The Henrietta Hotel has one of the most sought after addresses in London. Located slap bang in the middle of Covent Garden, just a stone’s throw away from the piazza, it’s at the heaving heart of the city’s theatrical neighbourhood and yet, it’s somehow discrete and calm too. Combining two beautiful, historic heavy brick townhouses, the Henrietta is entwined in Covent Garden’s rich cultural history.
The first of the buildings once housed the offices of Victor Gollancz Ltd, who published George Orwell, Kingsley Amis and John Le Carré whilst the next door house is Anglo-Dutch style, designed by H E Pollard, but whether or not that means anything to you, the hotel is instantly striking and achingly cool.
We arrive mid-afternoon when the downstairs restaurant is filled with young fashionable types tapping away on their laptops. The check-in process is consciously casual and within a few minutes a well-dressed employee hands us a tasseled key and points in the direction of the lift. The approach here, unlike many five star hotels and true to London spirit is nonchalant, which on first appearance could be confused with indifference, but the staff are attentive when they need to be and well-clued up on the restaurant menus and neighbourhoods if you’re in need of recommendations.
Our room is the Covent Garden category, designed (like the rest of the hotel) by Parisian designer, Dorothée Meilichzon. It’s sultry and spacious with dark blue and metallic walls, gold lighting fixtures, a large double bed with a decadent velvet headboard, mirrors and saloon style doors leading into a white tiled bathroom. It’s more fun than homely, blending a kind of futuristic aesthetic with retro detailing.
The minibar is stocked with an eclectic range of snacks and cocktails by Experimental Cocktail Club and in the bathroom, there’s a linen bag filled with REN samples and bath products. Perhaps most importantly for a hotel in this area, it’s exceptionally well sound-proofed; when you enter from the street, it feels almost like you’re being sucked into a silent vacuum. Though if you start to find the silence unsettling (it really is that much of a contrast), there’s a radio with a great set of speakers that you can hook up to your phone.
The bar and restaurant area on the ground floor is similarly quirky with mis-matched furniture and even more unusually, walls so that it almost feels like you’re walking through different spaces. We settle in the bar area for cocktails, which come served in heavy crystal glasses with artistic flourishes of herbs.
The restaurant’s menus, devised by Michelin starred chef Ollie Dabbous, focus around seasonal ingredients and are confidently succinct. We like the sound of ricotta dumplings with garlic buttermilk, chanterelles, chestnut and winter savory for dinner and for breakfast, the highlight is crushed avocado with spring onion and lovage served on a thick slice of toast. The cold-pressed juices are also delicious and coffee has its own menu so that you can more or less order a bespoke brew.
The Henrietta Hotel is the kind of place you can imagine the less attention-grabbing set of celebrities check into on a flying visit through the city. Its location is unparalleled and because there are just 18 rooms, it feels more like staying in a designer’s wacky townhouse, than a hotel. You can slip in and out without a member of staff pouncing on you and the food is unfussy and delicious. It’s an easy city favourite.
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