Tucked just off the main square, Victory House is a real hidden gem among the M&M’s World and corporate chain restaurants of central London. Its discreet doorway makes you feel like you’re entering a private member’s club (maybe some of Michaelis Boyd‘s former work for the Soho House Group has rubbed off here) rather than a hotel, with an inviting and intimate lobby area. The entrance sets the tone for the rest of the hotel, from the brass detailing that hints at the opulence of the art deco era to the curved leather seating booth.
The MGallery 86-room boutique hotel, run by the Sofitel group, sits within a 19th-century building by leading theatre designer Walter Emden in the early French Renaissance style, which was previously the Hôtel de l’Europe, complete with Parisian brasserie. The hotel has still maintained some of its Parisian vibe, from its Petit Bistro, complete with French film posters, ambient lighting and traditional fare, to its decorative terracotta facade.
It’s the original building’s quirky and distinctive details that make each room unique – the Superior Queen on the sixth floor, for example, includes porthole windows that frame incredible views over the square and the rest of London, ranging from the London Eye to Tower Bridge. If you’ve got a little more cash to splash and love your period features, it’s worth opting for the slightly larger Executive Suite, which has superbly high ceilings, complete with porthole windows and a cute half-polygon-shaped window seat – the perfect spot for celeb watching if you happen to be around when a film premiere is in full swing.
These period features are enhanced by Michaelis Boyd’s thoughtful renovation of the hotel and real attention to detail. The team has subtly interwoven art deco-inspired elements into the design to capture the golden age of 1920s cinema, but with a clean and modern edge. Black and white tiles – a signature look of the art deco bathroom – are given an on-trend industrial finish with matt black hardware and chevron metro tiles, while the palette of teal, grey and beige is lifted by brass detailing, including clever bellman cart-inspired fittings and ambient bedside lights. Honey-coloured timber furniture and feature headboards also add a warmth and interest to each of the rooms.
It’s the finer details that turn it into a real ‘home from home’ in the heart of the city, however. Extra fluffy dressing gowns, cosy slippers, and even small things like swapping UHT milk in favour of a mini carton of fresh milk are all welcome additions, not to mention the posh tea and coffee, and obviously complimentary gourmet popcorn – we are in cinema land after all. And if you forgot where you were for a moment, you’ll be reminded of your proximity to the red carpet by the glamorous monochrome portraits of stars from mid-century cinema and the projected silent movies playing in the lift lobbies.
Michaelis Boyd’s founding partner Tim Boyd said of the project: ‘The hotel’s landmark location and cinematic heritage along with the rich history of the building all had to be considered, as well as the vibrancy of the local area and ever-changing Leicester Square. We aimed to attentively integrate the heritage into Victory House’s artwork and luxurious interior design, dialling up the cinematic iconography alongside cosmopolitan modernity.’
Victory House offers a pretty unique service, allowing guests to film their stay in the big smoke, which will be professionally edited so you can have your very own memorable movie. You’ll be provided with a camera, as well as a booklet of top tips from a director, and once you’ve captured your footage, it’ll be edited into a 20-minute showcase. What’s not to like about that?