Unparalleled luxury suites and Michelin-starred food makes a stay at this boutique hotel in chic Belgravia something to write home about
For a real taste of luxury in the heart of London, The Halkin by Como is your best bet. It offers a truly relaxing stay and is based right by Hyde Park, just a short walk from the luxury shopping mecca of Knightsbridge. The Halkin, which opened in 1991, boasts of being London’s first boutique hotel and, as well as this, it is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant run by collaboration of chefs who include a former Veuve Clicquot World’ Best Chef in Elena Arzak. So there’s really no need to head out to town for food when one of the tastiest restaurants in the business can be found on the ground floor.
First thing’s first though, and settling into the hotel’s signature COMO suite is a treat in itself. Located on the third and fourth floors, the suite provides 689 sq ft of space, with cream sofas, walls in sapele hardwood veneer and black-lacquered furniture. Amenities in the lounge room include an interactive TV, wifi and high-speed wired internet and touch-screen control of lighting, temperature, butler call and – wonderfully – an electronic ‘do not disturb’ button that disables your room buzzer.
The sofas are roomy and comfortable – the perfect place for snacking and watching a film or raiding the mini bar which comes stocked with a vast range of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, which include vintage Champagne. There’s a dining table, and carpets fill both the lounge and bedrooms, where you’ll enjoy the super-comfy king-sized beds, spacious wardrobes, a second TV and an additional temperature control panel, as well as excellent blinds to provide the perfect darkness for a long and restful sleep.
Bathrooms are marble with modern fittings, a shower and a bath with soaps from Como’s own brand. The real piece de resistance, however, is the balcony, leading off from the lounge, giving a view of the hotel’s gardens and the rooftops of London’s Belgravia, complete with table and chairs for al fresco dining from the hotel’s room service, should you choose.
The hotel features a gym for those who like to work out before a business meeting or sightseeing trip, but on the ground floor – and worthy of its very own review – is Ametsa, a Michelin-star winning restaurant welcoming London’s fashionable with its trademark unusual lighting in the form of hundreds of gold test tubes, knowledgable staff and cutting-edge contemporary cuisine.
The food is minimalist, Basque-influenced molecular cuisine at its finest which has seen the establishment become one of the capital’s standout restaurants. A visually impressive selection of aperatives from the tasting menu gave the first wow of the evening. I ordered the imposing Iberian Ham on a bread pillow which, on first glance, defeated me before it had even arrived at my table. But then our excellent waiter deflated the pastry, leaving a crunchy, lighter starter on my plate. Next was the melt-in-the-mouth grouse with dry apricot mousse and golden berries, while dessert came in the form of ‘Misty Chocolate’ served in a steamy glass bowl which resembled a crystal ball, topped with ice cream and was magical.
On the morning of checkout, and after enjoying the wonderfully varied cooked breakfast with croissant selection and fruit smoothie in Ametsa – now light and airy compared to the surreal twilight of the previous evening – I was genuinely sad to be leaving the tranquility of this sleek hotel and return to the hustle and bustle of city life. The next time I need some respite, and a fantastic meal to boot, I know where to come.
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