Of all the places I’ve missed in two years of restricted travel, it’s London. I miss the colourful parade of riding the Tube in from Heathrow; the grandeur of wandering through Whitehall to the South Bank, or lingering in the parks before deciding between a whole world of cuisines for dinner.
And I miss the hotels, whether grand and storied or new and chic and tucked away in a quiet square in Belgravia. Next time I’m in the city, I’ll be checking into one — hell, perhaps all — of these three new boutique addresses.
Rock on: Chateau Denmark
London was the heart and soul of the swinging 60s (and insalubrious 70s), and perhaps nowhere more so than Denmark Street in London’s West End. It’s a raucous, rollicking (and a little risqué) history that’s celebrated in the sultry surrounds of the new Chateau Denmark hotel.
It’s a sprawling property stretching across 16 buildings hosting 55 session rooms and apartments, with each dialling into the rebellious spirit of Soho. This is the neighbourhood where the Sex Pistols and Bowie walked the streets, so think gold-trimmed graffiti-etched beds that the Stones would be proud to crash in (groupies optional) or psychedelic décor to set a smile on the face of Hendrix. There’s a maxi-bar simply crying out for private parties. Get it started with 65-inch screens and sound systems by Void and Artcoustic.
This is more district than single destination, and so dining is suitably spread out too. Tattu brings a thoroughly contemporary lens to Chinese cuisine, while Flitcroft Street looks to bring a proudly British aesthetic to the space. But if you’re just not sure where to start, begin with your butler — here, a BTLR — who’ll tap into their “little purple book” for all the right recommends.
Rediscover: One Hundred Shoreditch
In the heart of London’s artsy Shoreditch district comes this new boutique property that neatly channels the area’s creative energies into its 258 rooms and suites. You’ll find spacious studios and loft-style apartments — some with private terraces overlooking the East End — with walls bedecked in local arts and tapestry.
Downstairs, start your evening with the creative cocktails served up in the Seed Library bar by acclaimed mixologist Ryan “Mr Lyan” Chetiyawardana. On weekends, tunes come courtesy of the East End record store Love Vinyl. Then, step through to Goddard & Gibbs, which draws inspiration from the classic English seaside village for its menu of proudly British seafood. While Ozone Coffee roasters supply the (ethically sourced, of course) beans for the coffee bar, also look out for the new rooftop bar and terrace that brings a splash of Californian chill to the big city.
Need to work off that indulgence? One Hundred Shoreditch ups the ante for hotel fitness centres with a dedicated Peloton studio, equipped with five Peloton Bikes and access to both group classes and instructors.
Or, pound the pavements. Beyond the lobby there’s no shortage of diversions, with the likes of the Columbia Road Flower Market, Spitalfields Market and Whitechapel gallery in easy reach.
Restore: Inhabit Queen’s Gardens
London. It’s a busy old place, and sometimes you need a little respite. The parks are wonderful, and there’s no end of serene galleries to hide away in. But at the end of the day, sometimes you want a sanctuary to return to at the end of a day criss-crossing the capital.
That’s where the Inhabit brand comes in, and its second opening on the fringes of Hyde Park — itself a green lung where you’ll soon find space to breathe — revels in its role as a restorative inner-city escape. It’s a space where Scandi-chic meets Eastern Zen. Where Somerset House Studios and Makerversity curae the collection of artworks by emerging and established artists, and the 158 guest rooms are geared towards collaboration with 100 social enterprises that offer positive community impact. In-room amenities — refillable, of course — are from Skandinavisk.
At the in-house restaurant Yeotown Queen’s Gardens — furniture by social enterprise Goldfinger — the focus is on plant-based cuisine, on a menu free from dairy and refined sugars, and largely gluten-free. At the bar, delve into alcohol-free cocktails and the curated list of organic, biodynamic and natural wines.
Need a quiet space? The “silent library” is filled with works on wellness, holistic health and philosophy, while below ground the “Inhale at Inhabit” wellness space offers spa treatment rooms, a yoga studio and complimentary morning meditation classes.