Farida Zeynalova stays close to home and checks into The LaLit right by London Bridge
Formerly a 19th-century grammar school, The LaLit London sits minutes away from London Bridge Underground Station. The red brick facade of this Grade II-listed boutique hotel on Tooley Street is hard to miss — think neo-baroque meets British royalty, with a little bit of New Delhi charisma thrown in there. Inside, it’s palatial without overbearing — the check-in lobby has a black-and-white marble floor, laced with greenery, and golden, star-shaped lights hanging from the ceiling. There’s a subtle mix of English and Indian decorations, and I instantly adore the intricately detailed wooden doors and gold tapestry found around the hotel.
Many rooms here were once classrooms. I stay in The Lalit Legacy Experience, formerly the headmaster’s office, which is a spectacularly spacious suite adorned with majestic high ceilings, dark wood and a mix of old-school (quite literally in the case of the headmaster’s desk) and modern furniture. The suite features a mammoth bed below a tapestry of silver and orange beading, a fireplace dining area and a breakaway bathroom area with a Toto Japanese toilet, Kronokare Caribbean Ginger toiletries and an uber luxurious shower.
The spa and treatment
I head to the basement to Rejuve — The Spa, and I’m met with a ‘namaskar’ from the receptionist. The spa feels small yet cosy, with yoga symbols in frames hanging on the walls, and also comes with a 24/7 state-of-the-art gym. It feels worlds away from the fuzziness of London outside. I’m here for a traditional Swedish massage, which takes place in the treatment room — a small, simple room, furnished with calming hues of beige. Dotted around the treatment room are flickering candles, oils and waffle towels, and the vase of flowers is a nice touch. My therapist gives me a moment to get comfortable on the bed. We find out a little bit more about each other, but when it comes to the massage, it’s silence, just the way I like it. She pours a warm, herbaceous oil on my back, and with long strokes, kneads out the pressure in my back and shoulders — the perfect way to end a laborious day of a working week in London. Towards the end, I flip over, and the therapist gently massages my collar bone, neck and the contours of my face, which I’m certain lulled me to sleep for a minute or two.
Food and drink
The hotel’s main gastronomic offering is Baluchi — a pan-Indian fine-dining restaurant in the regal Great Hall. However, perfectly relaxed after a massage and reluctant to leave my paradise of a room, I opt for room service instead. When I call to place my order, I’m advised on what I should have, depending on my cravings. I opt for the butter chicken, an Old Delhi-style curry, and rice — and it’s sublime. In the morning, I head to the Great Hall for breakfast, which includes an array of cooked and uncooked options — meats, cereals, fruits, yoghurts, pastries and several juice options. The service, as with the rest of my stay, is flawless.
Perfect for an idyllic escape without ever leaving London
The LaLit London is a member of Small Luxury Hotels. Rooms start from £256 per night.
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