What a dazzling display. What an arresting array. What splendor and opulence. And undeniably unique. For L’oscar London is a hotel named in honor of Oscar Wilde, the Victorian poet, and playwright.

How successfully it reflects his glamorous pursuit of taste and pleasure, his Bohemian and decadent spirit. And all done with such romance and such theatre.

L'Oscar London Property entrance. Copyright: © Claire Menary, L’oscar London, Michel Reybier Hospitality
L’Oscar London Property entrance. Copyright: © Claire Menary, L’oscar London, Michel Reybier Hospitality

Opened two years ago, the hotel is set in the former London headquarters of the Baptist Church in Holborn. During the Second World War its fourth floor was damaged by a bomb and by 1961 there were only 12 worshippers left. It’s well located in the heart of London near iconic landmarks such as the Royal Opera House and the British Museum and within easy walking distance of Theatreland, Covent Garden, and the West End.

L'Oscar London culinary restaurant by Gregoire Gardette
L’Oscar London culinary restaurant by Gregoire Gardette

Outside Union Jack flags flutter, and the hotel’s name beckons from above from its neon lighting. An indication of the fabulously flamboyant world awaiting me within. The original marble flooring is the canvas on which the imaginative interior has been drafted by Jacques Garcia, the French designer famed for his Hôtel Costes in Paris, La Mamounia in Marrakech, and New York’s NoMad.

L'Oscar London hallway
L’Oscar London hallway

The rich interior follows a purple and gold theme. What a confection of both Baroque touches and Art Deco elegance.

The ornate plastered ceiling and oak panels have been restored to their original glory. There are lots of silks and velvet as well as lots of purples and mustards. Lots of deep carpets as well as lots of tassels and plush furnishings. Assouline and Taschen’s books are scattered here and there. The foyer has a library, cherubs, and drapes, and the reception desk is backed by a fabulous screen. The dayroom comes with studded panels and a cabinet encased with colorful exotic butterflies. Throughout the interior has exceptional finishing.

L'Oscar Accommodation Suite. Copyright: © Claire Menary, L’oscar London, Michel Reybier Hospitality
L’Oscar Accommodation Suite. Copyright: © Claire Menary, L’oscar London, Michel Reybier Hospitality

The 39 bedrooms, with a starting rate of $690, come as Superior (with a marble bathroom), Deluxe (a private hallway), Junior Suite, and Duplex Studio (on two floors) in ascending order of grandeur. My bedroom had black furniture, crimson walls, and a gold headboard as part of its luxuriant, bold theme.

Crystal hummingbirds swooped around my bedroom perched on top of lanterns. The thick drapes that adorned my room gave me a wonderfully deep sleep.

L'Oscar London. Copyright: ©L’oscar London, Michel Reybier Hospitality
L’Oscar London. Copyright: ©L’oscar London, Michel Reybier Hospitality

The hotel’s L’oscar Restaurant continues its theme of opulence and theatricality. My dinner experience felt both cosy and spacious and its twelve tables are also where breakfast and a bistro-style lunch are held. It’s also where sandwiches, cakes, and scones are served as the traditional components of a quintessential English Afternoon Tea.

Here an illuminated onyx bar glows from the inside and the mirrored ceiling, dotted with lattice orange lights, reflects upon the room. It’s full of potted palms, dark aubergine chairs with their deep golden backs, and peacock feather cushions. It seemed highly sophisticated, like a Parisian café, with its fine bone china and its hollow-stemmed champagne glasses, from which I enjoyed Jeeper Brut Rosé from the owner Michel Reynier’s vineyard. For dinner, I had Cornish crab salad with endive, mango, avocado, and chili which set me up perfectly for the tuna tartare and crispy nori dressed in wasabi soya to follow. It was successfully paired with a glass of Sauvignon de Touraine, ‘Fleur de Printemps’. The evening felt very atmospheric and transported me to a world of regal fantasy.

 Up the solid staircase, I went with its seven-story birdcage chandelier and past the life-size statue of a naked lady in full and joyful abandonment. For here, and hidden away, is the impressive, soaring octagonal former chapel. It’s now the hotel’s cocktail bar, The Baptist, adorned with oak paneling, crackled glass, and plush velvet furnishings. It struck me as a perfect spot for romantic ceremonies and for wedding receptions. The cocktails have Biblical names and visiting musicians play live at weekends. Nearby smokers can discretely enjoy their own small, secret garden, called Blue Tree as they shelter beneath a copper tree in full blossom.

Oscar Wilde would have appreciated that this place of reverence has now been transformed into a lavish boutique hotel. He once quipped that moderation was a fatal thing. The hotel has taken him literally to make this a sumptuous, resplendent feast of superlatives.