The Sanderson Hotel - the name alone invokes London, the London you imagined at least with plenty of spots like this modern hotel and its experimental bars, iconic art works and a cocktail list that’s good enough to blow your entire pay-day packet on. Located minutes from Oxford Street, the Grade-II listed building was originally the headquarters for wall-paper manufacturers Sanderson before being transformed by Philippe Starck and Anda Andei most recently into a cool and metropolitan hang out. I headed to The Long Bar, an 80-foot onyx light bar, for cocktails and nibbles.
I’m not going to sweet-talk it, from the outside The Sanderson isn’t particularly beautiful despite its listed status, looking more like a 70s office block than a swanky central London hotel. But as the old adage goes, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and The Sanderson’s insides are more than beautiful enough to outshine any exterior plainness. From a white-sheeted, ethereal lobby through to the luminous Long Bar, it’s a bit like being in a modern art museum.
The Long Bar is light and it’s white, with a huge bar lit up like a light box in the middle of the room and tall chairs with eyes on the back surrounding it. Outside the courtyard was a tranquil, more chilled affair, all centred round a garden entrapped in netting strewn with hanging plants and red lights casting a seductive glow.
Food and Drink
The Long Bar is in the business of cocktails and they know their trade well, with a menu full of original and unusual mixes. On the waitress’ recommendation I had the Blood Orange (£12); thank you dear, sweet waitress for this great gift - Absolut Mandarin, crème de framboise, passionfruit, cranberry & raspberry juice were shaken over ice and served in a martini-glass for a drink that was mouth-wateringly juicy. The namesake Sanderson (£13) was made from gin, lychee juice and melon liqueur and had a sweet melony taste that was almost Hubba Bubba-like. The Tropical Caipiroska (£14) also stood out; topped with passion fruit pips and a concoction of vodka, passoa, mango and lime, it had a summery taste to see me through the impending winter nights.
While main dishes are available from The Long Bar, we stuck to the smaller plates, opting for Crispy Squid (£6) - thin strips, fried to crunchy perfection, and Crumbed Beef Shin (£6) which was slow cooked and melt in our mouths.
The Sanderson Hotel is the type of place that you get your heels out for, those Nike Air Maxs ain’t going to cut it. When we first arrived, a well-suited and booted group were popping Champagne and nibbling canapes. As the night wore on, tables filled and emptied with a mixture of hotel guests and smartly dressed groups of friends who came to sip a cocktail and catch-up before moving on. Despite the fancy credentials, there was no pretension or unwelcome vibes with the waiting staff looking after our every need and a low-key house playlist setting a light atmosphere.
The Long Bar’s cocktails are worth a trip to central London alone, as is the sheer uniqueness of the bar and hotel. Go on pay day, for a special occasion or when your parents are visiting - ‘Dad that’s just London prices and yes I will have a fifth Blood Orange, thank you.’