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When we’re in London but want to feel like we’re in Paris, we call on The Experimental Group. They are the brains behind China Town’s Experimental Cocktail Club and the Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels in Covent Garden, which both vibe off an under-the-radar insouciance that the French do best. This year, the group has expanded to open up its first London hotel which translates all the colour and creativity of their cocktail menus into bedroom format.
Spread across two Victorian mansions and located just a stone’s throw from Covent Garden’s main square, The Henrietta has taken up shop in the former house of a 1920s publisher (Daphne du Maurier, Kingsley Amis and George Orwell have all crossed the threshold). Today, guests walking through the door enter right into the thick of the action – the ground floor houses both the bar and restaurant. The place has a playful, members club feel and was buzzing on the night we visited. Perhaps unsurprising, given the Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous is at the reigns.
The Henrietta’s interiors have been designed by Dorothée Mellichzon, who has honoured the Great British grandeur of the original building while adding touches of French elegance in the communal areas – think green velvet seating, terracotta tiles and copper details, all illuminated by floods of natural light. The rooms however are more retro in feel, with intricate headboards, mixed prints galore and a few millennial pink bathrooms which you’ve probably already spotted on your Instagram feed.
There are 18 of them (including one suite) and all are individually designed. Our bolthole had teal walls and a marshmallow bed with a deep-red fabric headboard. We loved the art deco bathroom, with its marble skirting and black and white floor tiles. Rooms from £250
What’s for breakfast?
Highlights of the breakfast menu include granola and goji berries, beautiful bircher muesli and eggs florentine, benedict or royale. Morning munchies are usually not included in the room rate.
How about lunch and dinner?
The Michelin-starred Ollie Dabbous is in charge of food. True to form, he has riffed off Experimental Group’s French heritage and the hotel’s British surroundings. Star dishes include such broast monkfish with mussels, rouille and fennel. Be sure to finish with freshly baked madeleines topped with chantilly cream.
Is there a bar?
God yes. Experimental Cocktail Club have brought in Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller (“the detectives of the drinks world”) to help compile the menu, which nods to The Henrietta’s literary heritage. The Down and Out – which includes gin, Lillet Blanc and crème de cassis — nods to George Orwell, while others reference Kurt Vonnegut and Kingsley Amis.
Free wifi, John Masters Organics products, Nespresso coffee machines, a minibar with pre-mixed Experimental Cocktail Club drinks.
Things you should know
There’s a startlingly bright security light in the rooms – worth bringing an eye mask.
Within a short walk you can find…
Covent Garden Square and Theatreland.
14-15 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8QH
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