chambre-henrietta-bath

London may be described as the city that never sleeps but we’re inclined to disagree. Few things feel more indulgent than staying in a hotel in your hometown, while playing at being a tourist on local turf is pretty damn great (you already know how to work the transport system, for one – and if you don’t, well, oh dear). Staycations are the new vacations, and here are London’s best.

The Henrietta Covent Garden

Proving that it’s not all about hi-tech spas and gimmicky gadgets, the first hotel from the Experimental Cocktail Group is an elegant, 18-bedroom boutique stay that provides every comfort without being extra. On arrival, toss your bags upstairs and make yourself at home in the neoclassical terracotta and navy bar; if there’s one thing ECG know how to do well, it’s cocktails – and this list has been expertly curated by several drink historians who took inspiration from the storied neighbourhood. Try the Down and Out (gin, Lillet Blanc and crème de cassis), an ode to George Orwell who frequented this former publishing house. Try your hand at creating your own concoctions back in your room (with a little help from the bedside recipe book) before ordering a midnight snack – warm madeleines with a bucket of chantilly cream, we’re looking at you.

Batty Langley’s Spitalfields

A labour of love that took 20 years to complete (and a vat of polish to get the antique furniture looking pristine), press the gilt buzzer to gain entry into the whacky home of Batty Langley. With the grandeur of a private residence and the eccentricity of year nine art teacher, this Georgian mansion is filled with fun frolics and a wicked sense of humour. Bookshelves conceal a gentleman’s throne and period-style portraits displaying cheeky grins, while a snug sitting room offers up over 3,500 books and as well as an honesty bar. Bed down in dark and decadent four-poster beds, draw the opulent gold curtains and sleep in until noon – only moving to soak in your roll-top bath or drape yourself on a mustard silk chaise longue. The next morning, in true Lord of the Manor fashion, summon bacon-stuffed sarnies, buttery pastries and salmon bagels to the boudoir.

The Laslett Notting Hill

The opening of a smattering of restaurants has seen a resurgence in West London’s popularity, with 30 somethings making their way back after heading east. Named after Rhaune Laslett, a community activist and organiser of Carnival, this tiny boutique hotel combines the many hats that Notting Hill wears; classic, affluent, eclectic, creative. Bedrooms are immaculately designed and feature a curated selection of pieces by local artists, with classic English features like cubby hole beds, dressed with sumptuous throws, as well as freestanding baths and black-and-white tiling. Spend hours browsing the collections of The Library and Shop brimming with British design, art and books, which you’re encouraged to peruse while perched on a velvet bench in The Henderson Bar. It may be a cliché but The Laslett truly feels like a home away from home, and a particularly nice option if you’re hankering after a much-needed weekend tout seul.

Kimpton Fitzroy Bloomsbury

A striking terracotta building standing proud in London’s literary neighbourhood, Kimpton Fitzroy is a staycation at its most lavish (and learned). The interiors boast high ceilings, marble pillars and a lot of gold – it’s the kind of place that Gatsby would have thrown a party. While the restaurants and lobby take their design cues from the building’s rich history, the rooms follow a more modern style though are no less luxe – think gargantuan beds and roll-top baths. The colossal building houses four restaurants; meet friends for morning coffee in Burr&Co, take brunch in the lush Palm Court, or knock back oysters at Neptune. Then head to dimly lit Fitz’s to revel in salacious gossip, killer martinis and old-school glamour.

The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone

One of two boutique hotels of the same name, The Zetter Townhouse in Marylebone is the edgier sibling to its Clerkenwell counterpart. This 24-bedroom Georgian building exudes a warm grandiosity, making the townhouse feel more like the manor of an eccentric, wealthy relative than a hotel. The decor is quintessentially British; you’ll find bedrooms featuring upcycled antique church pews or kitsch Union Jack bunting overhanging the four-poster bed. The beautiful frescoed ceiling in the suites is a lovely touch, as is the outdoor copper bathtub for a late-night soak beneath the stars. Seymour’s Parlour is Zetter’s bar-cum-restaurant, by day lounge serving a delectable afternoon tea. Come sundown, the lights dim and the red-walled, art-filled salon assumes a seductive air, serving masterful mixes courtesy of pioneering drinks aficionados, The Drink Factory.

L’Oscar Holborn

Situated in Bloomsbury, L’Oscar’s distinctive architecture, style and atmosphere reflects its idiosyncratic history. Originally the London headquarters of the Baptist Church, the building was damaged by a bomb in World War II. Now restored to its former grandeur, original features such as biblical terracotta panels, ornately plastered ceilings, and carved fireplaces are complemented by contemporary design. Over the top touches such as leather and velvet walls, stylised peacock motifs and butterfly-wing taps are a nod to owner Duncan Shakeshaft’s whimsical taste. The hotel’s self-professed thespian nature is demonstrated in each bedroom; elaborate decor reflects the 1903 Edwardian arts and crafts architectural style, complete with marble bathrooms and commissioned period artwork. Extend the theatrics in the picturesque Grade II-listed former chapel, which now hosts the Baptist Grill.

The Mandrake Fitzrovia

Inspired by the healing properties of its herbal namesake, The Mandrake provides a soothing escape in central London. Luxurious interiors of dark wood, ornamental chandeliers and notable artwork harmonise with a romantic central courtyard filled with hanging vines and cascading jasmine. A marked difference from the crowded capital beyond its walls, the Mandrake’s high ceilings and large windows provide a spacious refuge from the West End. Kick back in one of the hotel’s suites, done up with vintage light fixtures, antique fittings and chrome, freestanding bathtubs, or head to the second floor to explore the exotic medicinal plants in the hotel’s own glasshouse. In the evening, head to the French-Spanish restaurant before choosing between three bars for a post-prandial drink. Waeska offers a botanical-based cocktail menu founded on ethnobotany, while Jurema is located on a first-floor terrace with exclusive guest access, designed by world famous landscape architects Bureau Bas Smets.

The Henrietta

Batty Langley’s

The Laslett

The Principal

The Zetter Townhouse

L’Oscar

The Mandrake

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