March 19 2010
For years, members of the medical profession have been keeping a secret London bolthole to themselves. Chandos House, owned by The Royal Society of Medicine, is a lovely boutique hotel shelled in a palatial London townhouse. Showcasing all the trappings expected of a stately residence – ornate painted ceilings by Antonio Zucchi, striking sculptures by John Bacon – it combines cosy individually designed suites with the occasional hint of modern, such as a central sleek glass lift.
But while it may have the society’s initials scrolled proudly atop the door, it is by no means their reserve. In fact, a room there can be had for as little as £135 per night.
My father, like his fellow in-the-know medics, won’t stay anywhere else when in town, and before I moved to London it was my favourite crash pad when visiting the capital – as much because of the secret clubhouse vibe as the snug interior.
Built in the 1700s as part of the Duke of Portland’s estate, it was snapped up by the RSM in the 1960s and instantly became the venerable clubhouse of the medical elite. Sold in the 1980s, and following an appearance in Ang Lee’s screen adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, it was returned to the RSM in 2002. No wonder medics like it so much: it offers the prime West End location of The Langham with the stately style and home comforts of a private London townhouse.