The 19th-century, red-brick former home of one of the first fire stations in London now traffics in a different kind of heat. In 2013, hotelier Andre Balazs—of Chateau Marmont and Mercer Hotel fame—re-launched the Marylebone space as a 26-suite hotel and 200-seat restaurant, and almost immediately, the celebrities and scene-makers followed. Within the first few months, everyone from ex-Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron to Simon Cowell, Orlando Bloom, and Kate Moss were spotted at the property. Though the initial buzz has died down, the place is still geared toward boldfaced names—and, particularly in the hard-to-book restaurant and bars, exhibits a strict “And who are you?” vibe.
The focus on privacy and gatekeeping comes off better on the hotel side, where it pairs with lovely rooms and suites, cushy décor, and service from personal concierges to make the place feel more like a private club or gracious country home. Even though there are only 26 rooms, there are several configurations available. Entry-level rooms overlook either the mews or the courtyard, and come with amenities like 400-plus-thread-count sheets, marble bathrooms with upscale products, extra seating, and—in some—roll-top bathtubs or original Victorian windows. Lofts and suites offer extras like separate living rooms, dressing areas, second bedrooms, period furnishings, and cathedral windows. Almost all rooms have at least one working fireplace—a fitting homage to the building’s history.