Tucked away on Henrietta Street not far from Covent Garden, the Henrietta Hotel is the latest venture from Experimental Group. The more observant among you will recognise the name responsible for one of Chinatown’s most famous bars. Hidden behind an inconspicuous door, Experimental Cocktail Club was one of the first speakeasies to capture the capital’s imagination.
Fresh from launching a new hotel in Paris, childhood friends Olivier Bon, Pierre Charles-Cros and Romée de Goriainoff, along with Xavier Padovani, are bringing their passion for hospitality to one of London’s most iconic areas. While surrounded by some of the best shopping and dining the city has to offer, Henrietta Hotel is also a destination in itself.
‘People want to see something new,’ says General Manager Victor Travert, who joined Experimental Group from Ascott The Residence, a series of serviced luxury apartments across Europe. ‘We work with a lot of raw products and materials, from the suppliers we stock to the designers featured throughout the hotel.’
The hotel was designed by long-time partner Dorothée Meilichzon (who also designed the group’s Grand Pigalle Hotel in Paris) and the attention to detail is staggering. Best of all are the bespoke bedheads in each room resembling Milanese door frames through a mix of materials including mirrors, fabrics and hand-painted patterns, not to mention the retro, 70s-style armchairs with brushed aluminium, and terrazzo-patterned carpets with marble skirting which give the rooms a remarkably soft-yet-solid feel.
‘The hotel’s British architectural heritage was our biggest design inspiration for Henrietta Hotel,’ explains Meilichzon. ‘The surrounding architecture on Henrietta Street is varied across all the different buildings – each has different roof shapes and window ornamentations and we have tried to reflect this through various design details across the hotel.’
This mixing of styles continues downstairs where Meilichzon juxtaposes materials like burnished brass with straw, and includes free-form tables that take cues from French designer Charlotte Perriand, defying practicality and creating unusual pockets of space. There’s a decadence of ideas that sets this cute boutique apart from its neighbours St. Martin’s Lane and the Covent Garden Hotel.
A ‘tribute to the old garden of Covent Garden‘, the two-tiered restaurant also features a skylight which opens the space, and has organic touches from terracotta tiles and oak flooring. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s even a hand-painted tiger mural on the ceiling and in the bathrooms, a playful, shimmering print of leopards on the prowl. There’s something about big cats – elegant, but with a glint of danger.
Henrietta Hotel recruited Ollie Dabbous – once touted ‘the most wanted chef in Britain’ – to oversee its kitchen. Alongside Dabbous, the hotel also draws on Experimental Group’s network of connoisseurs and suppliers that make its ‘bed and beverage’ concept work. ‘The minibars, for example, come stocked with freshly prepared cocktails, and our wine experts at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels (another Experimental Group restaurant) don’t use famous vineyards but small yet-to-be discovered suppliers,’ says Travert.
Aside from being an ideal backdrop for social media mavens (there’s millennial pink aplenty) Travert and his team also invested heavily in the experience. ‘We went through a very thorough selection of beds and I’m confident we can provide the best night’s sleep in London’, he says. ‘Many of our guests say they didn’t want to get up. Everything is so comfortable – from the pillows, the duvet, the mattress, and the linen – which is amazing.’ #Cool #Quirky and #French are just three ways to describe this hidden gem in the heart of London.
Rooms at Henrietta Hotel start from UK£250 (around US$320) per night based on a double occupancy. For bookings and more information about the menu visit the hotel’s website.