The Lost Poet, Notting Hill, London
Bold, beautiful, but decidedly diminutive, this smartly dressed Notting Hill hotel enchants with its debonair style in miniature.
21 June, 2022
In a neighbourhood flush with Instagrammers, a little modesty goes down well. But don't mistake the unostentatious door of this dinky Victorian townhouse wedged into one of Notting Hill's pastel-toned terraces as a sign of subtlety. Step beyond the low-key entrance and you'll find a guesthouse that dares to be different.
Offering a home-away-from-home approach, The Lost Poet is a place that fans the fantasy that, on arrival, you're entering your very own private Notting Hill flat. The property - dreamt up by the acclaimed Cubic Studios, based nearby - entertains the infatuation. Ignoring "big", we'd reach for "bold and beautiful" when describing the interiors: geometric wallpaper, loud modern art and bespoke furnishings juxtaposed with Portobello Road antiques. This is a guesthouse rooted in the borough's eclecticism and drawing on dynamic British brands throughout its design. There's Maison C wallpaper here, House of Hackney there; armchairs clad in vivacious Timorous Beasties fabric; and artwork from east London's Nelly Duff on the walls.
And yet, from the front, you'd never know. It's a place to be cocooned in, hidden from the TikTokers dancing outdoors, in your own little slice of Notting Hill nice. We're smitten.
With just four rooms connected by a rickety staircase, this is an intimate guesthouse. Think of each suite as a debonair London gentlemen, dressed smartly with bucketfuls of Bond Street style, and accessorised with locally sourced, playfully repurposed antiques that add well-heeled character. Behind their pastel-painted doors, each of the four spaces wears a dedicated colour palette that runs from the geometric Spanish bathroom tiles to the quirky local artwork. In one, old-school science lab benches are used for panelling (with a Colman's-yellow velvet sofa beneath); in another, washed rouge pairs with soft pink, replicated in the frolicking nude bodies of the House of Hackney bathroom wallpaper and the wacky bed cushions printed with a Soviet astronaut. Opt for the botanically inspired penthouse (our favourite), to linger in a froth-filled roll-top bath à la Juliet Roberts in Pretty Woman (trust us, it's much nicer than the Notting Hill tub), before sipping a carefully mixed cocktail or mocktail from the minibar on your own private roof terrace.
Whichever room you're in, you can expect king-sized beds, air-conditioning, a Nespresso coffee machine (with fully compostable pods from London coffee shop Grind), plus a TV, Marshall speaker, a minibar stocked with complimentary cocktails and water and bathroom toiletries from Evolve Beauty.
What's for breakfast?
A canvas bag delivered to your door each morning acts as a gastronomic guidebook to Notting Hill's best restaurants. You can pick from fresh pastries baked at Ottolenghi's Ledbury Road branch, with lashing of salty butter and jam (the "naughty" menu), or chia seed pots from The Sloe Kitchen (the "nice" alternative), plus a bottle of fresh orange juice. Still peckish? There are ample breakfast spots nearby for a second banquet. Head to Lowry & Baker at the other end of Portobello Road for homemade granola and smoked salmon-topped English muffins.
How about lunch and dinner?
The Lost Poet doesn't have a restaurant, but all rooms come equipped with a handy map of the hotel team's nearby favourites, many of which offer discounts to guests. Try Taqueria for excellent tacos, or dip into Franklin's Wine Bar for an evening glass amid elegant interiors.
We could write a guidebook on our favourite Notting Hill restaurants a little further afield, but if you made us pick, we'd tell you to head to Farm Girl for feel-good lunchtime feasting on baked Turkish eggs, coconut BLTs and crunchy salads, then land at Orasay for loch-fresh Hebridean dishes in tranquil surrounds.
Is there a bar?
No, but you'll find beers and cocktails in your room. Tea and coffee can be ordered from reception.
Refreshingly few (if we can say that). This is a hotel made for city breaks in a town that has it all, so anything you need is just a walk or tube ride away.
Given the 24-hour nature of the capital, the hotel uses a smart Flexipass app for access - so you can come and go using your phone, but the concierge is contactable 24/7 by text in case you need any help or recommendations.
What are the hotel's eco-credentials like?
Small but serious. You'll find complimentary water bottled up in reusable containers, the loo roll is recycled (but still plush) and full-sized, British-made toiletries are offered in the bathrooms. All lights are LED or sensor-triggered, to help save energy.
What about accessibility?
There's no lift and the ground-floor room is bijou, so wheelchair users will find it difficult to navigate.
What's the crowd like?
It's mostly adults (children must be over 12, unless you're booking all four suites), but you're unlikely to see other guests. Bar a few Boglioli-besuited legs whisking upstairs, and an Away suitcase rolling through a doorway, we didn't meet our neighbours.
Take a look inside the Notting Hill hotel...
Within a short walk I can find…
The haughty grande dame architecture of Kensington and Holland Park, interspersed with pastel-perfect streets; the pristine greenery of Kensington Gardens; and a congregation of our favourite London boozers, including The Churchill Arms, The Mitre and The Castle.
The hotel sits on the uncrowded curve of Portobello Road's quieter end, so you're steps away from the famous market, and close to Notting Hill Gate tube station, too.
Come evening, end your night tuned into the syncopated saxophone sounds at Notting Hill Arts Clubs or catch one of the latest flicks at Electric Cinema.
Things I should know
This is a Victorian townhouse, so don't bring too much luggage - the stairs are steep and the rooms don't have space for more than a carry-on.