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Henrietta Hotel, Covent Garden

June 20, 2017
The Henrietta, Covent Garden

I’ve been to the Henrietta Hotel twice in 24 hours.  In my defence, it’s a stone’s throw from my office, so easy to get excited about.  Yesterday for drinks, today for a nosey around the rooms.  Because yes, I am a hotel geek and I do like to do things like that on my lunch break.

Founded by the Experimental Group guys (think the Experimental Cocktail Chinatown, but they also own lots of hip venues in Paris, New York & Ibiza), the Henrietta is many things.  Firstly it is a small, luxury hotel, with 18 rather beautiful rooms.  With heavy Art Deco influences and pastel colours, each room is unique, from the pretty headboards to brass lamps and mirrors in all different shapes and sizes.   Many of the bathrooms have large baths and all have fluffy branded robes and towels.

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

The Henrietta has also got a great bar.  Last night, post excellent dinner at Frenchie (which I would recommend to all who would fork out a casual £38 on lamb), I dragged my friend there for cocktails.  We were there long enough for the bill to be fairly substantial (be warned).  The cocktail menu is a little unusual, as I suppose you would expect from these guys.  I wasn’t sure about my Palomar cocktail (tequila based but perhaps with a touch too much salt) but the vibe was good, and I love the design of the place.  There is also a mezzanine level with another bar and more tables.

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

Perhaps the most talked about aspect of the Henrietta is its restaurant, with the food being by the one & only Ollie Dabbous (of Dabbous fame).  I sent my colleague there for lunch yesterday (come to think of it I really have been giving this place a lot of love) and he said the food was excellent.

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

And so today, having not seen any of the rooms, I popped by and was shown around.  Sadly their two suites were booked, as I would have loved to have seen the views from their terrace.  But I saw two rooms: their smallest Covent Garden room (super cosy, under the eaves of the house, not for giants) and the Henrietta room (much more spacious, fabulous bed).

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

All in all it’s good to see Covent Garden has a new, hip hotel, and I’m sure I’ll be stopping by regularly for food and booze, and maybe even a snooze..!

The Henrietta

14-15 Henrietta St,

London WC2E 8QH

Blog, Drink, Eat, London, Stay

Mondrian Hotel, South Bank

December 25, 2015
Mondrian Hotel, South Bank

London has had quite a few show-stopping hotel openings in 2015, but the Mondrian Hotel may be the most prominent one of all.  And for good reason – this modern beauty, with prime location in the Sea Containers building on the South Bank is worth a visit.  Whether it be for breakfast, dinner, cocktails or an overnight stay, the Mondrian will delight.

I went for dinner and cocktails about a month ago. Even your arrival is memorable – the copper, sea inspired ‘wave’ is perhaps more unique than it is beautiful, but I loved it.  The whole design of the place is to echo a 1920s cruise ship.  In my mind that description sounds like it should look hideous, but it’s far from it.

Mondrian Hotel, South BankMondrian Hotel, South Bank

The restaurant – colourful and shiny – was busy in a pleasant way; the design sleek with a flashy bar in the centre of the room.  But your eyes are instantly drawn to the views.  You’re right on the river Thames and you’ve got Blackfriars Bridge and the City on your right (the Tate Modern is an 8 minute walk), and Westminster and all its glories to your left.  The food was delicious and light, presented with care.  Perhaps I chose healthy options, but I left feeling satisfied without overly full (which is sadly usually the case when you’re as greedy as I am).

Mondrian Hotel, South BankMondrian Hotel, South Bank

The bar at the Mondrian is perhaps even more of a highlight than the restaurant – the decor (modern, of course) again stands out. While bright pink leather sofas may not necessarily be my cup of tea, here they fit perfectly with the emerald green walls. At night the bar is so dimly lit you don’t even necessarily notice the colours.  Again, the view drew my attention more than anything. London looks so magical at night, and from the bar (make sure you sit close to the window) the views are uninterrupted.  The cocktails too deserve a mention, the menu beautifully designed and the drinks were well crafted.

Mondrian Hotel, South Bank

The Mondrian hotel may not be for everyone – it’s daring and loud, the design is ridiculously slick and it perhaps lacks a degree coziness.  But its style is fun and original, the views phenomenal, the location ideal to see London and the pricing fair (this is all relative of course).  While I didn’t see the rooms I know some say they do feel slightly more business-like than the hotel’s communal areas, but still very comfortable with all the mod-cons you could wish for.

