The Bloomsbury Review: A Novel Stay In London’s Literary Heartland

The Bloomsbury Review: A Novel Stay In London’s Literary Heartland

Whether it’s shopping and sightseeing, a romantic retreat or a theatre break, you won’t find a stay richer in history than one enjoyed at The Bloomsbury

Oozing in opulence, the Grade II listed Bloomsbury hotel offers something refreshingly different by embracing its literary heritage.

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By Leanne Kelsall

Under five minutes from Tottenham Court Road and London’s best theatres and museums, the area was once home to the famous Bloomsbury set – a group of writers that included Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes and E.M. Forster. The Charles Dickens Museum and the British Library are also just mere moments away. In its leafy Georgian homeland, The Bloomsbury speaks of these times gone by – from the vintage novels in all the rooms, to the Prohibition-inspired cocktail bar beneath the hotel.

The Bloomsbury Review: A Novel Stay In London’s Literary Heartland 8Iconic Architecture
As I walked through The Bloomsbury’s carved stone entrance and the majestic lobby, I was transported to a different era, right in the midst of central London. The Bloomsbury embraces Art Deco design, with regal fabrics, solid oak furniture and stunning ornamental chandeliers.

This neo-Georgian building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in the 1930s – the greatest British architect of his time. The Bloomsbury has retained many of its original features, such as the Seamus Heaney Library named after the Nobel Prize-winning author. There’s even an in-house hotel Poet in Residence Programme for budding wordsmiths.

Though everything is in keeping with the hotel’s past, the staff couldn’t have been more aware of the things a modern day traveller, like me, would quite like to have. Offered a hot hand towel on arrival, my luggage was taken care of, a dinner reservation sorted and a newspaper ready for the morning after – I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome.

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Spacious Suites
All 153 rooms and suites at The Bloomsbury are an alluring mix of old and new. Dark oak furniture is contrasted with splashes of rich purples and mauves on the designer rugs and cushions.


I was staying in a spacious Studio Suite, with its own hall, lavish living space and an incredible Italian marble bathroom. For central London, I was living like a queen.

I had all the luxuries I could dream of; his and hers basins, a roll top bath with its own TV, Aromatherapy Associates toiletries, a 60-inch state-of-the-art TV, fresh flowers and a Nespresso machine. Plus a beautiful bouquet of home baked pastries,
cakes and fruit for when I arrived. (Apparently, the afternoon tea here is a real highlight – I’d be inclined to agree!)

In line with the literary theme, the works of Virginia Woolf and other writers were dotted around the room, just tempting me to turn a page or two.

From the whole leaf tea bags in my wardrobe to the turndown service that included a chocolate truffle on my pillow, The Bloomsbury have really taken care of the details and it’s this that sets this hotel apart from the rest.


A Storied Bar
Tables fully-booked in busy nearby Soho? Not to worry, you’ve got all you need at The Bloomsbury.

The Bloomsbury Review: A Novel Stay In London’s Literary Heartland 10The restaurant, Dalloway Terrace, and the Bloomsbury Club Bar are nestled beneath the hotel, and brimming with character and charm.

During my stay, I made some time for a tipple at the Bloomsbury Club Bar – the hotel’s newest addition.

The dim lit area is furnished with plush armchairs and wall-to-wall bookshelves. Behind the 1920s-designed bar, you’ll discover vintage labels and rare liquors, playing homage to the Roaring Twenties and the Golden Age of cocktails.

As well as your favourites, the cocktail menu has an extra page of drinks inspired by the Bloomsbury Set, and there are 60 worldly whiskies ready for the sipping.

The Bloomsbury bar expands outside to a fully heated and covered terrace. It’s an enchanting grotto lit by candles and fairy lights. There are cushions and blankets scattered around booths. It’s the perfect setting for a date night or an intimate catch up with a friend.

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Dinner at Dalloway
Dalloway Terrace (named after Virginia Woolf’s well-known character Mrs Dalloway) serves a modern British menu in an exclusive setting.

Lined by tall hedges with greenery climbing the walls, the heated alfresco dining space couldn’t have felt cosier – especially with the sound of the rain pouring onto the canopy. Chic lambs wool blankets add a Scandi vibe but it was lovely and snug with the heating alone.

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The simple and honest menu celebrates all that is great about British food.

I opted for the Organic Smoked Salmon (£9) to start – an enormous pile of velvety salmon with a scattering of capers. Heaven on a plate! It came with a slice of freshly baked Guinness bread, which I enjoyed second helpings of at breakfast, much to my delight.

Sticking with fish (although the Hot Smoked Duck Salad caught my eye), I ordered the Organic Grilled Sea Bass main (£17.50) and my guest went for a traditional Dry-aged Aberdeen Angus Fillet (£27).

Both of the meats were succulent and faultless – the sea bass flaked effortlessly from my fork in large, mouthwatering chunks. Our favourite sides were the creamy blackened cauliflower with a sweet spiced and nutty sauce, and the rich, dangerously moreish truffle fries.

I hadn’t planned on a dessert but, well, sod it. I ordered the intriguing Earl grey Burnt Cream (£7). It was a divine Crème brûlée with just a hint of lavender from the infused tea.


Dalloway Terrace earns its place as a top restaurant on the central London food scene. It’s certainly worth a visit – even if you’re not staying at the hotel.

Whether it’s business or pleasure, The Bloomsbury has your stay catered for with a 24-hour gym, juice on tap for swift breakfasts, a luxury car service, 24/7 room service, an expert concierge and several ballrooms for hire.

It’s one that’s not to be missed.

The Bloomsbury – Where and How

The Bloomsbury
16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN, United Kingdom
T: +44 20 7347 1000
E: [email protected] or

Rates at The Bloomsbury start at £235 per room per night based on two people sharing.

See more of the Bloomsbury Hotel and Dalloway Terrace below

Leanne Kelsall

Luxury Travel and Lifestyle Journalist

Leanne jumped ship from a sleepy suburban town to the Big Smoke to pursue a career in creative writing and advertising. She now freelances as a luxury travel and lifestyle journalist for Luxurious Magazine. As an avid storyteller, she combines her love of the written word and luxury travel to review trending and undiscovered hotels, restaurants and events. Recent adventures have taken her as far as Fiji, Iceland and New York to discover what really makes the world’s top hotels tick. As well as writing, her passions include boutique luxury escapes, fine dining, theater and music events, alongside a keen interest in fitness having been a previous British swimming record-holder and a current fitness/figure champion.

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