Rosewood London is at the heart of one of the world’s leading cities. Since the early years of the 20th century, the grand Edwardian edifice has been a notable part of the life of the British capital.
The hotel is situated in one of the capital’s most historic thoroughfares, High Holborn, a road that dates back to Roman times. The Manor of Holborn was mentioned in 1086 in the Domesday Book, a land survey, and through the Middle Ages, as the City of London developed, the district took on an increasingly significant role. During the 14th and 15th centuries, the Inns of Court were founded nearby, establishing the district as the centre of the British legal profession.
As the district grew in importance, so too did its residents. Former Holborn occupants include Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Thomas More, John Milton, Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens. Dickens wrote Pickwick Papers while living here, and set scenes from many novels in the area, including Pip and Herbert Pocket’s home in Great Expectations. As the 20th century approached, the area was home to William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as the Holborn Restaurant, an expansive eatery (it was formerly a casino) that the 1890 Baedeker’s guide to London called one of the best-known restaurants in the city.
Over the last century, High Holborn’s proximity to Drury Lane, Covent Garden, Fleet Street, Bloomsbury, numerous University of London colleges, world-renowned museums, influential galleries and the financial institutions in the City, has kept it at the centre of London life.
History of No. 252
Designed by H. Percy Monckton in a flamboyant Edwardian style, the extraordinary building at 252 High Holborn began construction in 1912. The first part was completed in 1914, and it was expanded upon in four stages over nearly 50 years, during which time it was the headquarters for the Pearl Assurance Company.
The subsequent transformation of this historic building from Imperial-era offices into a London luxury hotel was carried out under the guidance of English Heritage, which lists the principal facades, as well as the interiors of the former East and West Banking Halls (now Holborn Dining Room and the Bar, respectively) and the Grand Staircase as the hotel’s significant heritage features.
The magnificent street frontage, which today is the entrance to Rosewood London, features a central carriageway entrance and dome leading into a grand courtyard, which provides a calm sanctuary away from the bustle of the city.
Inside, the lavish interiors are fitted out with Cuban mahogany and seven types of marble, including extremely rare types such as Swedish Green and Statuary. One of the most dramatic features of this five-star heritage hotel is the Renaissance-style seven-storey grand staircase, an architectural tour de force in marble. It ascends from either side of the entrance on High Holborn, forming a bridge on the first floor and rising through all the floors under an elliptical dome. Looking upwards, the arcades of Pavonazzo marble frame a view of the cupola that rises to 50.6 meters (166 feet), the maximum permitted height at the time of construction.
The lengthy restoration project followed original designs wherever possible. Missing details have been carefully replicated and replaced, and throughout the hotel, the restoration process has created an ambience of a historic London residence with ample space and atmosphere for both intimate and large events.
With a nod to the building’s rich history, three individual heritage boardrooms are named in honour of Chairmen of Pearl Assurance Company. The Grade II-listed building is now sensitively renovated throughout to provide accommodation with the feel of a stylish London residence.