Mondrian Hotel, South BankMondrian Hotel, South Bank

But I suppose what I liked so much about the place was that the restaurant and bar did not feel like they were part of a hotel at all.  So regardless of whether you’re a hotel guest or not, you still very much feel like a special guest in your own right.

The Mondrian Hotel

Sea Containers

20 Upper Ground,

London SE1 9PD

Blog, Drink, London, Stay

Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone

October 8, 2015
Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone

The first time I went to the new Zetter Townhouse in Marylebone, I walked straight passed it.  I knew that the Zetter group was no normal hotel group, but the townhouse was so unassuming, and so ‘un-hotel like’, I questioned google maps a few times before I found it.  And what a beautiful house it is; an elegant, warm red brick Georgian building with windows inviting you to have a peek in (though clearly I was too fixed on google maps to do so).

Walking into the ‘lobby’ is also not like walking into a hotel.  Instead, it feels like you’re walking into someone’s (grand) home.  It’s more a cosy living room than anything else, with dark red walls covered in art, big comfy sofas, quirky antiques, old framed photographs and an elegant grand father clock.  It was apparently modelled on John Soane’s house, and there is a clear resemblance. ‘Uncle Seymour’ hangs proudly above the fireplace – and it is this fictional character which the hotel is based on.  Marylebone’s new Zetter Townhouse is effectively ‘borrowed’ from Uncle Seymour while he’s on his travels.  We are his guests, lest we forget it.

Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone

The place is proudly British, with eccentric touches.  I loved all the small details, the beautifully hand painted lift doors (the peacock lift is my favourite), the rugs on the bed which once kept the royal horses warm and delicious REN bath products.

There are only 22 rooms (starting at around £250 per night), and each room is very different.  Some have huge stately four poster beds, others have gramophones, and the Edward Lear suite has an outdoor tub (to be honest, all the rooms have very impressive baths).

Zetter Townhouse, MaryleboneZetter Townhouse, MaryleboneZetter Townhouse, Marylebone

Seymour’s Parlour cocktail lounge (i.e the red room I described initially) is open for breakfast (popular with non-residing guests too) until late.  And the cocktails are as punchy as they are at the Zetter in Clerkenwell (I highly recommend the Valais Fizz, with Arquebuse Vodka, Lime, Fir Essence & soda).  You can also grab a bite to eat here, with small sharing plates and ‘Seymour’s famous potted pleasures’ like the potted shrimp.

I loved the feel of the place, and can imagine that those people who dislike the larger, less personal chain hotels which London has so many of, would absolutely love this quirky but loveable Zetter Townhouse.  And while it may lack the facilities (no gym/spa/proper restaurant as such), it massively makes up for it in style and character.

And if you need somewhere to go post cocktails here, you’re round the corner from my favourite Seymour Place, with the new Lurra restaurant with Basque grilled tapas, or the Southern American Lockhart with the new Showdown cocktail bar below, or even the new Italian Bernardi’s on the corner.

The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone has also just been crowned ‘City Hotel of the year’ by the Sunday Times, which they can certainly be proud of.  Most definitely worth a visit!

Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone

28-30 Seymour Street,

London W1H 7JB

Blog, Eat, London, Stay

Celeste at the Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner

September 10, 2015

When one of London’s most luxurious hotels undergoes a multi-million pound refurbishment, you know it’s going to cause a bit of a stir.  Now managed by the Oetker Collection (who also look after world-renowed properties like the Bristol in Paris, Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa in the Cote D’Azur and Palais Namaskar in Marrakech), the Lanesborough will soon be one of London’s most talked about hotels again.  I was very lucky to be invited on a tour of this beautiful five star hotel and then for dinner at the brand new French-inspired restaurant Céleste.   I was beyond excited, as it’s not every day that you get to eat at such a fine establishment.

The Lanesborough is an elegant London Regency landmark, which sits slightly back from busy Hyde Park Corner.

Lanesborough, London

The hotel has 93 guest rooms and suites, and rooms start from £715 per night.  But their standard rooms are far from ‘standard’; you can expect the most stunning warm coloured rooms and marble bathrooms, with Ipads which control everything in the room – from the lighting to the temperature.  As the Laneborough was built as a home, not a hotel, all the rooms are different in size and shape, and also in design – which I love.

Lanesborough, LondonLanesborough, LondonLanesborough, London

Alberto Pinto is responsible for all the interiors, and he has done a phenomenal job.  They stripped all interiors and, so everything has been redone, to the finest detail.  The Royal Suite is certainly one of the most impressive suites I’ve seen – it can combine to be seven bedrooms, complete with a huge sitting room and dining room with wonderful views of Hyde Park.

