L’oscar, Bloomsbury, London

L’oscar, Bloomsbury, London

Unapologetically indulgent and just the right side of
OTT, L’oscar is a far cry from
standard industrial-chic hotel. Set in the heart of Holborn, its
luxury boudoirs and delectable dining seduce those with a taste for

“Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future.” – Oscar

So sets the tone for the first London hotel from Jacques Garcia
– the illustrious décorateur behind Hotel Costes in Paris
and La Mamounia in Marrakech – who has breathed
life into a grade II-listed former baptist church in Holborn with
his trademark flair of devilish decadence.

L’oscar’s interiors ooze a sense of luxury that begins in the
lobby, a heady incarnation of aubergine velvet, glossy black
lacquer and lashings of gold reflected in the staff’s decadently
embroidered uniforms. Garcia’s distinctive animal motifs flutter
through the hotel in the form of glass kingfishers, woodpeckers and
parakeets, each illuminated by a soft glow that emanates warmth
into the grey streets outside.

Throw in a seven-storey chandelier, hand-painted peacocks,
Doulton fireplaces, pastel stuccoes, crystal butterfly-wing taps
and endless marble floors and you’d be forgiven for thinking that
this baroque darling has strayed (or indeed crashed head-first)
into the wrong side of OTT. But Garcia is no fool, and much like
its namesake, L’oscar nails outrageous asceticism, seducing guests
with an unapologetic indulgence that is refreshing among the
copycat industrial-chic hotels of today.

In its own words, “L’oscar is a place to stay and play”. This is
a hotel that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and we’re already
wishing the walls could talk.


Thirty-nine bedrooms in eight different categories are
individually designed but all done up in similarly ravishing jewel
tones with heavy silks, sumptuous carpets and beckoning chaise
longues. Beds are so large that they hint at a ménage à trois,
while the mammoth bathtub is made for after-dinner bubbles – we
were somewhat surprised that champagne was more easily come by than
bubble bath, which is not among the bespoke Roja Dove

A complimentary non-alcoholic mini bar is included in each room,
featuring L’oscar’s own Saint & Sinner love kit.

What’s for breakfast?

You’ll be ordering to the boudoir, of course. The usual avocado
sourdough and co., join delectable treats such as fig and
blackberry mascarpone with honey and candied almonds, though the
sausage bap tickled our fancy. Those who do drag themselves from
the bedroom will be rewarded by the top-notch service in laid-back
Café L’oscar on the ground floor.

How about lunch and dinner?

Tony Fleming (of
Angler fame) heads up the Baptist Grill in the
mezzanine layer of the domed octagonal chapel. A seasonal British
menu revolves around the grill; expect dishes such as Orkney
scallops with apple and coriander dressing or colourful
coal-roasted beetroots scattered with hazelnuts followed by lemon
dover sole, curried shepherd’s pie or a choice of steaks.

The extensive wine list is particularly interesting, offering up
bottles from Slovenia and Hungary alongside the usual suspects. At
lunchtime, pop into Cafe L’oscar for a more relaxed, bistro-style

Is there a bar?

Yes. Beneath the restaurant, a moodily lit enclave intoxicates
with a Saints and Sinners cocktail menu divided into new and old
testament via seven heavenly virtues and seven deadly sins. As if
you needed further stimulation, DJs, musicians, contortionists,
aerial acrobats and theatrical performers provide entertainment
throughout the week.


Two private event spaces (The Library and The Committee Room),
access to Gymbox a two-minute walk away, 24-hour butler service and
free WiFi.

Things you should know

L’oscar has one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios in

Within a short walk I can find…

It’s slap bang in the heart of Holborn, which is admittedly not
the sexiest part of London. Bypass office workers and lunchtime
food chains and make your way into Soho to continue L’oscar’s
commitment to debauchery. If you want to experience quintessential
London, Leather Lane is nearby, as are the Inns of Court. The
neoclassical John Soane Museum is also worth a look in.