“One of London's first contemporary-design hotels still has lots going for it: cosseting bedrooms, top Basque cuisine and a quiet location amid retail heaven”
You can pay a lot of money at London hotels and still sleep badly. Not here. Our enormous bed had an excellent mattress, high-thread-count Egyptian linen sheets, a plump duvet and stacks of goose-down pillows. Absolute silence and darkness was ensured thanks to double glazing and double blinds. We slept until 10am, and woke as if from a long hibernation.
Edith Leschke's Milanese-bred design has stood the test of time thanks to naturally muted colours, clean geometric lines and the very best of materials: Tuscan marble tiles, Irish-wool carpets and spotless cream sofas with black-lacquered nesting tables. One wall consists of warm-grained inset panelling, a section of which slides open to reveal the wardrobe, waffle robes, a minibar and a safe. Business travellers can request a printer / fax machine for the desk (there's complimentary WiFi) and there’s an internet-enabled TV for when the work is done.
There’s also a bedside console from which you can regulate the temperature, lighting, do-not-disturb sign and - should you wish - check on time zones worldwide. Perfect for the iPad generation.
We stayed in a corner Deluxe Room and would thoroughly recommend it, being that bit larger and brighter. We also liked the top-floor rooms with their monastic white-vaulted ceilings and elevated views (not that any of the views are worth writing home about). All rooms have space for 2 armchairs and a coffee table, but avoid 207 / 208 (and 307 / 308 etc.) next to the lifts.
Studio Suites are slightly larger than Deluxe Rooms and have a separate dressing area, while the Belgravia Suites have a large living space. Arched walls of glass windows border the grand COMO Suites, some of which have the added luxury of a balcony. All can host drinks parties of up to 10 people.
Big marble-clad bathrooms boast gorgeous COMO Shambhala smellies (which you can buy), piles of fluffy towels, a deep oval bathtub and a shower which puts the 'ow' back in power.
Tucked away at the rear of the ground floor is Ametsa with Arzak Instruction. Having arrived in 2013, we haven’t sampled its offerings yet, but with esteemed chefs Elena and Juan Mari Arzak at the helm, we’ve high hopes for The Halkin’s newest addition. Having achieved 3 Michelin stars in their original San Sebastian restaurant, the chefs are bringing their own brand of ‘New Basque Cuisine’ to central London. Diners can expect locally sourced, organic produce with earthy flavours and surprising modern twists of creativity. The restaurant itself can seat up to 60 guests and can be hired with the adjoining Private Dining Room for private events.
The space previously played host to the world’s first Michelin-starred Thai restaurant, Nahm. Intimate and understated, it earned its spurs under Australian chef David Thompson. We dined here on a Sunday and felt that the restaurant lacked a bit of buzz, but much like The Halkin itself, the emphasis was on classic elegance and discretion. This approach to dining was enhanced by the excellent service: glasses were kept full, courses were promptly cleared and aperitifs were expertly recommended. We’re sure such standards will carry through to the new restaurant.
Breakfast at The Halkin can't be faulted. We ordered eggs (from their health selection) and a full English: gooseberry jam and acacia honey, cherry tomatoes grilled on the stalk and a fruit smoothie of blueberry, banana and teenage jackfruit were the highlights.
Children are welcome, and both baby cots and extra beds for under 16s are complimentary. Younger children will get milk and biscuits at turndown; older children can ask for Playstation consoles and games. Highchairs are available at breakfast.
Some of the Double and Deluxe Rooms interconnect (request when booking). Two-bedroom COMO Suites are available. All rooms can accommodate a baby cot, while the Deluxe Rooms and the Suites have space for an extra bed.
Baby cots and highchairs are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking