8 High-End Hotels For A London Mini-Break
BEST FOR A TRUE CITY BREAK:
Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch reopened last year after almost two years away. The relaunch coincided with an expansion that added a sixth floor and the striking Nobu Shoreditch Penthouse, which comes with a spacious private outdoor terrace. The refresh also saw the introduction of two new bedroom types, Yuhi and Yuhi Skyline, which offer more of a Japanese nod, with warm wood tones and brushed gold accents. In the centre of Shoreditch, the hotel and spa’s design perfectly blends industrial chic with Japanese simplicity. The property is also close to some of the capital’s best restaurants and bars – think Rochelle Canteen, Seed Library and The Clove Club. That said, foodies might well be inclined to stay put and sample some of Nobu Matsuhisa’s world-renowned dishes (including his iconic black miso cod) at the hotel’s signature restaurant, plus there’s Nami bar for excellent cocktails. New this month is Nobu Café, an eclectic Japanese café and bar. With an extensive list of speciality teas and hand-brewed coffees, this relaxed space serves breakfast, brunch and late lunches.
BEST FOR A ROMANTIC WEEKEND:
Henry’s Townhouse, Marylebone
Discreetly occupying a Grade II-listed townhouse on Upper Berkeley Street, newcomer Henry’s was once owned by Jane Austen’s brother. It is widely thought that Jane’s visits to Henry in London were of great value, for it was through his support that her work was published. A design collaboration between owners Jane and Steven Collins and the award-winning Russell Sage Studio, Henry’s is an intelligent and glamorous re-imagining of the Regency period, featuring an array of carefully chosen colour palettes, abundant fabrics and beautiful furnishings – think modern four-poster beds, roll-top baths and antiques and artwork that tell a story. In all, there are seven lovely bedrooms, along with a reading room – where complimentary aperitifs are served each evening – plus the Carriage Snug, where guests can mix up a cocktail and play backgammon. Downstairs, you’ll find the kitchen and pantry, where we had one of the best breakfasts we can remember, before we sadly took our leave. Best of all, the townhouse is run almost like a lovely family home, with someone on hand to look after you as much or as little as you like across your stay.
BEST FOR FOODIES:
Rosewood London, Holborn
If great food and drink is top of your priority list, head to the Rosewood London on High Holborn. It’s got 45 suites and ‘houses’ to choose from, each of which has a beautifully modern look. The suites are some of the best rooms in the building – The Pearl in particular has a stunning bathroom and generous living area, while the Garden House is a smart, wood-panelled mega suite with a cosy reading nook, an area dedicated to cocktails and a killer terrace. We also love that the pillows in the bedroom come monogrammed with guests’ initials. When you’re ready to sit down and eat, there’s plenty to be excited about. From brasserie-style dishes in the magnificently grand Holborn Dining Room to creative cocktails at atmospheric Scarfes Bar – not forgetting the hotel’s special Art afternoon tea, which is currently dedicated to David Hockney – you’ll want to make your way around each restaurant during a stay. For fine dining head to the Mirror Room, and for a hearty feast, book a private dinner in the Pie Room to enjoy seafood starters, traditional pies – make sure to order the comte and potato dauphinoise pastry – and delicate desserts. Guests can also escape to the Sense Spa for a bespoke facial at Face Place, which specialises in natural treatments.
BEST FOR A ‘NEVER-LEAVE-THE-HOTEL’ EXPERIENCE:
The Berkeley, Knightsbridge
This landmark five-star hotel has it all: a Michelin-starred restaurant in the form of Marcus at The Berkeley, a rooftop pool overlooking Hyde Park, and two great bars. One of these is the gorgeous Berkeley Bar & Terrace, which makes a real statement with its modern colour palette of soft corals, creams and pinks. Set away from the main bar is the Snug, which has a spectacular mural, painted by New York-based artist TM Davy, and comes with its own sound system and call-for-service button. The cooler sister to The Connaught and Claridge’s, we recommend kicking off a stay at The Berkeley with a tasting menu at Cédric Grolet’s counter, where you’ll sample all the French star baker’s viral dishes, such as his vanilla flower and lifelike fruits made of confectionery. If you’re after a knockout space to sleep, interior architect André Fu has designed four suites for the hotel. We love the Grand Pavilion Penthouse. With views over Belgravia, the light-filled space has glass walls on three sides and features a striking reception area, living room with an enormous TV, entertaining bar, two outdoor terraces – one with a firepit – master bedroom and stunning marble bathroom, study and two walk-in closets. Trust us, you won’t want to leave, but before you do make sure to book in for a revitalising 111SKIN facial at the spa – and a dip in that heated outdoor pool.
BEST FOR COOL COUPLES:
The Twenty Two, Mayfair
The Twenty Two is one of the capital’s hottest destinations right now, with everyone from Tom Cruise to Jeff Bezos spotted there since it opened last year. This hotel, restaurant and members club has transformed an Edwardian manor on Grosvenor Square into a richly decorated west London hideaway with 31 bedrooms and suites – including a mews house – in addition to the public restaurant and private club. The boldly designed bedrooms are made for romantic getaways – think red velvet furnishings, marble baths and well-stocked minibars. When it comes to food and drink, the restaurant is a striking blue space that serves everything from stylishly plated breakfasts to Sunday roasts. The private dining room is the place to book for a party – at one we attended, we tucked into excellent Devon crab salad with cucumber, radish and sea greens; slow-cooked beef pappardelle; and a perfect caramel tart.
BEST FOR NEW YORK COOLNESS:
NoMad, Covent Garden
It only opened two years ago, but the NoMad London has already established itself as a go-to destination for celebrities and those in the know. Inside, the former home of Bow Street magistrates’ court and police station has been transformed into a sophisticated space offering everything you’d expect from a top hotel. New York-based design studio Roman and Williams is behind the interiors, while Ashley Abodeely leads the kitchen as executive chef. Rooms and suites are some of the most stylish on this list – we’d book the Royal Opera Suite which overlooks the famous Royal Opera House and has a generous living area plus a free-standing clawfoot bathtub. Guests can enjoy a leisurely breakfast in bed or have it in the library before making the most of the cultural highlights on the hotel’s doorstep.
BEST FOR TIMELESS EXTRAVAGANCE:
With its handsome art-deco exterior, tail-coated doormen and Mayfair location, Claridge’s is the epitome of timeless elegance. Step through its impressive lobby and you’ll find bedrooms that are among the largest in London (we love the pretty-in-pink Bryan O’Sullivan Mayfair suites). Hand-stitched fabrics, antique furniture, marble bathrooms and luxurious details might not encourage you to leave your room, but the drinking and dining options here are renowned. In the centre of the Foyer & Reading Room, a striking Chihuly sculpture hangs like a chandelier and the walls are decked in original art deco mirrors. Last year, the hotel opened its third bar, The Painter’s Room, to sit alongside the dark and glamorous Fumoir and the iconic Claridge’s Bar. With just 24 covers, the newcomer’s name pays homage to its space which was created in the 1930s with murals by renowned artist Mary Lea. Last year also saw the launch of the Claridge’s Spa, following a six-year project that saw teams of experts excavate five floors below. And new for 2023, the hotel has opened the doors to Claridge’s ArtSpace Café. With its own entrance on Brook’s Mews, the café is open daily and has been designed by the renowned John Pawson. It features an Insta-ready patisserie counter and entry down to Claridge’s ArtSpace, a free-entry gallery.
BEST FOR A TWIST ON TRADITION:
The Mayfair Townhouse, Mayfair
The Mayfair Townhouse was one 2021’s most exciting hotel openings. From the team behind Cliveden House and Chewton Glen, it has all the glamour and luxury touches you’d expect, from quirky decorative accessories to an impressive bar and drinks menu. Rooms are stylishly opulent, but the suites are the real stars of the show – the Garden Suite has a beautiful marble bathroom and a private patio. With a range of all-day dining options, guests are spoilt for choice at The Dandy Bar, where dimly lit interiors create a wonderfully cosy atmosphere for breakfast, coffee, lunch or evening drinks. Look out for playful interior touches throughout the hotel – including the house’s mischievous motif, the fox.
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