One Aldwych is now in its 21st year, so you might think we’ve revealed everything there is to know about our leading contemporary luxury hotel. However, there are a few secrets that even our most regular guests may have missed. So, let’s take a closer look…
Seen on Screen
One Aldwych had its own moment on the silver screen as a set location for Woody Allen’s 2008 film Cassandra’s Dream, starring Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell.
In the film, two struggling London brothers received a visit from their wealthy plastic surgeon uncle Howard Swann (played by Tom Wilkinson), who promised to resolve their financial issues if they murdered his former business partner in return. One Aldwych was his London residence during his trip and these secretive conversations took place in The Lobby Bar and a suite overlooking Waterloo Bridge.
Who is Spencer?
Spencer the Beano Dog, our much-loved hotel mascot, greets guests at the front desk and watches over the hotel. British artist Justine Smith created Spencer exclusively for the opening of One Aldwych in 1998 and his name was inspired by a dog that she encountered while walking on Clapham Common.
This playful sculpture was made using chicken wire and was then covered in paper dipped in plaster, finished with a colourful layer of iconic Beano comics.
Winston Churchill takeover
British politician, army officer and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill is considered one of the 20th century’s most significant figures. But did you know he has a direct connection to One Aldwych?
Early in his career, Churchill covered wars of empire as a correspondent for several London newspapers. One of these was the Morning Post, based since 1907 in the same building that has been home to One Aldwych since 1998.
During the General Strike of 1926, Churchill took over the newspaper’s printing presses - now the hotel's 18 metre swimming pool
and 30-seat cinema – to oversee a Government paper called the British Gazette. Something to think about next time you’re doing a few laps in the hotel pool or watching a film in the luxury screening room with a glass of Champagne.
One Aldwych’s prime Theatreland location has made it a hotspot for after-parties following premieres of the latest West End shows. Nicole Kidman celebrated the opening of her Sam Mendes-directed play Blue Room in 1998, while Gwyneth Paltrow toasted her British stage debut in Proof at the Donmar Theatre.
More recently in 2012, the hotel hosted the starry festivities for Our Boys at the Duchess Theatre with Laurence Fox, Billie Piper, David Tennant and Matt Smith in attendance.
Cooking up a storm on BBC MasterChef
Our talented head chefs have all appeared on popular television cooking show BBC MasterChef. In 2010, Axis restaurant was in the spotlight as our former chef Tony Fleming put a team of aspiring chefs through their paces, followed by Executive Chef Dominic Teague in 2012.
The programme couldn’t get enough of Chef Dominic as he returned the next year to challenge celebrities Ade Edmondson, Janet Street Porter, Les Dennis and Brian Capon to create his signature Modern British Afternoon Tea from the kitchens of Indigo restaurant.
Just last spring, Javi Blanco, Head Chef of Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar
, gave a group of amateur chefs a taste of life working in a busy kitchen in the semi-finals. Expectations were high, the pressure was on, and Kenny Tutt did us proud and won series 14.