The Royal Over-Seas League
Private clubs around St James’s can often have a stuffy, male-bastion feel about them but the ROSL has a much more relaxed, even feminine ambience. Walking in, the carpets set the tone, they are warm and comfortable, good quality yet serviceable with many different patterns throughout the building. And this is very much what the ROSL is like; it’s full of character.
The minute you walk in, there are two impressive stairwells and the building just seems to open up as you go deeper and deeper inside. The site is made up of two buildings fused together, with enough history between them to write a book on. Highlights include a James Gibbs staircase, another mahogany staircase and one of the few remaining crinoline staircases, specially designed so women could get down them in their oversize skirts – and that’s just the staircases. There are seven different rooms for hire of varying sizes – the smallest being the Park Room (10), the largest the Princess Alexandra Hall (250). They can be used for anything from business meetings, conferences, to wedding receptions.
Princess Alexandra Hall is the most modern with mid-coloured wood flooring and equipped with data projectors, screen and lectern, while directly above, the Hall of India and Pakistan (same capacity) has wood panelling from wood donated in 1937 by India. These both lend themselves well to conferences, while the Drawing Room and Mountbatten Room are much more feminine with floor to ceiling windows, sash curtains, comfy armchairs, sofas in pinks and soft greens and are consequently often used for wedding receptions or private gatherings.
Many of the rooms overlook the ROSL’s garden, an enchanting space which can be booked for receptions or events (although not exclusively as they always have to leave a little room for members in case they want to use it). This garden in turn backs onto Green Park, so the upper levels have fabulous views across the park, although they fall just shy of Buckingham Palace. The newly refurbished Park Room is a pretty space – a rounded room with very delicate eggshell blue, flower print wallpaper overlooking the gardens – and would be perfect for an extremely discrete meeting. There are so many different types of people continually coming in and out of ROSL that it is perfect for discrete meetings. Even if discretion isn’t necessary, it’s just great as a very competitively priced central space with bags of character.