Our home from home during our few days in London was the Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes Hotel, not surprisingly situated in the famous fictional detective’s stomping ground of Baker Street. It was the perfect location for us, as we wished to be close to the Baker Street Underground for easy accessibility to our daughter, Mlle’s place, out in north west London.
Centrally placed as well for Oxford Street, Madame Tussauds and Regents Park, the Sherlock Holmes is a good choice for visitors to London. Styling itself as a boutique hotel with “modern elegance and traditional style”, we enjoyed the warm cosy ambiance with all the trappings of a modern hotel thrown in. Our Executive Double Room was surprisingly spacious compared to other hotels we’ve stayed at in central London. There was plenty of room in which to spread out, a sofa, tv and wifi plus a well appointed bathroom with both bath and shower options. Wooden floors throughout and an abundance of comfortable armchairs dotted about the bar area and residents lounge provided plenty of relaxation spots or reading nooks. We didn’t feel unpleasantly crowded – in fact the lounge area was often half empty so anyone wanting to read their morning paper in peace or indulge in a spot of people watching was assured of privacy! Breakfast was buffet style with a plethora of choice and the bar area at the front of the hotel was a pleasant place in which to enjoy an aperitif or nightcap.
As befitting its name, the Sherlock Holmes has teamed up with Murder Mystery Events to offer “Murder Mystery Parties” at the hotel. Over a 3 course dinner a murder plot is unveiled and guests play amateur sleuths to uncover the villain. We didn’t sign up for one but if you are interested you can find out details here.
I had a particular interest in sleuthing myself though, which was the other reason I chose the Sherlock Holmes! A while ago I wrote a post about researching my family’s links with central London. “Chasing St Botolph’s Tale” was about my attempts to locate the church in the City Of London, where my great, great, great grandparents, John James Powell and Elizabeth Mott were married in 1826. By delving into parish and census records, I discovered that they had ended up living at 59 Paddington Street, Marylebone, which just happens to be round the corner from the Sherlock Holmes. Mlle and I set off to see if we could find the house, where the family had lived for many years (from the early 1830s through to the 1860s). We did find the location (the street numbers were most confusing) but the original house had been replaced by a building constructed in 1898, which seems to have been initially a church institute and is now part of the Regent’s University London Campus. Paddington Street still retains some elegant London terraces, some of which must be original from my 3 times great grandparents era. Many of the ground floor buildings are now home to shops and number 59 is surrounded by a Thai massage parlour on one side and a timber flooring and carpet company on the other!
It was rather a surreal experience standing on the steps of number 59 and trying to imagine what it would have been like to live there in the mid 19th century! The area was part of what was known as Marylebone Village and I expect it was a vibrant and bustling place back then, much as it is now, but with horses, carriages and carts rather than cars! Just down the road we had spotted some public gardens and popped in to take a look. Paddington Street Gardens was originally built as an overflow graveyard for the nearby St Marylebone Church! Nowadays it is a pretty park with the gardens maintained by the City Of Westminster. One of the delights of London is finding gardens and small parks tucked away down side streets and Paddington Street Gardens was a real gem. It was a pleasant and sunny spring day – perfect for a quick morning stroll!
Copyright © 2015 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved