London is filled with incredible hotels. Rooms with plush beds, plump pillows, fresh sheets and enviable city views. Ornate baths and private, verdant courtyards. Destination cocktail bars, gourmet restaurants and chilled bottles of champagne in the mini-bar for that unadvisable, but inevitable nightcap. Sleepy mornings accompanied by breakfast trays carrying buttery pastries and rich coffee.
And who says, just because you live here, you can’t enjoy them?
Staycations may conjure up images of getting on top of your washing and housework but in a city like London they can be so much more. And without the need to get out and explore a new place, enjoying the benefits of a hotel is all the more fun.
The Henrietta Hotel
Opened by the Experimental Cocktail Group, London has been well acquainted with this French company’s bars for some time, including the Chinatown stalwart that is ECC, and the newer venues Joyeux Bordel in Shoreditch and Compagnie de Vins Surnaturels in Covent Garden. Henrietta is their first hotel in London and follows on from The Grand Pigalle in Paris.
Having spent a dreamy weekend in Paris, climbing the narrow staircases to our room under the eaves and feasting on burrata and Negronis at the downstairs bar, I know the groups flawless and unique style well. Henrietta fits into that ethos perfectly, but with its own individual London flare.
Spanning across two Covent Garden townhouses the hotel is awash with burgundies, charcoal blues, cerise pinks, flashes of crisp whites and gold fixtures. Maximalist Dorothée Mellichzon has brought across the Gallic charm, focusing on the earthy and the expensive. The rooms, from the smaller, yet still impeccably designed spaces, to the largest, perched at the very top of the hotel, are a visual feast and are pretty generous in size. These are no Parisian shoeboxes.
Having nosed our way about the hotel, there isn’t a room here that disappointed and event the smaller rooms on the lower floors are suprisingly soundproofed from the bustle of Covent Garden's plaza. But, the room you’ll want to chuck all your credit cards at is number 18. Hidden at the top, this has the view, the balcony, the romantic claw-foot bath tub and enough room to invite your pals around to gasp in envy.
Back down on the ground floor, and Ollie Dabbous has put together a menu full of fresh, bold flavours that encapsulates seasonal eating. Harking back to the former gardens of Covent Garden, a glass roof allows natural light to pour down from the mezzanine while the design sits well within the space, keeping the earthy tones with terracotta, oak and marble. Standout winners include the gorgeous grilled flatbreads, beef tartare, barbequed quail and the charred salmon. Don’t skip dessert, and definitely wait the 15 minutes for the madeleines which come with Chantilly cream and are a luxury we all deserve in life.
A small cocktail bar stands at the beginning of the restaurant, mixing drinks to ECC’s usual excellent standard. Conceived by drink historians Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller, the menu is a journey of the location's storied past. Perch at the bar before (and after) dinner for a liquid with a certain sophistication.
You don’t need us to tell you how packed the surrounding area is of cafes, bars and restaurants (although if you've not yet eaten at Frenchie - do). But if you’re staycationing in London, and these are your everyday amenities, we’d suggest splashing out on a big room and not leaving the Henrietta. It’s stylish and embracing rooms, fresh food and plenty of liquid inebriation means there’s little reason to venture beyond its burgundy walls.