Inside the NoMad London hotel, which used to be a police station

The Mail’s hotel inspector checks into a former police station that’s had a £50million makeover to become the swanky NoMad London. He pays £355 to be detained, but is a willing prisoner

  • NoMad London, opposite the Royal Opera House, used to be Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station
  • It has more than 90 rooms with prices running up to £2,450 for a suite that features a bedside bath
  • Art is a big deal at the NoMad, says the Inspector. There are more than 1,600 pieces in total
  • Remember… The Inspector pays his way – and tells it like it is…

NoMad London is being hailed as the most exciting hotel opening in the capital for many years. 

It’s certainly one of the bravest, with so few tourists around and when you consider the challenges – and financing (in excess of £50million has gone into this project) – of transforming what was Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station (Oscar Wilde was tried here for ‘gross indecency’) into the swishest of hotels. 

Following on the heels of New York, LA and Vegas, this first NoMad in Europe, which has more than 90 rooms, is directly across the road from the Royal Opera House. 

The Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station has been transformed into the NoMad London hotel

The Inspector checked into a ‘classic’ room (pictured) and he said he liked the ‘weathered, leather headboard’ – but the space was far too small for even his offer price of £355

The bathroom, the Inspector said, had ‘a touch of Hollywood glamour about it, with gold taps, a huge walk-in shower’ and the largest towels he’d ever seen

Watching NoMad moving through the gears in the next few months will be fascinating, says the Inspector. Pictured here is the grand ballroom

The story goes that several furloughed set designers were commissioned to paint murals here and there, especially in the courtroom, which is now a terrific space for private events. 

A neatly attired doorman is stationed at the hotel entrance, but in due course he’s sure to be joined by photographers anxious to see who can afford to spend upwards of £455 per night for a lead-in room, or £2,450 for the Royal Opera Suite. 

I’m paying £355 for bed and breakfast as part of an opening offer, which also includes a couple of cocktails. 

The vibe is dark and moody. I practically need a torch when navigating the deep green corridors. Only the suites face the ROH.  

The main dining room at the NoMad is housed in a new conservatory with inspired pendant lighting and plush banquettes


A peek inside the NoMad’s pub, Side Hustle, which serves up Mexican-inspired tipples and nibbles. The Inspector described it as ‘a sort of upmarket Nando’s with better guacamole and spicier prices’

The plush marble-topped bar area off the NoMad’s conservatory-styled main restaurant

My ‘classic’ room is far too small for the money and overlooked by other rooms across a courtyard. 

Its main feature is a laminated drinks cabinet containing the mini bar. 

A miniature Plymouth Gin costs £16; it’s £120 for a bottle of Chablis. 

I like the weathered, leather headboard, and the bathroom has a touch of Hollywood glamour about it, with gold taps, a huge walk-in shower (only some of the suites have baths) and the largest towels I’ve ever seen. 

Art is a big deal at NoMad. There are more than 1,600 pieces in total. Caroline Denervaud’s abstracts — created by tracing her dance movements on canvas — are everywhere. 

The one in my room is not dissimilar to her vast work on the stairs that lead down to the main dining room, housed in a new conservatory with inspired pendant lighting and plush banquettes. 

The Royal Opera Suite at the NoMad, pictured, features a freestanding bedside bath – and costs from £2,450

The hotel-guest-only Library, where drinks are sipped on red velvet sofas and armchairs

There are more than 1,600 artworks around the NoMad London. The Inspector found Caroline Denervaud’s abstracts – created by tracing her dance movements on canvas – were ‘everywhere’

The Library, which serves drinks, is reserved just for hotel guests, the room is broken up by bookcases, with red velvet sofas and armchairs — but I’m surprised that my gin and tonic comes in a boring tall glass, just like you’d get nearby at the Bow Street Tavern. 

It’s a different matter next door in NoMad’s pub, Side Hustle, where everyone’s shouting to make themselves heard. 

Perhaps this is a post-lockdown din, a so-pleased-to-see-you-again racket. 

The food and drinks menu here is Mexican – a sort of upmarket Nando’s with better guacamole and spicier prices. 

Breakfast is served in the Library. All is calm, service is impeccable. 

Watching NoMad moving through the gears in the next few months will be fascinating. Those fortunate enough to be detained in this former police station are the lucky ones.

TRAVEL FACTS 

NoMad London is located at 28 Bow St, London, WC2E 7AW. To make a reservation call 020 3906 1600 or visit thenomadhotel.com. Rooms start at £455 excluding breakfast, £480 including breakfast.

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