We wanted to step outside of the Cotswolds and appreciate the work of other creatives and restaurateurs. So we’ve handpicked what we think are three of the best London Boltholes…
Youngest sibling to the cool Clerkenwell original and its nearby quirky Townhouse, this six storey Portman Estate redbrick number sees the Zetter Group troop west with swagger. Designer Russell Sage again runs with a fantastical theme, dressing the property as if for a mythical badly-behaved great uncle. It’s stuffed with eclectic paraphernalia and a clever mix of antiques and up-to-date styling (digital Roberts radios, flatscreen tvs), composed with a theatre-set sensibility (props and plaster-cast pastiches of Sir John Soane’s Museum). The 24 bedrooms, some with silk swags and faded Union Jack throws, others with twirling mahogany four posters, are a refreshing antidote to contemporary clean lines. And bathrooms come with deep tubs or vast walk-in showers. A Seymour Street address means you’re moments from the restaurant action of Basque new kid Lurra and old Italian classic Locanda Locatelli, and a stumble from the temptations of Chiltern Firehouse but with in-house stiff drinks devised by cocktail connoisseur Tony Coniglario and Bruno Loubet looking after the menu, there’s little need to venture out.
In unlikely Pimlico, a neighbourhood once only useful if you needed to renew your passport or catch a very early train from Victoria station, the Artists Residence has made quite a splash. A candy-cane striped awning flutters over the front door of this, the third roll-out from the fledgling group (with outposts in artsy Penzance and Brighton). The buzzing Cambridge Street Restaurant on the ground floor is wildly popular in its own right so do book if you don’t want to be turned away as you tumble out of bed for Eggs Benedict. Upstairs, rooms aren’t the scruffy garret-chic you might expect. Instead, this is a more sophisticated take on a painter’s crashpad, with exposed brickwork, original parquet floors and vintage styling – little Smeg fridge minibars, Anglepoises tilting off walls as bedside lamps, starched linens on beds with hospital corners. Book the high-ceilinged first floor Grand Suite for the smartest door key – it’s bigger than many London flats.
A surprisingly calm address right in the very thick of it. With Soho thrumming away outside, duck through the grey panelled door to the side of the restaurant into this cosy, country house-style hideaway. There’s an open fire, wooden panelling, button-backed sofas and Peter Blake and Tracey Emin on the walls. Up a creaky little bell lift are 39 small but charmingly formed bedrooms (don’t expect the ‘tiny’ ones to be anything other than a tight squeeze – stretch to ‘small’ if you can). All are bright and light though with big sash windows (thankfully well sound-proofed and with plantation shutters to block out the 24 hour glow from the streets below) and smart metro-tiled bathrooms with full-sized bottles of Cowshed in the showers. The scene here is less sceney than you might think, thankfully, with non-members able to check in too. Best is to check in at the weekend when the persistent chatter of breakfast work meetings are put on hold till Monday.