Where to stay in London is something I regularly consider. I am very pleased to bring you a selection of suggestions from recent visits which I hope may inspire future trips.
If shopping in London is your forte, or indeed, just staying in the heart of London, then the Hyatt Regency The Churchill is a superbly located spot on Portman Square, just a few steps back from Oxford Street. This is a large hotel, with extremely comfortable, modern and stylish bedrooms and bathrooms. I stayed recently on a Thursday night and the hotel seemed very busy with international tourists staying. I found a wonderfully convenient place to stay in central London.
Check in was quick and I was left to find my own room, up on the third floor, looking out over Portman Square. It was a very comfortable room with a good bathroom. My first port of call was the Churchill Bar for a cocktail. I say outside and enjoyed a Blenheim fizz cocktail. This is a very nice, atmospheric bar, offering great drinks, bar food and friendly, charming service.
I moved back into the hotel to the The Montagu restaurant for my dinner. There is, as one would imagine, a strong British theme running through this hotel as the name suggests, and The Montagu takes this to heart, serving dishes inspired by Churchill’s Kent home, Chartwell, with the menu offering seasonal British dishes, with some ingredients sourced from Chartwell’s gardens on the menu and cocktail list.
I started off with a vegetarian starter, warm textures of broccoli and courgette. In all honesty, I couldn’t picture what I’d end up with, but it was a delicious courgette mousse with roasted broccoli and romanesco and a parmesan crisp. It was very light and deeply rich in savoury flavour. I then tried a steak, an unoriginal choice, but I was keen to try the flavours of the Josper grill on which the steak was grilled, which was really wonderful. I finished with a chocolate wall, a layered chocolate and banana pudding, again, inspired by Chartwell. In all honesty, I don’t think the name did justice to this delicious creation. I am not the greatest chocolate lover, but I really did enjoy this more than I have enjoyed a pudding for some time.
Expect to pay around £270 per night, and £40 for dinner per head, plus drinks.
Hyde Park Bolthole
Roseate House is a small, newly refurbished hotel close to Hyde Park and Paddington station. Sat in an elegant white townhouse, it’s a very short walk from the business of Paddington, but feels like a calm retreat in central London. Staff here really go out of their way to offer great service, and after a very warm welcome, I was shown up to my room, which was very pleasant – smart, clean and comfortable – with a four poster bed, small sitting room and good bathroom, equipped with Penhaligon toiletries.
Downstairs, there is a very chic bar and small restaurant. Bar staff are very experienced and enthusiastic, taking great care over their cocktail making and keen to tell the stories behind the cocktails they make. There’s a huge selection of whiskies available, too.
At ate dinner in the bar, which was cosy and informal. Other guests seemed to be travelling on business and staff were keen to chat. My meal was very good, with the Dorset crab cakes and garlic aioli to start the highlight, followed by a nicely cooked steak and homemade chips. It was all freshly cooked, and carefully prepared. Unsure of which cocktail to choose, the head bartender made me a 50/50 Martini, having listened to my preferences, which was really lovely, and finished with an aromatic sage leaf. It was as savoury, aromatic and refreshing as I had hoped.
Breakfast the next morning was taken in the dining room. There is a good selection of fruit, yoghurt and cooked dishes. Filter coffee is offered as standard, with an extra charge of £4.50 for espresso-based coffee. I needed a quick turnaround, and staff were very obliging, friendly and efficient.
Roseate House is a lovely, personal and convenient place to stay in central London. I wouldn’t hesitate to return.
One night stay is around £160, with dinner around £40 per head, plus drinks.
Italian luxury in Kensington
Baglioni is a small, Italian owned hotel at Park Gate, Kensington, part of a small chain of Italian hotels and resorts. Baglioni Hotel in London feels intimate and luxurious – an opulent mix of marble and dark wood. My welcome was warm and I was shown up to my room with the offer of a cocktail.
Rooms are generously sized with plenty of storage, and dark, atmospheric lighting. There was plenty of seating to work and relax, and the coffee table laid out with a wonderful selection of biscuits, fruit and a bottle of frizzante on ice. The bathroom was the real highlight – a stylish black marble bathroom with a huge bath and wonderful Sicilian toiletries from Ortigia.
The service at Baglioni was particularly charming, with most staff I encountered from Italy. Food is a strong focus at Baglioni, and the Italian heritage features heavily on the menu. The Brunello Bar & Restaurant is open to non-residents too, and is run by well-known chefs Alberto Rossetti and Raffaele Lauriola. The menu offers a lovely selection of fresh pasta dishes, and a mix of familiar and less familiar Italian dishes, such as chicken breast with caponata, lamb with crispy polenta and braised cod with fresh tomatoes, clams and taggiasche olives.
Breakfast at Baglioni was very good and wonderfully presented, with excellent, strong coffee, and delicious yoghurts and fresh berries and a nice selection of cooked dishes to order to suit a wide range of tastes. Staff were very charming and friendly, too.
Baglioni is a very discreet, yet luxurious hotel in a wonderfully convenient location, with the park entrance right opposite, and a short walk, drive or bus journey down to the designer shops in Knightsbridge, the Royal Albert Hall and Kensington High Street all on the doorstep. I’d recommend it for a small, intimate feeling hotel, offering good food and personal, charming service.
A one night stay is around £300, and expect to pay £40 for dinner per head, plus drinks.
East London Super Yacht
Sunborn London is a yacht hotel on Royal Victoria Dock in East London. Accommodation here is good value, and an unusual experience. I could see many guests relishing in the opportunity to spend the night on a super yacht. Sunborn is a fully functioning luxury yacht, which is permanently docked and run as a hotel and restaurant. Cabins are large and well equipped, with smaller en suite bathrooms with showers only, not dissimilar to a cruise ship. Rooms are equipped with tablets from which one can order room service or check the weather amongst other functions. They’re comfortably furnished, with plenty of space and an outdoor balcony area looking out across the dock.
The Sundown Bar is open at the back of the yacht until midnight, and positioned at the back of the ship to make the most of the sunset.
The Lands End restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, again with the best views on board out the back of the yacht. If offers a set menu or a la carte each day, with a small selection of popular dishes, including a Silent Pool gin cured salmon, rack of lamb with fondant potato, slow cooked pork belly with English mustard and apple and Herefordshire sirloin steaks. The wine list is good, and the sommelier was extremely helpful, allowing us to taste the reds before ordering.
Sunborn’s bars and restaurant are open to non-residents, too, offering a most unusual place to stay in the East. It is a particularly convenient place to stay near London City Airport, the Excel Centre and the o2. It is a short walk from the DLR, stations east of Canning Town, meaning it’s easy to get to on public transport or by car, but it may be a shade too far out for those wanting to enjoy the benefits of central London.
One night’s accommodation is around £110, and dinner is £25-40 per head, plus drinks.
I stayed at all hotels as a guest.