We must declare an interest: one of the backers of The Rockwell, a new London hotel opened in 2006, is architect Michael Squire, neighbour and sailing cronie of the guide's publisher. How to write about it without bias?
Some years ago, Squire and his business partners acquired two large, adjoining terraced houses at the impersonal west end of the Cromwell Road, opposite the Cromwell Hospital, near its junction with Earls Court Road, and first thought of making them rooming houses for students. Then, unexpectedly, they got permission for change of use.
Overcoming their worries about the location, and in true entrepreneurial spirit, they spent serious money turning it into a contemporary hotel. The bedrooms, though created out of a variety of spaces, and very comfortable, seemed at first a little too much like conventional city hotel rooms for this guide, which prefers non-standardised, eclectic design. But, staying the night, they grew on us, with their beautiful oak fittings and large beds with fine sheets. Most are far from being boxes. Fairly priced, too. And we found the corridors and connecting parts unusually well lit and congenial. But the essential charm we seek came home when we had drinks in the large and attractively-designed garden followed by dinner in the cosy but coolly decorated little dining room.
Imaginative, carefully prepared food, relaxed but friendly service and again, fair prices. Londoners could do a lot worse than eat out here (see below under Location for tips on parking).