The Portobello Hotel

Notting Hill, London, United Kingdom Book from

Reviewed by Kate Parsons
Rock 'n' roll spirit amongst the antiques at this iconic hotel in boho-glam Notting Hill
The Portobello Hotel first opened in the 1970s, but the team behind Cowley Manor and Canal House have recently taken over this showbiz favourite, bringing it bang up-to-date yet embracing its old-school elegance and colourful past. This is the place where Alice Cooper kept his boa constrictor in a bathtub; where Johnny Depp and Kate Moss filled their bath with champagne and holed up for several days; where Damon Albarn was a barman. This is a place of legend.

Spread across 2 neo-classical townhouses on a quiet street off Westbourne Grove, it is prime people-watching territory; glamorous boutiques, historical boozers and chic eateries are within a short stroll. All 21 rooms are unique and choc-full of beautiful antiques (you're a stone's throw from Portobello Market), plus crisp linens and fancy coffee machines. Service is charming but discreet, and the team will make sure your stay is perfect - no matter what the request. Tina Turner loved it so much she bought the house next door.

Highs

  • Location, location. This is a prime west London spot
  • Our dreamy 'Princess And The Pea' bed; so high, it had steps up to it
  • The eclectic decor and unique history - there's no other hotel quite like it
  • Many rooms look out onto leafy Stanley Gardens, a rarity in a city hotel
  • Warm, friendly staff, and a refreshingly unpretentious vibe

Lows

  • No parking; everything is metered locally and the price is high
  • Breakfast is simple, and there's no restaurant (hardly a problem in this neighbourhood, though)
  • Some outdated features but these are gradually being replaced
  • No wheelchair access

Best time to go

Perfect at any time of year - air con throughout in the summer and heated and cosy in the winter. A great base for a Christmas shopping trip.

Our top tips

Pick up a pre-loved designer bargain in the charity shops on Westbourne Grove; Oxfam and Save the Children shops are loaded with high-fashion bargains.

Great for...

City Style
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 21
  • Breakfast and light snacks (restaurants nearby)
  • Allowed but not ideal
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Snack menu
Room: Exceptional 5

Rooms

The 21 rooms are all different, with a mix of Chinese antiques, Persian rugs, elegant swathes of curtain and retro button-back leather chairs. There are delicious Green & Spring spa products and Nespresso machines, plus lovely artisan chocolates from a French chocolatier at turndown.

Good rooms are the smallest (apart from the Singles), but they still have a feeling of space compared to other city hotels, and amazing wall-to-wall murals. Larger rooms (Better, Great etc) have gilded mirrors and roll-top Victorian baths with heavy gold taps; several face onto Stanley Gardens.

Our room (13, an Exceptional) had a vast four-poster bed originally from Hampton Court Palace, which was so high it had steps up to it. There were 3 easy chairs and a sofa (we spent a lot of time sitting, bliss when you normally have small children in tow), and our bathroom was like a Tardis, with thick robes and hidden cupboards. Room 16 (another Exceptional, of Kate & Johnny fame) has an incredible round bed, romantically wrapped in gauze curtains.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Honesty bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Nespresso coffee machine
  • Phone
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is included in the room rate, a small Continental selection of buttery croissants, fresh juice and delicious local breads, served on pretty vintage china. They have a few hot options for an extra charge (try the scrambled eggs and smoked salmon). No other meals are served, though there's a limited snack menu available 24 hours (club sandwiches, olives, that sort of thing).

Start your evening with a drink from the honesty bar in the lounge, then head to one of the excellent restaurants nearby: Beach Blanket Babylon (chic modern European), The Electric Diner (American classics), The Ledbury (sensational gastronomy) and Granger & Co. We managed to bag a table at Granger (it doesn’t take reservations so can be hard to get into) and can heartily recommend it for healthy Sydney-style food that makes you feel good. The hotel reception team are available 24 hours to help guests find what they want.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Portobello Market is a few minutes' walk away, with stalls stretching over 2 miles. As well as incredible antiques there are vintage clothes, ceramics, music, even fruit and veg. The main market days are Friday and Saturday
  • Westbourne Grove is a mecca for Parisian chic boutiques and organic food shops
  • The hotel has created a guided walking tour of the area so you can learn where Hendrix penned 'Purple Haze', where Hugh Grant's bookshop was in Notting Hill; basically, who did what where!
  • Borrow a Boris bike at Notting Hill Gate and cycle around the neighbourhood like a local
  • The hotel has mates' rates at the nearby Bodyworks West gym and pool (first visit free), and can arrange treatments at local spa, Cowshed
  • Stay over Carnival: the annual world-famous event takes place on August Bank Holiday weekend and draws huge crowds and flamboyant processions

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Festivals
  • Historical sites
  • Language courses
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children are welcome, but as the hotel is filled with priceless antiques, it's not a great option for toddlers / active little ones.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Baby cots can be added to all rooms except Singles. Great and Exceptional rooms can fit a rollaway bed.

Babysitting:

On request

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
8/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
9/
Overall

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