Broadwick Soho review: inside London’s fabulously flamboyant new hotel

By John O’Ceallaigh

If you scuttle past the Bridget Riley and Francis Bacon on the Broadwick Soho hotel’s ground floor and instead ascend to the rooftop bar Flute, you might spot a photograph that’s more precious than all of the other 250 or so artworks scattered across this colorful hotel. Dating from around 1980, it shows a family of three in spangly tuxedos; the young boy on the left is helping his parents to perform in a magic show. 

That photo was taken at the family’s Mon Ami hotel in the relatively sunny English coastal town of Bournemouth, which flourished as a resort destination until the advent of affordable air travel saw its clientele instead spend their summers in southern Europe. The business went bust and the family went bankrupt. For a while things were terrible, but good times returned when the son Noel Hayden amassed a fortune in the tech and gaming industry. Opened in November 2023, Broadwick Soho is 50-something Hayden’s debut hotel but it’s also a tribute to the entrepreneurial grounding he received from his early years in hospitality. During my stay, so many Broadwick Soho staff described the property as “a love letter” to his family.  

It’s certainly got character. The first London hotel by locally based interior designer Martin Brudnizki, it is gloriously, jubilantly busy, a marvel for maximalists. To mark the opening, two gargantuan bipedal elephants in top hats and tails were winched into place on the upper levels of the building’s facade. Inside, hanging from tapestried walls, florid Murano glass mirrors decorate the elevators; ceramic table tops were made in Positano; in the residents-only lounge The Nook, where a cozy fire flickers and illustrated vines in full bloom spiral up the curtains and weave their way across the ceiling, guests can play songs (maybe Sade, The Rolling Stones or De La Soul) on a record player encased in a shiny silver booth. Everywhere there’s a competing pattern or painting or knickknack, but it works. Broadwick Soho’s manager David Monson told me Brudnizki was briefed to create a timeless home from home. Looking around, it’s easy to imagine the roommates sharing this exuberant townhouse might be Iris Apfel, the head of entertainment on a 1980s cruise ship, and Liberace. 

Down in the basement, Italian restaurant Dear Jackie is also packed with personality. Named after Hayden’s mother, it pays tribute to the memorable and flamboyant Jackies who’ve played notable roles in recent pop-culture history – Kennedy Onassis, Collins and Stallone were the names staff cited to me most frequently. It’s superb, serving unfussy dishes that are fabulously tasty. We enjoyed punchy puttanesca pasta; a chunky, well-balanced serving of monkfish with ‘Nduja; and a comforting pistachio-infused Giro d’Italia pastry with raspberry sorbet. And at a time when Britain is burdened by rampant inflation and a pervasive sense of imminent economic catastrophe, it was impressive to find the restaurant is priced more keenly than any new luxury hotel in London I’ve visited recently – cocktails are £11; that flavorsome puttanesca was £14. 

That spirited sense of generosity seems to be in keeping with the hotel’s Soho sensibilities. Ringed by West End theaters and packed with pubs, the square-mile district has tamed down in recent years but it’s still seen as agreeably louche and raffish, and a bit eccentric. Settling in now that the property has opened, the hotel’s Spanish concierge Alba told me that its surroundings are set to inspire an under-development range of tailored guest activities that will aim to showcase notable people and businesses in the neighborhood: “Soho is our playground”. 

It’s good that those plans are in place, because for now Broadwick Soho’s shortcoming is that guests who don’t want to avail of its dining and drinking offering will have very little to do. There’s no pool, no spa and no fitness facilities (though the team can provide access to a nearby gym); typically starting at around 240 sq ft, entry-level rooms can feel snug for the money. Including breakfast, rates here start at £595 a night. 

The hotel’s 57 rooms are very pretty, though. A bit more muted and calming than the hotel’s communal areas, their décor varies but you might find bathrooms decked out in deep-blue leopard print; bulbous lampshades in faint shades of peach, and walls painted mint. Handcrafted from recycled brass by craftsmen in India, cutesy freestanding elephants also function as drinks cabinets – they’ve become a guest favorite already. Plus the basics are generally done properly. Extra-soft, pillowy bedding is super comfy, the shower pressure is top-notch, and the blackout blinds and exterior soundproofing work impressively – crucial in a part of the city that’s lively week-round. I was, however, distracted at bedtime by some ambient, indeterminate noise – the plumbing? Air-conditioning? – that hummed around my room, 402, fairly constantly. It was a distraction, but I’d like to assume it’s a first-week glitch given I was sleeping over just a few days after the hotel’s opening.

And I’ve no complaints about seventh-floor Flute, which feels just a bit camp and kitsch – wonderfully so – with its animal-print upholstery, cork walls and swirling palm frond-printed carpets. There’s a terrace outside that overlooks the London Eye and the hodgepodge old-and-new skyline found in this part of the city; it’ll come into its own in the summer. But for now Flute’s best seats are at the onyx-topped bar where particularly knowledgeable mixologists craft cocktails that are a touch more extravagant (and pricier, at £18) than those served downstairs. 

As he prepared a perfect Paloma for me, the barman elaborated on how Soho’s eclecticism continues to inspire experimentation and creativity – apparently espresso and pornstar martinis were created in separate premises just minutes away from Broadwick Soho. While Mayfair and Knightsbridge are the typical locations big-name hotel groups seek out when they want to open a new luxury hotel in this city, Londoners all know that Soho’s a good call if you want a night out with a bit more flair and individuality. Looking at that picture of the Hayden family over after-dark drinks at Flute, it feels like The Broadwick is on course to build on that legacy. 

Rooms at Broadwick Soho start from about £595 a night. However, if you’re looking to book a stay at Broadwick Soho or other luxury hotels in London and beyond, LUTE can provide additional privileges and benefits to enhance your holiday (think free upgrades, complimentary dining credits, and more), at the best-available room rate. LUTE receives preferential rates at Broadwick Soho and additional benefits including complimentary breakfast, upgrades, and early check-in and late check-out. Email for more information or to make a booking.

LUTE is a luxury-travel consultant and content agency that works with hotel groups, tour operators, tourist boards, airlines and more. You can learn more about LUTE hereFor frequent luxury-travel updates, follow LUTE and LUTE founder John O’Ceallaigh on Instagram.

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