A decorative "thé-au-lait" (tea with milk) terracotta facade sets the tone for a heritage stay at this 19th-century landmark building that stands proud along the entirety of one side of Russell Square.
Part of a new breed of "affordable" five-star hotels (no room is more than £500) springing up in the capital, Kimpton Fitzroy London's palatial exterior continues within, where designers Tara Bernerd and Russell Sage have made the most of original cathedral-esque features including vertiginously high ceilings and a sweeping Pyrean marble staircase.
Dark wood, mosaic floors, architectural chandeliers and jade pillars all licked with gilt ooze venerable opulence, but several restaurants, a seductive bar and bright, spacious bedrooms make this grand dame fit for cosmopolitan royalty.
A total of 334 rooms range from 172-square-foot singles up to a mammoth 915-square-foot suite offering a setup to accommodate every type of traveller. Sophisticated and comfortable, four-poster beds join sinkable sofas, inviting armchairs and soft carpets in a neutral colour palette. Fresh flowers, a fruit bowl and sunlight streaming the large bay windows make for a wonderfully homely experience. Generously proportioned bathrooms are all glossy white tiles with freestanding baths in some suites, with a "Forgot it? We got it" menu offering guests anything from lip balm to hair tongs.
What's for breakfast?
Head to the restaurant, Neptune, where an a la carte menu serves the usuals alongside buttermilk pancakes and smoked-haddock kedgeree. They also have an all-day café, Burr & Co., modelled on a traditional Victorian coffeehouse and suited to those looking to grab and go. For afternoon tea, head to Palm Court, an Instagrammable indoor conservatory full of greenery and an idyllic spot for scones.
How about lunch and dinner?
Neptune is trussed up in a way that is said to be almost identical to the RMS Titanic's dining room, which Fitzroy also designed. Australian chef Brett Redman tells a fishy tale with a daily oyster happy hour at 6-7pm and a selection of glorious seafood platters - those not so seafood inclined can look to the wood grill. A destination restaurant as well as part of the hotel, it's always buzzy and manned by competent, friendly staff.
Is there a bar?
Yes, popular among both guests and Londoners, head to cocktail den Fitz's and order a Negroni. Sip it under the mammoth disco ball while making up salacious stories about your fellow imbibers - you never know who's going to be sitting next to you.
Complimentary WiFi, fitness centre, nightly hosted social hour in the living room 5-6pm.
Things I should know…
Look out for "Lucky George", a bronze dragon perched on the banister on the second-floor. An identical copy was on the Titanic - rub your hand on his back and make a wish.
Within a short walk I can find…
Literary London is on your doorstep. Alternatively head to Lamb's Conduit Street for independent boutiques and dinner at Noble Rot, a Parisian-style wine bar and one of the best spots in town.