Mercure hotel, Bloomsbury is a hidden gem within a gem. A great, friendly boutique hotel tucked into one of central London’s most picturesque hideaways. You won’t find Bloomsbury on any bucket lists or ‘London must see’ brochures though. It’s a spot to come and live for a while, be it for a night or a lifetime.
Set on the corner of Southampton Row and Cosmo Place the hotel sports a bright, welcoming front entrance, leading to an even brighter reception. The bar and lounge areas have a swinging 60s/70s feel to them but with a 21st century touch, as they’re all part of a major recent refurbishment.
My room was medium sized with a soft, comfortable bed and a good sized desk, exactly what I was after. After all, if there’s one place in the world where you should be able to find the inclination to start writing, then it’s Bloomsbury. For one thing it’s just a great looking and sounding word. If that can’t get you started, nothing will. A ‘Bloomsbury’ has to be at the very least an elaborate, over-priced cake – a meringue perhaps. If it hasn’t already been used as a label for a fashion house, a particular style of wedding dress and distinctive style of men’s shoes or shirts then somebody’s missing a trick...hmmm
As a busy blogger, staying here is paying homage to some of the great writers and thinkers of the past couple of centuries: the Bloomsbury set of course, not to mention Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin and more recently Bob Marley and Ricky Gervais.
Once I’d dropped my bags, I went for a quick look around. Of course this is still central London, so there’s plenty to do. If you want to stick to Bloomsbury there’s the British museum, the cartoon museum and it must be home to at least 90% of London’s dusty vintage bookshops. ‘Skoob books’ in the Brunswick centre isn’t quite as olde worlde as some others, but they will have what you’re after.
A few minutes’ further walk away there’s Dominion theatre, the West End and all the good, wholesome naughtiness of Soho.
But there’s no reason to leave. The real point of Bloomsbury is to be another home. Plant yourself in a cozy corner, and then only leave when needed; that’s what I’ve done. There are plenty of food options within short walking distance but there’s a Marco Pierre White restaurant in the hotel, so that walking is very optional.
Mercure provides all the essentials of course: good wifi, air conditioning, 24/7 reception, facilities for disabled customers and a tourist desk if you really insist on going further afield.
With its rows of statuesque housing, numerous medical establishments and quiet, well-manicured squares, Bloomsbury isn’t a spot for neck straining sightseeing. It’s a place for introspection and reflection. If you were in a BBC period drama or an E.M Forster novel, Bloomsbury would be your ‘place in the city’. For a few nights at least it still can be.
Looking outside from my third story room I was greeted with the kind of quirky, interesting views any kind of scribbler loves. I love mid-level city views, most especially in London.
They’re not the sweeping panoramas, the vertiginous stomach-in-the-mouth views. Not the jaw-dropping views, but the eavesdropping ones. The views that make you feel like you know who’s on the other end of them. You won’t find them on postcards on Oxford St, though, come to think of it, you may do in Broadway Market, Columbia Rd market…or Bloomsbury. They’re the views of the backs of things: people going about their lives; in apartments or offices or just below, scurrying between the two. My room had just such an outlook; the perfect place to get into some serious blogging. I’ll warm up with a hotel review…