AS partners around the country collectively sigh at the realisation that they haven’t got a Valentine’s Day gift lined up, what better time to treat your loved one to a ‘surprise’ romantic trip to a swanky London hotel?

Hastily booked or not, the five star Courthouse Hotel in Soho offers an ideal location for couples, stunning decor, immaculate rooms and a trendy new restaurant to boot.


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Aside from the venue’s latest food offering — Soho Wala — your choice of romantic evening activities in the hotel is more extensive than you might expect, since the Sanook Spa, impressively large luxury cinema, pan-Asian restaurant and two chic bars (one on the roof) are all on site.

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With the London Paladium next door, Oxford Street moments away and the Oxford Circus tube a three minute walk, there is also the allure of shopping, shows and wintry strolls amid London’s hustle and bustle.

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Previously the Great Marlborough Street Magistrate’s Court, the Grade-II listed venue is also within walking distance of the West End, but the building itself has all the charm you could want for a cosy, upmarket valentine’s evening. The impressive architecture has witnessed trials of the likes of John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Oscar Wilde.

Yet the building is a well matched love-in between tradition and modernity, with a quintessentially British exterior and spacious, beautifully furnished lobby.

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The Great Marlborough Street hotel, which opened in 2003, boasts 116 rooms, ranging from ‘Classic’ to Lalique Penthouse Suite.

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And when it comes to things away from the bedroom, you are spoilt for choice with nearby dining, but will not go wrong with a meal at contemporary Indian street food diner Soho Wala.

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Arty walls, paintings and caged lamps add to the place’s edgy vibe, which goes with the ‘Indian tapas’ type offering. That also means you can order a feast of tasty morsels to share: there is far more to sample than a classic curry and rice.

Even the mini poppadoms, lightly cooked with garlic, are remarkably good, as is the divine tamarind sauce and cooling mint chutney it arrives with.

Valentine’s breath worries will have to take a back seat, because you cannot miss the garlic naan - or for that matter any of the other freshly cooked Indian breads, which complement various quirky offerings served in neat miniature wagons.

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There are few overpowering sauces, more subtle, complementary flavours: the peanut, coriander and onion medley goes alongside the restaurant’s take on tadka or kali daal wonderfully.

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Deep fried okra and lotus plant (pictured above the daal) is a touch greasy and salty (though that does make the mango lassi more irresistible, which is hardly a bad thing), but neatly sums up the adventurous flavours on offer. An assam tea brule, served with shortbread, ice cream and malai creme is one dessert option.

Much like the hotel, this is a fusion of classic, pioneering and comforting.

Service is excellent: staff are attentive, friendly and speedy, but not overbearing. Given the nature of the menu, they are open to requests about when and in what order your choices arrive at the table.

A night and a meal here will leave you walking away with all the brownie points; spoilt, contented and with a quiet sigh of relief.

A 'Will you be my Walatine' stay, starting at £269, includes breakfast, flowers, chocolate, Champagne and a 3 course dinner for two in Soho Wala. The offer ends on February 28. To book, visit

To view the Valentine's menu, visit

To book a table, visit