If you want to celebrate St Valentine's Day with your beloved without running the gamut of couples staring silently at each other across red-rose laden tables, the Covent Garden Hotel might have just the ticket.
Along with its sister establishments elsewhere in London and in New York, the hotel in the chi-chi Seven Dials district runs a Weekend Film Club which is open to residents and non-residents alike. The evening starts with lunch, afternoon tea or dinner – you choose – before guests are whisked downstairs to the cosy 47-seat cinema, complete with red leather seats.
On Saturday night, when mydaily paid a visit, the restaurant was buzzing with elegant patrons and quite a few families whose teenage children clearly think nothing of a Saturday night out on daddy's credit card.
We started with a bottle of beautifully chilled crisp white at the impressive curved pewter bar, before being ushered to our table in a prime spot by the window in Brasserie Max. The atmosphere is one of cosy, relaxed sophistication: floral armchairs, twinkly lighting from tealights and candelabras and tiny potted succulents on every table.
Our meal – we both had a starter of squid and chorizo and the chicken cassoulet main – was faultless and the service attentive without being stifling. Too full for a pudding, we settled for a packet of toffee popcorn bought hastily from a shop up the road in time for the screening and a hot chocolate back at our table after the film, which came with liquorice allsort-style petit fours.
Need to know: The Covent Garden Hotel occupies the site of an old French hospital.
Easily bored: Get a table opposite the entrance to the "luxury erotic boutique" Coco de Mer and watch embarrassed couples affect nonchalance.
What's the damage? The Valentine's menu is £65 per person including a glass of Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne, afternoon tea, lunch or dinner and the film. If you feel like staying over, rooms start at £250 per night.
What's on? The Covent Garden Hotel will be screening Breakfast at Tiffany's, Swan Lake and Some Like It Hot over the Valentine's weekend. See details of screenings at the Soho Hotel and Charlotte Street Hotel.
Point me in the right direction: 10 Monmouth Street, London WC2H 9HB (020 7806 1000).