An Inspector Calls… at London’s new police-themed Great Scotland Yard Hotel – but says the only way he’ll return is if the strong arm of the law insists on it
- The Great Scotland Yard Hotel is the former home of the Metropolitan Police
- It is now an expensive hotel in London’s Whitehall owned by billionaire Yusuff Ali
- All 150-plus rooms are decorated in the Met crest and staff wear legalese dress
”Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello, what’s goin’ on in here, then?’
To which the answer is that the former home of the Metropolitan Police, just off Whitehall in Central London, is now an expensive hotel owned by Indian billionaire Yusuff Ali and managed by the Hyatt group.
The latter is the problem. When I ring the hotel I’m told bookings have to be made via Hyatt’s impersonal central bookings system, where I’m given a rate that is nearly £30 more than the one offered on booking.com. I call the hotel.
The Great Scotland Yard Hotel, which is the former home of the Metropolitan Police, just off Whitehall in Central London
‘Are you really saying that it’s fine for someone to walk in off the street and book a room but you can’t make a booking on the telephone?’ ‘No, that’s not the case,’ says a French woman.
‘Why the sudden change?’
‘Because I’m the duty manager.’
She is there to welcome us, too, pouring a complimentary gin and port concoction.
The police theme is everywhere, including a wall devoted to police officers, crooks, murderers and judges. There are boxed displays of policing artefacts, and the Forty Elephants Bar (inspired by a female syndicate of London thieves famous for smash-and-grabs over almost two centuries) has a long ‘evidence table’ in the middle.
All 150-plus rooms have doors decorated in the Met crest and the staff wear legalese fancy dress. But this is meant to be a hotel not a theme park.
Our room is well-appointed (it should be at these prices) but why bother with fake book bindings and heated loo seats?
The Yard restaurant inside the hotel. The Inspector said the service here was ‘appallingly slow’
The restaurant is called The Yard. We order a couple of ‘snacks’ with our drinks because we are hungry. Nothing arrives. Instead, a rich, truffle-infused amuse-bouche turns up, followed by our starters.
My wife’s scallops are a nonsense for £17.50 — or, rather, scallop singular, sliced thinly in a rich jus.
Service is appallingly slow, which is strange given that there are only four main course choices: fish, boar, venison and mushroom risotto.
My wife would love a steak but there isn’t one, so opts for the risotto, which has almost the same flavours as the amuse-bouche.
We sleep well and share one continental breakfast (£18). Our nice duty manager wishes us well at check-out and hopes we will return. No chance — unless the strong arm of the law insists on it.
Great Scotland Yard Hotel, 3-5 Great Scotland Yard, London SW1A 2HN. Doubles from £430. Visit hyatt.com or call 020 7925 4700.