London’s Vibrant Soho Neighborhood Gets a New Hotel — With a Rooftop Bar, Maximalist Rooms, and a Great Restaurant

The Broadwick Soho is steps from London’s best theaters, bars, and restaurants.

<p>Courtesy of Broadwick Soho</p>

Courtesy of Broadwick Soho

Of the hundreds of artworks scattered across the Broadwick Soho in London’s Soho, the most valuable might be those by Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, and Bridget Riley. But the most precious is easily overlooked. To the side of the onyx-topped bar counter at rooftop cocktail spot Flute, there’s a photo from around 1980 showing a family of three dressed as sparkly showmen, ready to perform a magic trick. The parents were the proprietors of Mon Ami seaside hotel in England’s Bournemouth, which would later go bust when budget air travel allowed Brits to sun themselves in the more reliable heat of southern Spain. Despite growing up in penury following his family’s bankruptcy, their son, Noel Hayden, made a fortune in tech. This newly opened hotel — his first hospitality venture — is a love letter to his dad, Noel Senior, and mom, Jackie.

I was predisposed to the place as soon as I heard that story, but even without it, I would have quickly warmed to this distinctive property. Designed by locally based Swedish fantasist Martin Brudnizki, it emphasizes maximalism and English eccentricity. For the opening, two colossal, besuited, bipedal elephants were placed on plinths on the front of the property. Every color and pattern has its place: pastel pinks predominate; bathrooms might feature bright-blue leopard print. Over a drink by the fireplace at residents-only lounge The Nook, the hotel’s manager David Monson told me Hayden had asked Brudnizki to create “a timeless home from home.” The result may be more kitsch and quirky than such a brief would typically indicate, but then again, Monson explained Broadwick Soho’s figurative homeowner would be someone suitably outré and fabulous — when we discussed possible occupants, Iris Apfel came up.

That sense of theatrically sits easily here: the hotel is minutes away from much of the West End (London’s Broadway), and Soho has always sheltered the city’s creatives, gay scene, and alternative communities. Alongside Flute, with its Mary Poppins views of the city’s rooftops and other more touristy attractions such as the London Eye, those guests will have access to basement-dwelling Dear Jackie and street-level Bar Jackie. The former is an Italian restaurant named for Hayden’s mother while also paying tribute to other powerhouse women with the moniker (in Britain, as in the U.S., that typically infers Ms. Kennedy Onassis and Ms. Collins, alongside Ms. Stallone — Sylvester’s mother came to prominence in the U.K. after appearing in a popular series of Celebrity Big Brother). The latter venue is an all-day bar and café that serves unpretentious sharing dishes for lunch and cocktails, which at £12 a pop are refreshingly accessibly priced for a high-end hotel in central London.

Where Broadwick Soho does fall short is its lack of other facilities. There’s no spa, pool, or gym, although the team can arrange access to nearby venues. And while the newly opened property is yet to finalize what it will offer guests in terms of privileged local experiences and activities, head concierge Alba assured me there are plans to create imaginative connections between Broadwick Soho guests and the neighborhood’s many exciting businesses and creatives: “Soho is our playground, we’re proud to be part of this community.”

The hotel’s unconventional design seems to be stage one of a broader plan to ensure its long-standing impact in a district where quirks have always been appreciated. Here’s more about what you can expect at Broadwick Soho.

Broadwick Soho

  • Minimalists aside, most guests will delight in the hotel’s aesthetic — it feels like there’s some cute little detail to discover in every corner.

  • This is the first hotel I’ve visited stocked with Sicilian brand Ortigia’s pretty toiletries, packed in recyclable aluminum tubes and intended for guests to take away.

  • Alongside being homely and buzzy, Dear Jackie serves consistently delicious dishes.

  • Flute’s cocktails are pitch-perfect, and the engagingly eclectic setting makes the bar very date-friendly.

  • The Soho setting means you’re a short amble from many of London’s best theaters, bars, and restaurants.

