Right in the throbbing heart of Soho, Hazlitt's is an oasis of old-fashioned calm and refinement. The 18th century home of essayist William Hazlitt, it continues to be a haven for writers. There's something about its cosy snugs and wood panelled library that positively inspires you to put pen to paper.
Then there are the rooms themselves. The Duke of Marlborough once lived on this site, and he would certainly approve of the ducal elegance that remains stamped upon the place. We stayed in one of the suites and felt like royalty. It was probably something to do with the giant bed, complete with coat of arms, that you need a footstool to reach; or maybe it was the bath, which fills from a tap that just happen to be a giant statue of an eagle. Then there was the wooden 'water closet', which gave the old British euphemism of being 'on the throne' a new twist. Perhaps the private roof terrace helped too.
But what nowhere will ever replicate is Hazlitt's charm. That's the thing about true aristocrats - they didn't need to flaunt their wealth and sophistication (although that's not to say they don't!). And for all its gorgeousness and history, the building and the staff alike have an understated, low-key approach that makes you feel like you're really at home. Witness the moment that I returned to the hotel at 1am, desperate for a plate of dirty fries, and was directed to the perfect place just a short walk away by the unflappable, discreet concierge. Now that's what I call class.