40 Winks, Stepney Green, London

This article appears in Volume 25: The Pioneer Issue.

"The attributes we look for in the perfect guest include: a lively sense of humour, good manners, a keen mind, irrepressible curiosity, a sociable disposition, childlike enthusiasm and a fondness for spirited banter. A love of art and design obviously helps too."

Thus the tone is set for the world's first "micro boutique hotel" - and rightly so, for with just two rooms and a salaciously glamorous history, encapsulated in the devilishly flamboyant proprietor, Mr David Carter, and his enviable selection of hats, 40 Winks can afford to be picky when it comes to who's sleeping over.

Crossing the threshold of this dimly lit townhouse in Mile End is akin to stepping into a seductive cabinet of curiosities which disorientate and delight from the moment you clasp the lion-head door knocker. For years the location of high-profile shoots and fashion editorials, gilt walls and a fuchsia-pink velvet staircase set the scene for a fantasia of whimsy created under Carter's wickedly sharp eye.

Jewels and feathers, silk poufs, antique dolls, Persian carpets, architectural mirrors, pom-pom chandeliers, vintage busts and countless trinkets all find a place in this avant-garde home-from-home - as will you, as guests are encouraged to treat it as their own (there's no mercantile handing over of a credit card on arrival here).

Monthly "bedtime story nights" see au fait urbanites don lustrous nightwear for an evening of intoxicating tipples and tales that feels like a secret club - you'll know you're part of it when David throws a "dahhling" in your direction. More than one guest has described the experience of staying here as "life-changing" - though perhaps their sojourn coincided with one of the séances...