Always on the hunt for obscure destinations, we love sharing our top lifestyle recommendations with you. This time, our explorations lead us to an Oscar Wilde-inspired hotel where sinners meet saints: step into L’oscar London.
What was once the headquarters of The Baptist Church, The L’oscar now stands tall as a Grade II listed hotel, reworked in good faith. “In an irony Oscar Wilde would have appreciated, a place of piety has been transformed into a place of decadence”, they say. The walls and floors of the original church still intact juxtaposed with lavish velvet curtains, expect rich gold interiors and temptations teased around every corner (wait until you see the bar).
Here’s everything you need to know about why and how you can feel like royalty in L’oscar (and some outfits to wear while you’re there, too).
So you now know L’oscar used to be a church, but how did this transformation happen? In short, having been built between 1901 and 1903, the building was designed by architect Arthur Keen who worked with some of the best interior designers of the time (think plastered ceilings and carved fireplaces). During World War 11, the fourth floor of the building was destroyed and by 1961, there were hardly any people taking off to church, thus they closed down. It wasn’t until 2012 that the revival began.
Duncan Shakeshaft, creator of L’oscar, and Jacques Garcia, A Parisian décorateur, took on the project to inject something untypically British into the heart of London. Today – and not long opened – The L’oscar Hotel is home to hundreds flittering in and out its doors. A place to behold, the hotel sits in London’s Holborn, minutes away from Soho and the West End (as if you needed any more reasons to visit).
Every inch of the hotel has been intricately designed, even the taps on the sink (they’re glass birds). And on the topic of birds, do you know how many feature across the hotel? Of course you don’t (and neither do we), but we do know that they were designed just for hotel and there are well over 4oo…
The walls are hand-painted (and mostly restored from the church), the windows and grand staircases are all original (and listed) and there’s a hell of a lot of velvet. The duvets (this is what we came for) are all stuffed with hand-picked feathers from Iceland. You get our drift?
No matter where you turn, you simply don’t find interiors like this every day.
We had you at hand-picked feathers from Iceland, right?
It’s not only the duvet that’ll have you dreaming at L’oscar – the rooms will make you feel like you’ve just stepped into Buckingham Palace (except this time, the royalty is you). With rooms ranging from superior to suite, each room has features that make it different from the next. In the rooms, expect to see more of that old vs new as the modern interiors sit happily with the authentic listed building.
Turn down service? Check. After a day exploring London, there’s nothing better than coming back to a room with mood lighting and slippers next to your bed. And the slippers are really comfortable, by the way.
A hotel is only as good as its restaurants (not really, we just made that up), but the restaurants at L’oscar definitely live up to expectations. Their main restaurant, The Baptist Grill, literally sits where the old chapel used to be (hence the name). With all the original walls still intact, the Executive Chef Tony Fleming brings an array of fresh ingredients to the table. Menu highlights include oysters (an aphrodisiac in a chapel? Well, I never), Foie Gras for the fancy-food-enthusiasts and plenty of meat options including their 30oz Cote de Boeuf for two. There are vegan options, too (have you ever tried aubergine caviar?), so nobody misses out here.
If you want something a little more laid back, you’ll find the Café L’oscar on the ground floor. With views overlooking the busy London streets, this dining destination makes for a really spectacular view at night. On this menu, you’ll find lobster cocktail salad, meat dishes including lamb and steak and a whole vegetarian menu introducing veggie and vegan options alike. If you’re booked in for breakfast (highly recommended), this is where you’ll eat in the morning, too.
For way more information on what the L’oscar has to offer (plus to book your nights stay), head over to their website.