I also loved the Garden Room, which stays heated all your year, so you can enjoy a cigar (or just a drink) outside in the winter.

The Lanesborough, LondonLanesborough, London

Dinner at Celeste was the main highlight though.  We were treated like royalty by all the staff (at one point we had five people serving us at one time!), who were all very friendly and attentive.  The room is majestic, with Venetian decor, beautiful chandeliers and a domed glass roof which lets in plenty of light.

Celeste, London

We opted for the five course tasting menu (which was sneakily actually seven courses, if you count the delicious cauliflower amuse bouche and a pre-desert sorbet palate-cleanser).  The food was exquisite: from the Home County Lamb to the unbelievable cheese selection (French & British) to the Guanaja Chocolate desert.  My favourite dish? The Heritage tomato salad.  I know that sounds odd, but this was a tomato salad like no other (see photo below).

Celeste, LondonCeleste, London

We met the head chef Florian Favario, who seemed not only very approachable but very humble considering his expertise.  He explained that lunch at Celeste was a very different experience, more casual and laid back.  It’s also more moderately priced (Norfolk blackleg chicken is £22, the Wild Scottish Salmon £26), so I highly recommend it!

I will be returning to the Lanesborough next week for Afternoon tea, which I’m naturally very excited about.

Celeste at the Lanesborough

Hyde Park Corner

London SW1X 7TA

Blog, Drink, London, Stay

The Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch

January 28, 2015

Those of you who know this Rooftop Bar, may well count it as one of their favourite summer drinking hangouts.  And I can totally see why; the Rooftop has a wide, expansive terrace, fire pits and comfy seating.  The views are great, but don’t count on getting in any real London landmarks.  You can see Shoreditch House though (might not be quite so comparable!).

The Boundary Rooftop Bar & Grill, Shoreditch

The Boundary Rooftop Bar & Grill, Shoreditch

But while the Boundary’s Rooftop perhaps seems the more obvious choice in the summer, I decided to go in the winter.  For it is now open every day, throughout the year.  It has a covered part which is heated and protects you from the elements.  You still get the views.  And the great cocktails.  And it’s not so busy.  Win win in my view.

The Boundary Rooftop Bar & Grill, Shoreditch

To take a step back, the Boundary is a super hip hotel in Shoreditch, with 12 rooms, all individual and unique, all designed by Terence Conran.  It also has a very good restaurant, which is well worth a visit after a cocktail or two.  Or if you want something a little more laid back, head to Albion, their cafe and small shop, and have one of their divine slices of cake.  The design throughout the building is quirky and stylish.  My colleagues told me to check out the wall paper in the lift and they were right, I loved the Escher-esque pattern.

The Boundary Rooftop Bar & Grill, Shoreditch

The Boundary Rooftop Bar & Grill, Shoreditch

Boundary Restaurant 1

Back to the Rooftop Bar & Grill – the cocktail menu is succinct but I was tempted by a lot of their cocktails.  They also have a winter cocktail menu for more warming drinks.  In the end I opted for the Rooftop Passion, because I am a sucker for vodka and passionfruit.  Rob went for a good old Martini, which also went down surprisingly easily.  If you’re peckish then the wafts of grilled meat coming from the kitchen will certainly entice you to stay. They also serve their version of brunch: an ‘Elevenses’ Menu, which is a great option for a lazy Saturday morning.

The Boundary Rooftop Bar & Grill, Shoreditch

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a bar in Shoreditch and the sun isn’t shining, don’t rule out the Boundary’s Rooftop.  It wasn’t too busy on a Friday evening, so it might be just the place for you to head to for a pre-dinner drink.

The Boundary

Entrance in Redchurch Street
2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, 
London E2 7DD

