Wood Lane is a familiar address to many of us, but its days as home to Blue Peter and old beloved BBC productions are long gone.
Setting up in the old Television Centre, Nick Jones has brought the newest addition of the Soho House Group to an old favourite. The old BBC building screams familiarity, warmth and childhood as we recall our days sat in front of the Beeb, and it’s been given a healthy surge of new life. With 60’s vibes reminiscent of the building’s time, White City House is alive with nostalgia.
Soho House’s pioneering hotels, spas, restaurants and Pizza Restaurants are raining down upon us, as White City House is the 19th installment, which includes New York, West Hollywood, Shoreditch, Toronto and Istanbul.
For anyone who watched television anywhere after the 1960’s, or even worked there, staying in the latest Soho House will feel incredibly familiar.
The spectacle of the listed building’s recognizable “doughnut” shape and the 26 “atomic dots” on the concealment of Studio One make me crave for comforting old telly, for Andy Peters, Phillip Schofield and Terry Wogan and the days when the Television Centre itself was the iconic backdrop for the numerous programmes made there.
White City House is part of a billion pound housing and retail renovation which aims to do for West London what Shoreditch House did for the east of the city when it opened over 10 years ago, rebranding itself as a space for creatives to get together and unwind.
Encircled by brand-new apartments, the club has a ground-floor restaurant/lounge, Allis, and an Electric Cinema, a huge basement gym, which is perhaps the group’s principal by far, with lap pool, sauna, hammam and café; 45 bedrooms on two floors; and two top floors reserved for members and hotel guests.
Up on the rooftop you will find the usual, signature, chilled out Soho vibe, of course encompassing the mid-century vibe of the BBC’s golden years.
For those of us who find it impossible to disconnect, there are dedicated work spaces, and places where laptops and mobiles are prohibited for those who want nothing more than peace and quiet.
There is also an area called Playschool, with an open kitchen, billiards and games room, devoted events room, a blossoming suntrap balcony with tremendous views, rooftop pool (ditto), bars and an open-sided restaurant. I know… it’s impressive, and trust me, it makes quite an impression.
The bedrooms have been created out of former offices, which exudes an undeniable Mad Men vibe. Boasting the 1960’s retro theme, the rooms are wonderfully equipped and quirky. The bathrooms are generously stocked full of (now beloved) Cowshed products, another of Nick Jones’s ventures.
Hotel amenities can often be dull, predictable and clearly, cost effective, but the collection of amenities found here would be a must have for anyone’s bathroom cabinet.
Hotel rooms are often void of character, but I was pleased to see that each room has one of four magnificent collages by Peter Blake, depicting famous BBC personalities packed together outside the iconic building. It’s this extra touch that injects identity into what could have easily become ‘just a standard hotel room’.
With the sun was blaring down beams of light on the rooftop pool as I carefully sipped my favourite Soho Mule, I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend at White City House. The food was delicious, and I was pleased to find it was not too overpriced and unpretentious. I was also impressed with the 2 hour 15 journey time from Cardiff and £15 for 48 hour parking fee.
I am already looking forward to taking advantage of the next hotel in the portfolio; Amsterdam, and with easy travel from Cardiff Airport, I’m getting my bags packed.