Fancy hunkering down in a townhouse where you could see yourself writing an inspired novel, how about hanging out at a trendy destination that attracts a well-heeled cohort, or maybe you’d like to embody how the other half live for a stint? When in London, opt for one of these moods or oscillate between, like Josephine Platt, who darted around the city to round-up five noteworthy hotels, from Pimlico to King’s Cross and Shoreditch.
Have I been wrongly ushered on to a Wes Anderson film set? This was my first thought as I slipped through the doors of The Standard, which occupies a brutalist building no more than five minutes from Kings Cross Station. “We’re a little bit quirky here,” enthused a front-of-house staffer, watching my eyes widen as they darted around the dimly lit lobby and fixated on the Seventies furnishings. This retro décor continued through the hotel and into my suite, one of 266, leaving me with no choice but to blast Saturday Night Fever by the Bee Gees through my phone and twirl around. Mid-century mahogany furniture and orb-like fixtures jostled for my attention – but it was the deep bathtub, pride of place in a bathroom that experimented with a pink-black-lime colour scheme, that clinched it. Elsewhere, those in-the-know, who perhaps are familiar with the hotel from its American outposts, seize the day with eggs benedict in the Library Lounge (laptop or otherwise) and call it a day in Decimo over mezcal cocktails. Time it right and you can fill your evenings with goings-on that populate The Standard’s cultural roster, otherwise check out nearby Kings Place for jazz and comedy nights.
Red-and-white parasols are your point of reference for the Artist Residence, an otherwise inconspicuous building on a quiet Pimlico street. These shelter the Clubhouse, the cafe-cum-cocktail bar flourished with neon, contemporary artworks, and a stellar line-up of dishes and drinks. You can get to the front-desk through the restaurant, but the entrance you want is somewhat discreet and to your left. Slinking down the corridor, it was as though I’d stumbled across a world I was to keep stum about; it has the air of a members’ club but without the pretentiousness. Plush carpeting and a series of prints on the walls accompanied me to my top-floor nook. It was one of 10 at this London townhouse and full of its own personality: an exposed brick wall, wooden flooring, and vintage armchair and writing desk leant a low-key, rustic feel. I could see myself seeking sanctuary here as I pen my masterpiece. But this was rustic with a luxury spin: organic Bamford products were at my disposal in the bathroom, and warmth was created with a heavy throw over the linen and a soft rug underfoot. If you like your art, you’ll relish the chance to discover new artists here and to see classic pieces at the Tate Britain, the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea and the V&A Museum in South Kensington.
There’s a high possibility you’ll leave HART Shoreditch looking for interior design courses or, failing that, a list of furnishings and books you’d like to fill your digs with. Bopping along to a funky playlist and sipping chilled chardonnay at Tavla’s bar (where you can enjoy Turkish coffee cooked over hot sands first thing or catch DJs mixing vinyl some evenings), I scanned the lobby, taking in the craftsmanship and eclectic curios. I’m talking a light installation crafted from cabinet maker boxes, and shelves lined with artfully curated books and bits and bobs found in local antique shops. Shown to my bright room, I quickly realised inspiration and thoughtful touches aren’t exclusive to the lobby: the hotel weaves in art deco references in the suites with copper accents, while it looks to the Middle East in Barboun restaurant, with Levantine influences informing the dishes. Think sucuk and eggs or shakshuka for brunch. Bring your laptop and hang back to answer emails from the restaurant or settle in for the morning’s work in the lobby, knocking back Tavla’s Turkish coffee. Pop down to the gym to burn off extra energy or amble around the hotel to check-out its features, including a staircase that represents the silk weaving process; the commercial director Vince Brisse will gladly talk to you about the hotel design.
Plump for the Biltmore and slot into the playground of the rich and famous. Douse yourself in perfume, dig out your designer garms and bring your decorum to this fancy hotel that dots its i’s and crosses its t’s. This is old-school glamour with high-end hospitality, fitting for its Mayfair location. Playing princess for the weekend, I drew back my weighted curtains, taking in Grosvenor Square that’s been in the West End since the 1700s. I wondered who else had ruminated here and what they were thinking about. If anything like me, it’s what was on the brunch menu at the hotel’s namesake restaurant and terrace. Failsafe breakfast winners, such as smoked salmon and eggs, seasonal dishes and champagne were the answer. Swanning around the spacious suite, I imagined what it would be like to call it home. I’d certainly give the walk-in wardrobe and deep bathtub the appreciation it deserved. This hotel underwent refurbishment in 2019, earning it five stars, and, while out of my price range, there are private shopping excursions at all the big-name department stores, organised by the hotel. Free-of-charge Hyde Park is around the corner.
Show your friends that you know your cool London hotels by inviting them to join you at Mondrian Shoreditch. Suggest they look out for the copper ray of sun in the Le Labo-scented lobby, created by interior designers Goddard Littlefair, who mined creative inspiration from art, literature and traditional nursery rhymes. I recommend meeting them for tapas and a bottle of white wine in BiBo, the Spanish restaurant that has an innovative roster of dishes, including oxtail brioche and creamy croquettes. They’ll be convinced of the hotel’s credentials after chowing down on chef Dani García’s menu – but to really drive it home, make a pit-stop at the luminous, fully mirrored Instagrammable room, from installation artist Yayoi Kusama, that’ll lend your camera roll a series of trippy photos. Do so before heading up to Hollywood-themed Laurel’s on the Roof, a glamorous 1970s style rooftop bar that affords great views over Shoreditch and serves up just-as-good negronis. Following suit from me, wave off your friends, crank up the steam rain shower in your suite, and sink into your chesterfield sofa with the Marshall radio on.
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