Photography the Boundary’s own

Blog, Eat, London, Stay

Afternoon tea at Ham Yard, Soho

November 30, 2014

Afternoon tea at Ham Yard

Afternoon tea is something so English, yet we never really seem to make time for it. The only times I have been were at the Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath (a serious delight – am still saving up to stay there) and at the Langham Hotel behind Oxford Street for a Hen Do.  Both were fun experiences, quintessentially English and highly calorific.
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The latest addition to the Firmdale hotelHam Yard has been plastered on food and fashion bloggers Instagrams and has graced the pages of countless high end magazines, from Conde Nast Traveller to House & Garden. Afternoon tea is the perfect excuse to go check it out – a bit more substantial than a drink (cocktails are meant to be good though) and a bit more affordable than dinner or a night’s stay (I wish).
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Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
And at £18 per person, the afternoon tea they offer here is more than reasonable.
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Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
But let me quickly touch upon the hotel and the decor before moving on to tea.  The location is perfect – in the heart of Soho but set back a bit (rather like the Soho Hotel) so it’s surroundings are not so hectic.  The interior design (by owner and interior designer Kit Kemp) is eccentric and unique.  There is no common theme running through the hotel – every room is individual, with a number of statement pieces, plenty of colour and an overriding feel of comfort and luxury.   The hotel is not as ’boutiquey’ as say the Charlotte Street or Covent Garden Hotel – they describe it as an ‘Urban Village’ for a reason – and the 91 rooms, 24 apartments, numerous independent shops, the cinema and the bowling alley are testament to this.  In the summer their central garden or rooftop terrace must be a wonderful place to have a drink.
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Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Back to tea.  We were seated in their conservatory – one of my favourite spaces in the hotel; with soft colours, low lighting and candles.  I’d say it would be even nicer in the summer, rather than on a late autumn afternoon like when we went, as it can be quite dark.  Tea was wonderful – warm mini scones, bounty cupcakes, macaroons and sticky Battenburgs. Their savoury additions were also good – especially their mini quiche Loraine and their creamy prawn bruschetta.   The range of tea offered (only 3 choices – I went for Twinings Earl Grey) was a little disappointing but they offer coffee too if you prefer.  I loved their china – pretty and delicate and perfect for such an occasion.
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Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
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The one let down?  The service. Quite a substantial part of the experience and I left feeling very disappointed.  We waited 45 minutes before we were served our tea (how long can it really take to prepare?).  A light kept flickering and when we asked them to fix it one of the waitresses came back only to tell us – with a big grin – that it could not be fixed today. And then she left. Eventually one of the managers saw we weren’t happy and addressed our problems. The light was sorted, our tea was brought and we were served champagne on the house.
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Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Would I recommend it? Yes.  Despite our experience it’s good value for what you get, since most hotels serve high tea for at least £25 and up (afternoon tea at the Ritz costs £50, without champagne). And the setting is fun (you must check out the loos, they’re cool too). Just be aware that it gets very busy on the weekend so be prepared for the service to be slower than you’d expect from a five star hotel, which is the only let down.
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Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Ham Yard Hotel
1 Ham Yard, London, W1D 7DT
T: +44 (0)20 3642 2000
Blog, Drink, London, Stay

The Churchill Bar, Marylebone

December 22, 2013

Part of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, this is not just a bar you go to for a casual beer (unless perhaps you’re a hotel guest).   It is the perfect date place.  Or at least ‘one on one’ place.  And while you know it’s technically a hotel bar, it doesn’t feel like it.  Because you enter the bar directly from the street, and don’t have to pass reception.

Getting in a Christmassy Mood

The waiters are all very polite and professional.  They usher you to your (booked) table on the terrace.  This is really a must if you go – while the inside bar is lovely, it is the terrace where you want to be.  Especially at Christmas, because they’ve made an extra effort to transform the place into a Winter Den.  And this is the real reason why you’d go.

Expect the softest of furs, warmest of blankets and cosiest of hot water bottles to keep the cold at bay.  There are heaters of course, but the hot water bottles did the trick, and meant we could have sat outside for the whole evening without feeling the cold.  Candles & fairy lights add to the ambience.

Cosying up to the big man himself - Churchill

Cosying up to the big man himself – Churchill

The cocktail menu is what you’d expect it to be – expensive but extensive – with classic choices and some more unique options (including some Winter cocktails).  And very much about gin.  Because that was Churchill’s favourite tipple after all.  Many of the cocktails are based on how he liked his drinks (so expect them pretty punchy).   I liked their special touches on the menu – extracts of Churchill’s letters to Clemmie (his wife), including some of his funny drawings.

Extract of Churchill's letter to his wife

With prices around £15+ per cocktail they could not have been anything less than excellent.  And they were delicious, when they eventually came.  It seemed like either the cocktail maker took his job very seriously or the service was just exceptionally slow.  Either way, we were served yummy olives and small cheese puffs/souffles while we waiting, which was continuously topped up, and that kept us more than happy.

The more than welcome bites!

After two cocktails each we were ready for the next Christmas party.  But not without an espresso.  Which took so long I think they forgot it.  So gave them to us on the house.  And we hadn’t even complained.

The Churchill Bar

Hyatt Regency

Portman Square

London W1H 7BH

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