A home away from home, that’s London’s The Colonnade Hotel

Although it was a short stop over in London, my decision to stay overnight in this pulsating city included treating myself to accommodations at a award winning, smart, 43 room hotel with history. I had passed this building for over a decade while visiting friends who live in this trendy up-market area. The updated stately, small hotel really evokes a town house ambience. It is an oasis in this congested and crowed city.

The ecru stucco Colonnade Hotel, two joined Victorian buildings from the mid 1800s, sits in the midst of Maida Vale near the canal laced, Little Venice.

However, the conveniences are abundant. It’s a two minute walk to Warwick Tube Station where the Bakerloo Line has convenient stops like Paddington and Waterloo Stations. Also the #69 bus takes your right to the theatre area and even in the rain, the nearby taxi stand always seems to have an available car, no mean feat in London. Around the corner on the small, fashionable Formosa Street, is a series of shops from interior designers to a hair dresser, a variety store cum green grocer to dry cleaner and a plethora of newly opened cafés, popular restaurants and pubs. Formosa Street and Maida Vale becoming the IT location.

The Colonnade Hotel, once a maternity hospital where computer science pioneer Alan Turin saw his first light of day, was also a favourite of psychiatrist Sigmund Freud who stayed on several occasions during 1938. And for years there had been a plaque commemorating the fact that the psychiatrist was a regular guest. However, since the recent mega million pound renovations not one staff member could tell me what has happened to that sign. Turin’s marker is still proudly displayed on façade near the entrance. These days, it’s not unusual to see smartly dressed business people getting into their pre arranged taxis or limos.

Inside, the reception area is like a gracious drawing room with stuffed sofas, comfy armchairs, heavy silk window covering, a butler’s tray displaying decanters of sherry, a glowing fireplace and a cat named Mouse, right at home warming herself near the blazing fireplace.

Down the hall, is an original art deco door of the elevator This odd shaped lift originally was used to transfer patients in the old persona of hospital. Mouse insists on making her presence known. She decides to accompany us.

Up one floor is the split level The Sigmund Freud Suite. Perhaps there is irony in naming this, maybe a unconscious decision about this split personality room with the bed area, loft like, above the seating area. It isn’t lost on me as I giggle with the staff member who has shown me the room and never made the connection.

No two rooms are the alike. I really would visit again since the décor and ambience is so very genteel English in each of the spaces.
Enigma, another well thought out name in recognition of Turin’s experiment, is the hotel’s cutting edge designed restaurant, a departure from the traditional design of the rest of the hotel. Under the glassed-in area, there are several guests all seemingly speaking a different language. This summer, much to the dismay of the locals, the patio was closed so that the owners could rethink a new direction although the ‘regulars’ don’t seem to understand why fiddle with success. It should be re opened within a few months, in time for Indian summer. Even the décor-edgy restaurant is changing their menu which should bring the crowds back again. But obviously, it hasn’t stopped many locals and guests from partaking in breakfast which offers a huge menu as well as a great cup of café latte.

All in all, for convenience, comfort and lifestyle, the room rates are so much less than central London for the same amenities like Frette Egyptian linens, Penhaligon’s toilet articles, air conditioning, CD player, that you aren’t pound foolish when you stay at The Colonnade.
Rates, depending on time of year, start at 99 pounds. During high season, 147 pounds to 245 pounds