1. A building steeped in history
Formerly the London headquarters of the Baptist Church, the Grade II-listed building shut its doors to parishioners in the 1960s after its congregation dwindled. Today, following a six-year makeover overseen by national charity English Heritage, it has been reincarnated as a lavish 39-room hotel thanks to the genius of famed French décorateur Jacques Garcia.
2. Divine meets decadent
The bones of the church have been meticulously preserved, from the carved fireplaces to the ornate stucco ceilings and terracotta panels depicting biblical scenes. This Baroque charm is augmented by sumptuous furnishings like velvet chaise longues and plush carpets, rendered in jewel tones. Oscar Wilde – for whom the hotel is named – would have approved.
3. A touch of theatricality
Garcia’s signature flamboyant style takes flight here: Lalique butterfly-wing taps adorn the bathrooms, while cupboards and headboards are embellished with peacock-feather motifs. You’ll also find glass birds perched on the lighting fixtures throughout the property, including the spectacular seven-storey chandelier.
4. A feast for the senses
The setting for the hotel’s F&B offerings – which come courtesy of Michelin-starred chef Tony Fleming – is no less atmospheric. On the ground floor, Café L’oscar serves up a compact, French-inflected menu amid gilded surrounds – think mirrored ceilings and an illuminated onyx bar. Upstairs, the Baptist Grill is a veritable temple of gastronomy. Set beneath the soaring domed ceiling of the former chapel, it dishes up seasonal British produce like Cornish turbot and Cumbrian bavette (flank steak), complete with tableside service.
5. An overall vibe of discreet luxury
For all its grandeur and opulence, L’oscar never comes across as over-the-top. In fact, the hotel’s entrance isn’t marked by any visible signage, so its presence is still a well-guarded secret – at least for now. With just 39 rooms, there’s a real sense of intimacy; suitably, staff – decked out in stylish jacquard print outfits – are attentive without being overbearing.
6. Proximity to some of London’s best attractions
L’oscar doesn’t have a spa or a pool, but its prime location in Holborn means that diversions aren’t wanting – Covent Garden, the British Museum and the theatres of the West End are mere minutes away. But really, with such palatial surrounds, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave the sanctuary of your room.