“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 the Michelin-starred, Basque-inspired restaurant, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction. If the name may be a bit of a mouthful - Ametsa is the venue, Arzak is the surname of triple-starred chef Elena and her father Juan Mari - the cuisine is anything but. Expect plenty of fresh seafood - mackerel, tuna, scallops - along with organic meats and veg, presented in imaginative and visually delightful ways. We loved the look of shellfish dice and scorpion fish kataifi, not to mention mango, beer and black pudding, or ham test tubes. Recent diners confirm that the taste more than matches the presentation, and that it's a worthy successor to David Thompson's Nahm.
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