"Boutique" tends to be the hotelier's equivalent of an estate agent's "bijou" - that is, small, poky and not very nice. The Arch in Marylebone, however, does boutique properly. Cosy, special and luxurious, but with a relaxed attitude that means you'll feel at home even if you rock up in jeans and Converse (hello).
The Arch is a grand Georgian hotel, spread over seven former townhouses
and two old mews houses near Marble Arch tube station. It's close to all the
best bits of London, not that you'll be tempted to leave. Everything
about your room says: sit down, relax, and close the curtains, for the outside
world is Not For You. My room was huge - I've lived in flats smaller. Here, in ascending order, were its best features:
5) A Nespresso machine, so you can pretend you're George Clooney.
4) Free soft drinks in the minibar, including real milk for your tea.
3) Sky TV (might have watched a lot of America's Next Top Model) and access to a DVD library.
2) A bathroom so big it needed a panoramic shot to get it all in:
1) A TV IN THE BATH.
In the actual bath, you guys. You can watch Downton Abbey and use the fancy Malin+Goetz toiletries for hours and hours, should you wish.
I haven't even mentioned the Italian wallpaper which wouldn't look out of place in a Wallpaper Wednesday.
Or the cosy restaurant serving hearty, unfussy food with staff who are attentive without constantly hovering over you to check everything's ok. It's open plan with a wood-fired pizza oven, shelves covered in interesting vintage jars, dangling pots and pans, and huge glass light fittings. And a cracking lime sorbet that comes with salted wafers.
The Arch like a Hotel du Vin, not a Travelodge - it's not the base for your city break, it IS your city break. Go in winter so you can tell yourself the only reason you're having another bath and herbal tea is that it's too cold to go outside.
I was a guest of The Arch.