Just a six-minute walk from Buckingham Palace, nestled in the heart of Buckingham Gate is The Guardsman – a classic and contemporary boutique hotel from Shiva Hotels. The hotel, the brainchild of the creators of Covent Garden’s Middle Eight, was soft-launched in October 2020 before opening its doors to guests in May 2021.
A luxury, purpose-built boutique hotel, The Guardsman is a bit like a private club – with an entrance almost hidden from the streets of Westminster.
Guest comfort and privacy are supreme; there are no appointments and guests must be notified or hold a valid room key if they wish to enter.
But exclusivity does not mean snobbery, the golden doors open to a smiling staff, available to meet all guest needs, from check-in to check-out.
Upon arrival, the friendly concierge staff are there to take your bags and offer you a drink before showing you to your room.
The Guardsman offers five different room types, including dog-friendly stays as well as six residences for those looking for a bit of space and a longer stay.
We spent one night in the hotel’s eponymous room, described as one of the “most luxurious” in the hotel.
The room is dog-friendly and offers a room service menu, complimentary Nespresso coffee machine, and minibar (at an additional cost).
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Upon entering, the Guardsman’s Hall might just take your breath away. A huge bay window overlooks Buckingham Gate or, on the upper floors, the rooftops of St James’.
A neutral color palette makes the room relaxing, with a pop of color in luxe furnishings – like a canary yellow velvet chair that’s made for snuggling up with a book or drink of your choice.
There is also a vanity area with desk, with both a large wall mirror and a smaller vanity mirror to glam up before any excitement you have planned for the evening.
The piece de resistance of the room, however, is what lies behind the mirrored folding doors.
If you want to relax in a bubble bath and then jump straight into bed, The Guardsman room is for you. Dividing doors open to reveal the tub and sink, meaning you can run yourself a bubble bath (using the deliciously scented Noble Isle bath and shower gel), turn on the Smart TV and relax at the above the streets of the capital.
The marble bathroom, fitted with underfloor heating, is also accessible through a separate door.
In addition to the bathtub, it has a walk-in waterfall shower and private toilet. Admittedly, it was a little hard to get away from the opulent tub, but a reservation for 8:00 p.m. dinner at the hotel restaurant called us. I mentally scheduled a bath after dinner as soon as we were back in the bedroom.
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The Dining Room, located in the basement of the hotel, is reserved exclusively for hotel residents and their guests, from breakfast until bedtime. According to the hotel, menus are made using “seasonal produce from carefully selected suppliers” and ingredients are “sourced locally whenever possible.”
From the moment we arrived the staff were on hand to welcome us and accommodate every request – including offering a specially prepared vegetarian dish if none of the plant-based offerings on the menu suited our tastes.
Before dinner, we sat down at one of the small marble tables scattered near the bar for an aperitif. The bar is equipped with 250 whiskeys alone, as well as an extensive wine list.
Although the restaurant has its own cocktail menu, our server assured us that he could whip up any drink our hearts desire. With the promise of summer in a few weeks, I opted for an Aperol Spitz – perfectly brewed with just the right amount of sparkling water.
For our meal, we moved further to a cozy corner of The Dining Room located under the gallery wall of the restaurant. With dim lighting and rich Art Deco-style furnishings, it’s an ambient space to enjoy a three-course meal – though we were far too stuffed once dessert arrived.
We opted for several smaller plates so we could get a taste of all that the chef at Guardsman had to offer. The gnocchi with peas, broad beans, mint and pea shoots was a highlight.
However, in keeping with the seasons, the menu changes regularly – but always ensures to provide a selection of classic yet modern dishes.
Once sufficiently stuffed, we strolled through The Library before retiring to our room. The library is the Guardsman’s cozy reading nook; a perfect spot to borrow a book and sniff in one of the eclectically chosen large armchairs, or settle in for a game of noughts and crosses with a friend.
However, that bath I had planned earlier was on my mind, and it wasn’t long before I was soaking in the tub full of bubbles at Noble Isle.
While we were having dinner, the staff had offered us turndown service; making the plush king bed, dropping two glass bottles of still water, and even giving us complimentary Temple Spa beauty products including a relaxing night cream and lip balm.
All the ingredients were in place for a restful night’s sleep; so it was no surprise that I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.
Make breakfast part of your stay and you can return to the dining room in the morning for an early breakfast or a lazy brunch. Flooded with light from a skylight, the restaurant is a bright and lively place during the day, with a choice of continental and full breakfast options.
The vegan breakfast was a hit and it is possible to swap sides for alternatives. Whichever dish you choose, a slice of soft banana bread is the perfect treat to order on the side.
Check-out is a seamless process, with the same smiling staff on hand to order you a taxi for your trip, store your luggage until later, or just say goodbye. But I can already hear that bedside tub reminding me.
Rooms start from £250 per night. Residences start from £750 per night.
Breakfast and dinner can be added for an additional charge.