THERE is nowhere quite like London, but making your way around can take its toll on the feet. So could a ‘virtual trip’ be an alternative way of experiencing the Capital?

It’s cocktail hour in the elegant Lobby Bar at the One Aldwych Hotel. It’s a stone’s throw from The Strand, yet within seconds I’m transported to the highlands of Scotland, via a heady blend of 12-year-old whisky and top notch Champagne - and I haven’t even taken a sip.

It’s all down to the virtual reality goggles and headphones served up with my cocktail, The Origin. The barman puts them in place and I’m drawn into a fabulous little film beginning with the cocktail being mixed, against a highland backdrop. Then comes sweeping aerial footage through mountainous Scottish scenes and suddenly I’m in Covent Garden beneath a twinkly-lit night sky. Then the camera swoops along a busy London street, around a corner and through the door of the One Aldwych, ending at the bar. This is where the film ends, I take off the goggles and in front of me is a delicious deep red cocktail, and a selection of tasty bar bites.

It’s a lovely bit of fun to accompany the hotel’s new Showtime cocktail menu, inspired by London’s West End. Surrounded by 20 theatres, this Covent Garden hotel is perfectly positioned to celebrate shows, from high-kicking musicals to cutting-edge comedies. The menu, ‘directed’ by Lobby Bar manager Pedro Paulo, is big on presentation and leaves you spoilt for choice, with creations such as Take a Chance on Me, inspired by Mamma Mia; The Circle of Life (The Lion King); and Jasmine Breeze (Aladdin).

My ‘virtual tipple’, The Origin, (from the menu’s ‘Backstage’ section) is made from Dalmore whisky, Merlet cherry liqueur, grapefruit juice, chocolate bitters and Lallier Champagne. I can also recommend the Aldwych Mule, comprising vodka, elderflower liqueur and ginger beer, served in a copper pitcher.

After drinks we headed downstairs for dinner at Eneko at One Aldwych. The chic restaurant and wine bar, from acclaimed Spanish chef Eneko Atxa - whose three-Michelin Azurmendi restaurant is 16 in the World’s Top 50 Restaurants - features sleek furnishings from craftsmen in the Basque region and offers a contemporary twist on traditional Basque dishes. With choices such as Cauliflower served four ways (admit it, you’re intrigued), Cerdito Caliente “Hot Hog”, Basque Duck Liver Parfait, Mussels and asparagus, braised pork cheeks and a Julienne of king oyster mushrooms with pickled red onion, the menu is a good read in itself.

And the food is fabulous. I started with a light, tasty crispy corn talo, with heritage tomatoes and basil emulsion, beautifully presented with edible flowers, and for my main course enjoyed hake tempura in a pepper sauce. My partner had suckling pig tempura followed by slow-cooked oxtail with mushroom emulsion, which he said was delicious, despite the odd name. “Isn’t mushroom emulsion a paint?” he quipped.

For dessert I had pineapple sorbet with celery foam, a perfect palate-cleanser, while he tucked into peanut sponge and chocolate sauce. Accompanying the meal was a decent choice from the Spanish wine list.

The One Aldwych is a beautiful hotel, offering contemporary luxury and a welcome escape from the hurly-burly of London. With friendly, attentive staff making each guest feel special, you can re-charge your batteries ready for the next round of sightseeing, shopping or theatre-going.

Next day, after eggs florentine in the mezzanine restaurant, we embarked on a flurry of activity, from the Imperial War Museum to Carnaby Street, and later relaxed in the hotel’s tranquil health spa. With a pool to die for - bathed in mood lighting, with an underwater music system - it’s a haven. We flitted between the pool, sauna and steam room, before heading for our lovely room in fluffy white robes.

The hotel is ideally situated for London attractions, not least lively Covent Garden, the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye. You don’t even need to leave the One Aldwych for entertainment, as it has its own cinema.

From July 1 to September 30, the hotel is launching a Summer Urban Retreat programme, including private Covent Garden walks, Basque wine tastings, cocktail masterclasses, speedboat Thames tours and a backstage tour of historic Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

After all that, you can float in that mood-lit pool and feel the bustle of London just drain away...

* The One Aldwych Hotel is at 1 Aldwych, London.

* The hotel has 105 rooms and suites, the Lobby Bar and Indigo restaurant with seasonal British menu, Basque restaurant Eneko at One Aldwych, a gym, chlorine-free swimming pool, sauna, steam room and private screening room. Rooms rates start from £275. Call (0)20 7300 0500, email or visit