BACK in 1907 permission was granted for a ‘grand’ new hotel in London.

Two years later the Strand Palace opened its doors, exerting its unmissable presence in one of the capital’s best-known streets - The Strand.

Those of us who are not familiar with this major London thoroughfare will no doubt know it from the Monopoly board, along with its neighbour Fleet Street, the former hub of the newspaper industry.

With Trafalgar Square at one end and the Royal Courts of Justice at the other, the Strand runs parallel with the Thames, connecting Westminster to the City.

The Strand Palace could not be better placed for anyone wishing to visit London. On the edge of Covent Garden and Theatreland, the landmark building has been, welcoming visitors through its doors for 110 years.

A multi-million pound refurbishment is transforming the hotel’s nine floors, from the lobby to its guestrooms. A new restaurant and bar, afternoon tea parlour and private dining room has also opened.

Having not seen the hotel prior to its revamp, we couldn’t compare, but the stylish Art Deco-inspired lobby was both welcoming and relaxing on the day we arrived.

Travelling down by train we at first spent several hours at the Museum of London, a fascinating, free attraction that charts the development of the city from 450,000 BC to present day.

We enjoyed looking at the vast array of artefacts found in the River Thames, from ancient coins to pottery, tools and weapons, including a large bronze shield dated between 1200 and 900 BC.

Similar in many way to York’s Castle Museum, the attraction - which stands near the Barbican Centre alongside parts of London’s Roman city wall - explores events in the capital’s history including the plague in 1665, which killed up to 7,000 people every week, and the Great Fire of 1666.

I loved social researcher Charles Booth’s ‘poverty map’ of London, showing streets where different classes of people lived, from the upper classes to ‘semi criminal’.

And I like seeing the cauldron used for the Olympic flame during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

It is a wonderful museum for both adults and children and perfect for a rainy day.

And rain it did. Clutching umbrellas, we left the museum to visit nearby Postman’s Park, a wonderful little spot on the site of the former headquarters of the General Post Office wherein lies George Frederic Watts’s Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice - a moving tribute to ordinary people who died while saving the lives of others and who might otherwise be forgotten.

Passing the glorious St Paul’s, we hopped on a bus for the ten minute ride to the Strand Palace, where our room - a deluxe king with a bed the size of a football pitch - awaited.

Beautifully decorated in soft, sophisticated tones of grey, the room was a peaceful haven, with sliding window shutters shutting out the noise of the busy rush-hour street below.

The Art-Deco influence is firmly in place here too, from the carpets and soft furnishings to the numbers on room doors. The only thing I would have liked is a bath - I am not a fan of showers - but, from April, the hotel will be shower only.

We later dined in Haxells, the hotel’s spacious new restaurant, choosing from the varied and very reasonably priced menu of British-inspired cuisine. We both selected seafood - me beer battered fish and chips, my husband, a starter of crispy squid which he thought delicious, followed by grilled, marinated tuna. We followed with Eton mess for him and a tangy lemon tart for me.

A relaxed atmosphere and friendly waiting staff added to the comfortable ambience of the restaurant.

The Strand Palace is also home to the New York Theatre Brasserie Joe Allen, a more intimate dining place, whose brick walls are hung with stage show posters and a live pianist entertains. And Gin Palace, a calm, elegant bar offering more than 30 gins and 20 whiskeys, where people can enjoy a wide range of cocktails.

After dinner we had a half-hour stroll through the elegant courtyard of Somerset House and across Waterloo Bridge to look at the view of Parliament - with Big Ben shrouded in scaffolding - across the Thames.

When the Strand Palace opened vehicles would have been few and far between on the streets of London. Now taxis and buses pass its doors in droves. But you really don’t need them.

This hotel has everything on its doorstep - vibrant South Bank with its world-class arts venues, lively Leicester Square and Soho, and - if you have a head for heights - the London Eye and Shard. Many of London’s major tourist attractions are within easy walking distance.

As are some lesser-known ones. We loved Dr Johnson’s House a 300-year-old townhouse tucked away in a courtyard off Fleet Street. In the 18th century it was home to the writer and wit Samuel Johnson, who compiled the famous Dictionary of the English Language. There is a charming statue to his cat Hodge outside.

*Strand Palace Hotel, 372 Strand, London WC2R 0JJ; Visit:; T: 020 7379 4737