First impressions It’s with a thrilling sense of anticipation that the Mr and I decamp to The Royal Horseguards Hotel in central London. This former Secret Service HQ, also next door to the original Scotland Yard, has undergone a recent and rather swish facelift, doing its duty to decadence in a palette of rich burgundy, navy and gold with an opulent chandelier or two thrown in for good measure. We scan the lobby and spy couples and families, all no doubt lured by the out-and-out luxury, Thames-side views, access to the London Eye and other city hotspots a mere stone’s throw away.
Room for romance Our covert romance (ahem) begins when we get lost en route to the elevator (“This place is so mysterious,” the Mr whispers). We’re high up on the eighth floor and once inside our suite (named the Horseguards no less) it’s like we’re as good as installed within our own private bunker in the sky. Of course by bunker we mean the type wealthy oil magnates retreat to.
Split over two floors we’re knocked sideways by the spectacular views across the river to the Southbank and Eye from the bedroom gallery. Our attention is diverted inwards by the stash of Elemis goodies in the bathroom, the fact that we can install our iPhone inside the wall via the built-in docking station (007 eat your heart out) and just how blissfully quiet it is compared to the bustling streets below.
Wine and dine We decide to investigate the bar before dinner and head to Equus. Regency gentleman’s club meets Manhattan art house, as chrome sculptured horse heads and Kandinsky-style prints sit happily beside period-style oil paintings of distinguished looking statesmen. Knock-out concoctions, named after famous Brits – George Bernard Shaw, Lord Kitchener, Winston Churchill and William Gladstone – deliver enough of a kick for Queen and country and we’re ready for dinner after one cocktail a piece.
One Twenty One Two (named after Scotland Yard’s famous phone number: 1212) delivers palette pleasing best-of-British cuisine and the Mr and I find ourselves sharing coded love notes over diver caught scallops in a tasty garden pea and mint soup with truffle-scented cream, followed by Cotswold spring lamb and poached free-range Gloucestershire hen. It’s no secret though; it’s delicious.
We love The in-room secret-agent style gadgetry and those views.
We don’t love Not being able to open our balcony windows for the full city effect.
Stay and eat there From £220 for a standard room with suites from £970 (both per room, per night, excluding VAT). The Royal Horseguards, 2 Whitehall Court, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2EJ (0871 376 9033) firstname.lastname@example.org, royalhorseguards.com. Dine at One Twenty One Two from £33 for two-courses and £39 for three (reservations: 020 7451 9333).