We’re a fickle lot aren’t we. We want travel to be easier and more affordable and ta-dah, someone invents airbnb. But then we decide that as well as being edgy and eclectic, we want everything to be easy. Reliable. So hotels start turning our heads again.
A brief but intense flirtation with SecretEscapes.com here, a dalliance with a spa hotel there… and as we sink into perfectly laundered plump pillows and stroke our fingers over those fluffy white towels, we realise just how much we’d missed them. Hotels, you’ve got it going on.
And if you’re ready to be reminded of why you fell in love with hotels in the first place, our hot tip to escape to with your significant other is London’s gloriously stylish Artist Residence hotel. Open since September, the boutique hideout is the third Artist Residence, with locations already in Brighton and Penzance – and it’s already getting top marks from hotel reviewers for its eclectic style and relaxed vibe. It’s as if the hotel’s co-founders Justin Salisbury and Charlotte Newey have come up with all the ingredients for your dream home from home, shaken them all up with some carefully sourced antiques and retro accessories and added a hip restaurant and basement cocktail bar. It’s perfect. So perfect in fact, you’ll want to move in.
The townhouse hotel is five minutes’ walk from Victoria station, unmissable in dark grey and striped awnings on the corner of Cambridge Street, a calm tree-lined Regency avenue in Pimlico. The hotel’s ten bedrooms each have their own style, curated by Charlotte who has a great eye for a unique piece. So you might find yourself staying in the room with the freestanding bath, a glitter great white shark print and tea crate bedside tables topped with orange Anglepoise lamps. Or the room with the vintage suitcases, original factory pendant light and a cherry red Smeg minibar. Whichever room you end up booking, the beds are faultless, the bathrooms are vintage-tiled and elegant and filled with gorgeous full-size Bramley bath products. Everything’s thought about, right down to a tea crate of complimentary tea and coffee-making ingredients – with a cafetiere naturally. It’s hard to tear yourself away from your calm room with its kingsize bed, flatscreen TV and retro Roberts radio, but trust us, you won’t want to miss what’s going on downstairs.
In a collaboration with Artist Residence, the ground floor is home to 64 Degrees, the London outpost of a restaurant that’s been making waves in Brighton’s foodie scene. It’s headed up by chef/owner Michael Bremner, who’s expanding his social dining concept into London with this experiential eating space that’s almost more vintage industrial kitchen than restaurant. And that’s the idea, you sit at the copper-clad ‘kitchen pass’ and watch the chefs creating your order – a selection of sharing plates, designed to be shared (or fought over) between two or a few of you. The interactive melting pot-style concept is rather charming – and one reason the restaurant’s been attracting a steady stream of diners since it opened. The other reason is the food. Imaginative and well-executed and more impressive than the short descriptions would have you believe, don’t leave without trying the chicken wings with kimchi and blue cheese or the meltingly perfect short rib.
And it’s not all. Down in the basement you’ll find a Chesterfield-filled lounge space where you can have coffee by the fire, a private 12-seater dining room with vintage school chairs, and the underground cocktail bar, which the hotel describes as a ‘secret drinking den’. It’s a pretty stylish haunt – made even more haunting by the soft light of three antique ship’s lanterns – where you can start or finish the night with a expertly mixed cocktail.
Romantic, stylish and with a pulse-raising restaurant experience and cocktail bar thrown in, we say make an excuse for a weekend in London at the Artist Residence before it gets too popular. We’re planning to. After all, the welcome pack did say ‘please treat the hotel as your second home’. Well if we must…