The Rooms

A touch more aesthetically restrained than the hotel’s boisterous public areas, the 57 bedrooms feature unique artworks, jazzy prints, and, occasionally, gorgeous brass drinks cabinets that Jaipur artisans have handcrafted to resemble cutesy elephants. Sometimes with standalone tubs, tiled bathrooms are pristine and deliver fantastically invigorating water pressure — though some indeterminate, ambient noise emanating somewhere from mine, in room number 402, was occasionally irritating. Other little touches, like free on-demand movies, a jumbo bowl of gummy bears (irresistible) as a welcome amenity, and minibars stocked with interesting goodies, combine to encourage cozy nights in.

<p>Courtesy of Broadwick Soho</p>

Courtesy of Broadwick Soho

Food and Drink

<p>Courtesy of Broadwick Soho</p>

Courtesy of Broadwick Soho

Given the hotel’s broader lack of facilities, the Broadwick Soho team goes all out to ensure the F&B offering wows guests. It looks gorgeous with its intimate snugs, walls decorated with handmade crockery, and colorful ceramic table tops custom-made in Positano. Our unfussy but punchy puttanesca pasta was superb (and good value at £14); big as a fist and full of flavor, a serving of monkfish came with a kick of ‘nduja. Bar Jackie feels a bit more perfunctory, with its menu of quick and easy sharing dishes (arancini with walnuts and puffy pinsa romana pizzas, for example), and tables are squeezed together tightly, so expect every word of your conversation to be heard by others if it’s busy. During breakfast, I could barely focus on my pillowy buttermilk pancakes as I endured the tech bro beside me droning on ceaselessly about his latest triumphs and investments. A nicely edited snacks menu is on hand at Flute if you fancy something light (say tuna tostadas or spring rolls) to accompany your cocktail.

<p>Courtesy of Broadwick Soho</p>

Courtesy of Broadwick Soho

Activities and Amenities

<p>Courtesy of Broadwick Soho</p>

Courtesy of Broadwick Soho

Guests have access to The Nook residents-only lounge, but beyond enjoying the bedrooms themselves and availing of preferential restaurant and bar reservations, that’s pretty much the only client benefit. It is a lovely, busy space, though, with a flickering fireplace on the go and an unpretentious light bites-style menu. Plus, anyone’s welcome to choose a tune to spin on its integrated record player — the selection on offer includes options from British music titans such as Sade and The Rolling Stones.

<p>Courtesy of Broadwick Soho</p>

Courtesy of Broadwick Soho

Family-Friendly Offerings

Despite the endearing family-friendly backstory, this is a hotel for adults.

Accessibility and Sustainability

A number of accessible rooms have been adapted for guests with limited mobility and also feature visual, sound, and vibrating alarm systems. Sustainability-wise, the hotel makes the same "we care" claims as every other new property. There’s a notable avoidance of single-use plastics. Still, I doubted a statement asserting the business pays “careful consideration” to where produce is sourced when I saw they import their bottled water from Italy.


You’re right in the middle of Soho, once the center of London’s night-time economy and a den of iniquity packed with sex shops and brothels. Things have quietened significantly in recent decades, but there’s no shortage of pubs nearby. Strict licensing laws mean they’re not open all hours, and Broadwick Soho is also very well insulated — I didn’t notice external clamor during my stay. You’re close to various tube lines for public transport, including Tottenham Court Road, which now offers super-speedy Elizabeth Line train connections to Heathrow.

How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Stay

As an independent property, Broadwick Soho isn’t part of some global loyalty scheme — but it feels like the proprietors want to provide good value. Its restaurant and bar prices are commendably accessible compared to other luxury hotels in London. Plus, Soho itself is more accommodating than nearby Mayfair and Knightsbridge. For some low-cost, high-brow culture, you’re an easy walk from the superb National Gallery — and like London’s other major museums and galleries, it’s free entry. Including breakfast, room rates at Broadwick Soho start from £595 a night.

For more Travel & Leisure news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Travel & Leisure.