected suppliers” and ingredients are “sourced locally wherever possible”.
From the moment we arrived, staff were on hand to greet us and deal with every request – including offering a specially made vegetarian dish if none of the plant-based offerings on the menu suited our fancy.
Before dinner, we settled ourselves at one of the small, marble tables dotted near the bar for an aperitif. The bar is kitted out with 250 whiskies alone, as well as an extensive wine list.
Although the restaurant has its own cocktail menu, our waiter assured us he could make any drink our hearts desired. With the promise of summer just weeks away, I opted for an Aperol Spitz – perfectly made with just the right amount of soda water.
For our meal, we moved further into a cosy corner of The Dining Room situated beneath the restaurant’s very own gallery wall. With dim lighting and rich, Art Deco-style furnishings, it’s an ambient space to enjoy a three-course meal – though we were far too stuffed once dessert arrived.
We opted for several smaller plates so that we could get a little taste of everything The Guardsman’s chef had to offer. The gnocchi with peas, broad beans, mint and pea shoots was a particular highlight.
However, in keeping with the seasons, the menu does regularly change – though assures to always provide a classic, yet modern selection of dishes.
Once sufficiently stuffed, we took a walk through The Library before retreating to our room. The Library is The Guardsman’s cosy reading nook; a perfect spot to borrow a book and snuffle up in one of the large, eclectically chosen armchairs, or settle down to a game of noughts and crosses with a friend.
However, that bath I scheduled earlier was on my mind, and it wasn’t long before I was soaking myself in the tub bursting with Noble Isle bubbles.
While we had been enjoying dinner, staff had treated us to a turndown service; preparing the plush kingsize bed, dropping off two glass bottles of still water, and even treating us to some complimentary Temple Spa beauty products – including a relaxing night cream and lip balm.
All the ingredients were there for a night of restful slumber; so it was no surprise I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.
Opt for breakfast as part of your stay and guests can return to The Dining room come morning for an early breakfast or a lazy brunch. Flooded with light from an overhead skylight, the restaurant is a bright and vibrant spot during the day, with an array of continental and full breakfast options to choose from.
The vegan breakfast was a hit and there is the option to swap out sides for alternatives. Regardless of which dish you choose, a slice of moist banana bread is the perfect treat to order on the side.
Check-out is a seamless process, with the same smiling staff on hand to order you a taxi for your onward journey, store luggage until later, or simply wave you a final goodbye. But I can already hear that bedside bathtub calling me back again.
Rooms start from £250 per night. Residences start from £750 per night.
Breakfast and dinner can be added on for an extra cost.
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